Aaron Rodgers was left off the NFL’s all-time list of quarterbacks for the 100-year anniversary of professional football. He was one of the notable absentees of a list of 10 players at the position that have excelled in the history of the game.
The modern-day greats of the game Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were always going to be in place as were Joe Montana, Jon Elway and Dan Marino from the generation before. Johnny Unitas, Sammy Baugh, Otto Graham and Roger Staubach helped define the game in their respective eras. Even his predecessor Brett Favre made the list heightening the need for Rodgers to win at least one more Super Bowl to define his legacy.
Rodgers has had a similar career arc to Favre, winning a Super Bowl early in his tenure in Super Bowl XLV leading the Packers to victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He enjoyed his first MVP season in 2011, producing one of the best years ever produced by a quarterback, throwing 45 touchdowns to only six interceptions in 15 games.
Rodgers has come close to guiding the Packers back to the Super Bowl, suffering agonizing defeats in the NFC Championship Game to the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons in 2015 and 2017. The current campaign could be his best chance to win his second Vince Lombardi Trophy as BetzCenter sees them as favorite behind the San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Conference to advance to the Super Bowl in Miami.
The 36-year-old may need another Super Bowl victory to convince his doubters that he belongs in the conversation as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. Weak Packers’ defenses along with injuries have limited Rodgers’ ability to guide his team all the way.
However, the 2019 season has been a different story as the defense has stepped up after key additions. Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith have provided pressure on opposing quarterbacks – notably helping shut down Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North title decider. The two players proved the importance of free agency after joining the team in the off-season. The secondary looks strong with Jaire Alexander and Kevin King developing into excellent cornerbacks, while Adrian Amos has been a great signing from the Chicago Bears.
As a result of the balance on the team, there is less pressure on Rodgers to perform. Even running back Aaron Jones came to the fore in the running game, joint-leading the NFL in touchdowns. The running game will be a useful tool to ensure that opposing teams cannot lock solely on to Rodgers as they have in the past. However, he will still need to make plays in a potential NFC Championship Game with the San Francisco 49ers. It’s not going to be an easy road given the quality of their defense, especially as the outstanding offenses of the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs loom in the Super Bowl. It will be no easy task and the Packers have been a high seed in the NFC Conference before and been bounced out of the post-season at the first time of asking.
This team looks a little bit different, displaying character right to the end of the campaign to ensure the bye by beating the Detroit Lions at the buzzer on the road. Rodgers and his team will need all the character and more to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy and secure the legacy of their quarterback in the process.