Aaron Rodgers Era Begins for the Green Bay Packers

RealFootball365.comSenior Writer IMarch 7, 2008

He's the one in the spotlight and between the cross-hairs now that future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre has announced his retirement from the Green Bay Packers.

Rodgers, 6-foot-2 and 223 pounds, is the one who suffered through several excruciating hours of the 2005 National Football League draft after falling from being the potential first overall selection by San Francisco to the No. 24 spot, where Ted Thompson made Rodgers his first choice as Green Bay's general manager.

The University of California product, who engineered the Bears to a 17-5 record as their starter in two seasons, gets to throw footballs to Donald Driver and Greg Jennings instead of carrying a clipboard for the defending NFC North champions, whose odds in Vegas already have dropped from 14-to-1 to 20-to-1 at winning next year's Super Bowl.

Rodgers suffered a broken foot against New England in Week 11 of 2006 and then pulled a hamstring in practice Dec. 3 that basically ended his 2007 campaign, so durability will be a major concern, especially when you had someone like Favre to depend on every week since 1992.

That means the Packers no doubt have been burning up the phone lines in searching for a veteran backup as security, although the options aren't pretty, and likely will add somebody in the draft.

However, Rodgers' shining moment came against Dallas on Nov. 29 this past season. He entered in the second quarter for an injured Favre and rallied the Packers to within three points before the Cowboys pulled out a 37-27 victory.

It wasn't a preseason game or mop-up duty in a blowout win or loss. It was on a national stage in what was arguably the biggest game in the NFC this past season, and Rodgers showed great potential by completing 18 of 26 attempts for 201 yards and a TD for a 104.8 passer rating. He also ran five times for 30 yards in leading Green Bay to 17 points.

It's that ability to move the chains with his legs that will give the Packers a dimension that it has lacked since before the Favre era began.

Although it was a small sample, Rodgers proved to himself, his teammates, coaching staff and football brass that he could lead this team, and he did it in a hostile environment against a good opponent.

Let the Aaron Rodgers era begin.