By now, I’m sure every Green Bay Packers fan has spent the past couple weeks thinking to themselves, “Who really is the greatest Packer ever?”
Ever since former Green Bay GM Ron Wolf anointed Brett Favre as the greatest in a Green Bay Press Gazette Q&A on June 20, the topic has created debate among the cheesehead faithful. Many have the credentials to make a strong case, like Bart Starr, Reggie White, Paul Hornung and Ray Nitschke.
And columnist Mike Vandermause made a compelling argument for Don Hutson.
There is one guy many are overlooking, however, and it’s because he’s still in the prime of his career. Yes, Aaron Rodgers already deserves consideration for the greatest-Packer-of-all-time honor.
Rodgers is coming off a year in which he broke the Packers’ all-time single-season record for passing yards (4643) and touchdowns (45) while only throwing six interceptions. His 122.5 passer rating broke Peyton Manning’s NFL record.
Rodgers also sat out the final game, which would have given him a shot at breaking the NFL records for touchdowns and yards in a season, given the way Matt Flynn torched Detroit in the season finale.
Oh, and his 2011 performance earned him that little award called league MVP. Only four other Packers ever won the MVP award–Hornung (1961), Taylor (1962), Starr (1966) and Favre (1995, 1996, 1997). Given that Rodgers is only 28, he easily could tie or break Favre’s mark of three.
Since becoming a full-time starter, Rodgers has averaged 9.25 interceptions per year. Besides his one-year career renaissance in Minnesota, the fewest Favre ever threw in a season as a starter was 13. That might sound like a dig towards Favre, but it’s actually much more of a compliment to Rodgers and his efficiency.
Rodgers also holds the all-time NFL record for career quarterback rating at 104.1. The next closest? Tony Romo at 96.9. Sure he’s still in his prime, which is when a career quarterback rating peaks, but so are Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. And none of them are close to Rodgers’ mark.
Rodgers can’t match the championships won by Hornung, Taylor, Starr or any of the other greats from the 1960s, but they all benefited from having so much talent on the same team. Still, Rodgers holds a title that Favre never achieved, and one that Starr claimed twice: Super Bowl MVP.
Again, given Rodgers’ age, he could break Starr’s franchise record, or even Joe Montana’s NFL record of three.
I know, I know—most of you are saying Rodgers needs to complete his career before being dubbed the best Packer ever, and I agree. Should Rodgers suddenly suffer a career-ending injury in the 2012 season opener (God forbid), he would have a hard time cracking the top 10. All I’m saying is given how incredible he’s been in his short career, he needs to be at least in the conversation.
Sometimes we don’t realize how special someone truly is until their career ends. I believe Rodgers is well on his way to becoming the King of Titletown.