March 11th isn’t Groundhog Day, but it feels like it for Packers and Jets fans, much less the sports world. Has Aaron Rodgers seen his mystic shadow or will he remain a Packer for another season? According to numerous reports, both sides are waiting on his decision so they can proceed. As a lifelong Packers fan and Stockholder / Owner, the view of him walking off the turf at Lambeau Field with fellow Packers Legend Randall Cobb was my sign that he was physically saying goodbye. It was painfully similar to seeing Favre walk off the Frozen Tundra after losing the NFC Championship Game in January of 2008. If it was Rodgers final pass in the Green and Gold, he will hold the same result as Favre, an interception to seal a loss. To add an extra wrinkle in the saga of these Packers Legends, the Jets are the team on the other side of the exit path. Favre was traded to the Jets in 2008 if you weren’t aware and that same franchise is pursuing Rodgers now. Aaron has said on many occasions that he doesn’t want his legacy to mirror Favre, but it looks like it might be a carbon copy.
The Packers granted the Jets permission to meet with the 4 time MVP this past week. What is more surprising were the public comments by President Mark Murphy when asked about the current situation. He spoke about Rodgers in the past tense and said they are happy with Jordan Love’s progress. All signs point to an exit, but more concerning for the Packers is the lack of leverage to trade him for fair compensation. Unless a mystery team (Raiders or Colts) expresses interest in joining the sweepstakes, what do the Jets really need to offer? If he doesn’t want to play in Green Bay, he can retire and add a large cap hit and then potentially un-retire in the future and go somewhere he wants without the franchise being compensated. The puts the Jets in the driver seat to make an offer that normally is less than normal. I think the compensation should be the Jets 2023 1st round pick (13th overall), the Jets 2023 3rd round pick and if Rodgers plays in 2024, their 2024 2nd round pick. I imagine the trade package won’t be near this if he is traded.
The guy really stuck in the middle is Jordan Love, ironically just like Rodgers was with the Brett Favre drama over a decade before. He (Rodgers) was drafted and designated as the future to replace an aging legend (Favre) as he moved toward the backend of his Hall of Fame career. Packers fans blasted then General Manager Ted Thompson for drafting Rodgers and in theory pushing Favre out. In reality, they let Rodgers fall to them and acquired the best player on the draft board. The franchise was prepared to move on and was tired of the Favre retirement indecision. The difference with the drafting of Love is that the team traded up for him and were in prime win now mode. The selection could have been another player who might have impacted the squad in 2020, 21 or 22, possibly resulting in a 6th trip to the Super Bowl for the storied franchise. That single draft pick was a shock to Rodgers and in my opinion sparked animosity within his mystic soul for the Packers Front Office.
The Green Bay Packers have seen Hall of Fame stability at the Quarterback position for over 30 years. Very few teams can claim quarterback stability over the last 3 decades, much less Hall of Fame caliber production. Jordan Love is on the cusp of taking the reins of the Green and Gold, but will he be able to match his predecessors? Brett Favre was a wild gamble by former GM Ron Wolf and he was thrust into action when the Majik Man went down in September of 1992. The Gunslinger from Kiln Mississippi; under the tutelage of Holmgren, Reid, Mariucci, Gruden and others bloomed into a superstar. In his time as a Packer, Favre amassed 5,377 completions, 61,655 passing yards, 442 touchdown passes (5% of his pass attempts resulted in a TD), 160 victories in the regular season, 7 division titles, 11 playoff appearances, 12 playoff wins, 1 Super Bowl Title and 3 MVP awards. He was a God among men at his peak and nobody imagined that he could be replaced.
Aaron Rodgers was booed during his first few starts by Packer fans and he had done nothing wrong. He was a kid from Cal who was trying to prove that he could play at a high level and that he should have been selected Number 1 overall instead of Alex Smith. As the games moved forward, the Packer faithful and draft pundits across the nation stopped with their disdain and began to watch the apprentice become the Master. In 230 career regular season starts (possibly more in 2023), he has totaled 5,001 completions, 59,055 passing yards, 475 touchdown passes (6.2% of his pass attempts have resulted in a touchdown pass), 147 regular season victories, 8 division titles, 11 playoff appearances, 11 playoff wins, 1 Super Bowl title and 4 MVP awards. He not only matched Favre, but according to many including myself, he surpassed his prior teammate as a quarterback. Aaron isn’t the happy go- lucky gunslinger that Brett was, but his clinical precision and competitive drive fueled the team to lofty heights. Rodgers has a laundry list of highlights, but only 1 trip to the Super Bowl and a record of 1-4 in NFC Championship Games will haunt him.
Jordan Love is sitting right where Aaron sat in the spring of 2008. The team wants to hand the franchise over to you and move on from a legend. Love will receive unnecessary hate and scrutiny on every play in mini camp, OTA’s, Training Camp, Preseason, Regular Season and if fortunate, the Playoffs. The fans and media should focus their ire to the Packers Front Office if they want to, but nothing should be directed at Jordan until he’s had a chance to play. Personally, I will have to remember my own wise words when the time comes (if it does) and he’s officially the starter. There will be tremendous pressure to perform at the highest level, but for Jordan to be successful, he has to follow Favre and Rodgers in one single aspect; be yourself and nobody else. The 2 legends before him brought their own flare and expertise to the game. As similar as their stats are, they did it differently and Love needs to keep that in mind if and when his time comes.
The world will be informed of Aaron Rodgers decision in the coming days and it will culminate with 1 of 2 general outcomes. He chooses his legacy in Green Bay lore and avoids following the exact same exit path as Favre or he opens the door for Jordan Love to truly begin his chapter in Packers history. As a lifelong Packer Backer, I truly hope the franchise is rewarded by the outcome, whatever it may be. I will say, Jordan looked much better in limited playing time this past year and the roster around him isn’t lacking of talent. I think he’ll be ok, but not ready to put him in the Packers Hall of Fame yet.
Will the Packers 31 year run of Quarterback greatness continue in 2023 and beyond or will this impending decision signal a return to the mediocrity of the 1970’s and 80’s in Green Bay?
FOREVER AND ALWAYS……GO PACK GO!!!