Aaron Rodgers Leaves Packers Complex Legacy, Departs Like Favre – Green Bay Packers Blog

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers differed from his predecessor as quarterback of the Green Bay Packers in so many ways — from how he played to how he lived his life in the public eye.

It was by design.

He wasn’t a reckless shooter, the persona that defined Brett Favre, whose interceptions were as spectacular as his touchdowns.

Rodgers didn’t often let outsiders get to know him until much later in his career — and usually only through his weekly appearances on “The Pat McAfee Show” — unlike Favre, who lived as an open book, sharing the everything from his own early career addiction to painkillers to mourning the unexpected death of his father to his wife’s recovery from cancer.

Rodgers even conducted his press conferences differently. While Favre preferred the podium in the media amphitheater and often fired from the lip, Rodgers liked to talk to reporters in his locker, where he gave well-thought-out answers.

The end, however, seems to be the same for both.

Favre is gone, and it looks like Rodgers will be too — leaving Green Bay via trade to the New York Jets after either initially retiring (Favre) or publicly discussing his retirement (Rogers).

Rodgers left little doubt Wednesday during a nearly hour-long appearance on the Pat McAfee Show that his days with the Packers are over and he is ready to be traded to the Jets.

Rogers said he went into his recent meditation retreat in the dark “90 percent retreating and 10 percent playing.” He figured at that point, he could go back to Green Bay and play if he wanted to. But when he emerged from the darkness, he felt that something had changed.

While the Packers’ side of the story likely won’t be told until after a deal is finalized, Rodgers laid his cards on the table during this lengthy interview.

“The Packers would like to move on,” Rodgers said. “They have informed me in so many words. They have let other people know it in direct words. Because I still have that fire, and I want to play, and I’d like to play in New York, it’s just a matter of doing it at this point.”

For as much outrage as Favre’s departure created, it shouldn’t be forgotten that he actually wanted to return to the Packers after his brief absence — only to be rejected and ultimately traded. A vocal majority supported Favre and blamed then-general manager Ted Thompson and team president Mark Murphy.

Rodgers was more vague about whether he’d actually prefer to return to the Packers, but he can argue that the Packers led him to it by trading for quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 draft, and he’d have a case. .

But Murphy made it clear last week that the Packers were ready to move on regardless of what Rodgers wanted.

While Favre didn’t hide his displeasure with how things ended for him in Green Bay, Rodgers took a softer stance.

“I have nothing but love in my heart for every Packer fan and everyone who works in the organization,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “My life is better because of my time in Green Bay. But we have only to see the reality. They want to move on. They don’t want me back, and that’s okay. They are ready to move forward with Jordan. It’s wonderful.”

That ending muddied Rodgers’ legacy, at least with the Packers. During Rodgers’ 2021 offseason hiatus, when he threatened to retire before playing for the Packers again, Murphy revealed that the late Thompson, who drafted Rodgers in 2005, once called the quarterback “a complicated guy.”

Now that Rodgers will be playing elsewhere, the same word — complicated — can be used to describe his legacy in Green Bay.

If he’s not the greatest regular season quarterback of all time, he’s at least in the team photo. His fourth NFL MVP award in 2021 means only Peyton Manning has won more (five).

But MVP is a regular season award.

The playoffs, at least since the Packers won Super Bowl XLV to end the 2010 season, tell a different story. Rodgers has a 7-9 record as a starter in the postseason since his only major league appearance. Those 16 straight postseason absences without reaching the Super Bowl represent the longest streak by any quarterback in NFL history. And that streak includes an 0-4 record in NFC title games since the win over the Chicago Bears that sent the Packers to their only Super Bowl under Rodgers.

It might have been jarring to hear former NFL coach and current ESPN analyst Rex Ryan’s assessment of Rodgers after the Packers lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round as the NFC’s No. 1 seed in 2021.

“The man’s legacy is the fact that he’s diminished,” Ryan said, adding that Rodgers is “the best football thrower I’ve ever seen.”

At least the Packers made the playoffs that season.

Last season, Rodgers couldn’t even get them there — losing at Lambeau Field to the Detroit Lions in a win-and-go game in the regular season finale. He closed out perhaps his worst season as a starter. He threw almost as many interceptions (12) as he did in the previous three seasons combined (13). After back-to-back MVP seasons, Rodgers threw for the fewest yards (3,695) in any season in which he played at least 15 games. He didn’t have a single 300-yard passing game. Never before had he had a season with fewer than three 300-plus yard games.

He didn’t miss a start, though he played most of the season with a broken right thumb. He also suffered rib and knee injuries. And his supporting cast was weaker after Green Bay traded for receiver Davante Adams.

Whatever happens with the Jets, assuming a trade can be completed, Rodgers’ place in the Packers’ record books looks like this: He’s the franchise leader in touchdown passes (475), completion percentage (65.3) and passer rating (103.6) and ranks second behind Favre in passing yards (59,055) and completions (5,001).

His 475 touchdown passes rank fifth in NFL history and he has the best touchdown-to-interception ratio (475-105) in league history. He made 10 Pro Bowls and was selected as a first-team All-Pro four times (2011, 2014, 2020 and 2021 — all MVP seasons).

“I’d say I’m arguably the best player in franchise history,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “I’m definitely in the conversation.”

I am playing


Rodgers: ‘I went into the dark 90% retiring’

Aaron Rodgers tells Pat McAfee he was strongly considering retiring from the NFL before his darkness began.

Only four times in NFL history has a quarterback thrown at least 35 touchdowns with five or fewer interceptions in a season: three times by Rodgers and once by Tom Brady. Rodgers’ 9.4 touchdown-to-interception ratio over the past two seasons is the best over two seasons in NFL history with at least 1,000 attempts, according to the ESPN Stats & Information survey.

However, it’s not Rodgers’ fault that he played in the same era as Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl champion who set an incredibly high bar. Drew Brees faced the same situation and won the same number of Super Bowls as Rodgers, yet they don’t seem to believe that Brees didn’t make it.

When Rodgers and Brees squared off during the 2020 season, ESPN.com used 2,278 words to try to explain how these two iconic quarterbacks had won just one Super Bowl. Three would be enough: “It’s really hard.”

“Is that the barometer?” former Packers general manager Ron Wolf said at the time. “Is that the only barometer of success in the National Football League, whether you win one Super Bowl, two Super Bowls or not? Does that make you a great player, whether you win a Super Bowl or not? If you’re a really good player, that shouldn’t matter ».

Of course, it was Wolf who more than a decade earlier offered that infamous line after the Packers failed to repeat as Super Bowl champions after the 1997 season: “We’re a one-year wonder, just a fart in the wind.”

Maybe it’s because in 31 seasons with Rodgers or Brett Favre at quarterback in Green Bay — a city that calls itself “Titletown” — Packers fans have seen two Super Bowl parades.

There’s long been the idea that the Packers didn’t do enough to support either quarterback, but there’s also plenty of evidence to suggest that the quarterbacks did enough to keep themselves from more success — Favre with his penchant for cuts and Rodgers with performances like the one against the 49ers in 2021.

Even Manning — perhaps the only quarterback with more regular-season accomplishments than Rodgers — won a second Super Bowl, though he had to switch teams to do it.

If Rodgers isn’t fully appreciated for his accomplishments now, then perhaps time will change that. He did it with Favre, who was booed twice at Lambeau Field when he returned to a Minnesota Vikings uniform after his one season with the Jets. Now, it’s as if Favre has never played for another team, let alone a bitter rival.

Rodgers’ departure may not be as upsetting to the masses. There were calls for Love to replace Rodgers last season when things took a turn for the worse.

The time has come now to find out if those cries were justified.

“Jordan is going to be a great player,” Rodgers said. “He’s a great kid. He has had a very good year this year, improving the display team. He has a bright future ahead of him. They have a good young team. I have so many great friends on this team that I will still be great friends with. But the reality is you’ve got an aging face of the franchise for the last 15 years that it’s time to get it right.”

If Love can’t continue his remarkable playoff streak and the Packers fade into the obscurity they experienced in the 1970s and 1980s, then perhaps those angered by Rodgers’ departure will be even more upset.

If Love does what Rodgers did and proves to be a worthy replacement for a legend, then maybe it won’t matter what Rodgers does between now and retirement.

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