Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers Is Going Home to Take Care of Business
"I dreamt about being the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers," Rodgers said in America's Game, the NFL Films documentary about the 2010 Green Bay Packers. "I used to draw little plays on note cards and dream I was Joe Montana throwing passes in the backyard with Dad."
That dream looked to be a reality on the day of the NFL draft in 2005.
"It was going to be a perfect fit," Rodgers said. "Me and San Francisco, my childhood team, and I was going to be wearing the red and gold."
There was a definite reason that Rodgers thought he would be drafted by the 49ers.
"I met with Mike McCarthy (then the offensive coordinator of the 49ers) and he said I think we are going to pick you, " Rodgers said. "I mean this is a no brainer. I'm from Chico, three hours away. I went to Berkeley (University of California). Best quarterback in the draft. I mean, let's make it happen."
But it didn't happen.
Not only was Rodgers not picked by the 49ers with the first pick of the 2005 NFL draft, he slid all the way to pick No. 24, when Ted Thompson was more than happy to select him for the Packers.
To make matter worse, Green Bay already had a proven quarterback in Brett Favre, who had never missed a start in his time as a Packer, had broken many of the NFL all-time passing records and had also brought Titletown another Super Bowl trophy.
Rodgers stayed patient through it all and sat on the bench for three years backing up Favre. The NFL got a quick glimpse of what Rodgers could do on the field in 2007, when Favre got injured in a game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Rodgers relieved Favre in the game and completed 18-of-26 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown.
Favre retired (for the first time) after the 2007 season, and just weeks after the NFC Championship Game, when the Packers lost to the New York Giants 23-20 in overtime. The winning field goal was set up by a Favre interception.
The Packers took Favre at his word, and basically gave the keys to the car to Rodgers, in terms of running the offense of the Packers and being the team leader.
But then later in the summer, Favre announced that he wanted to come back, and a real soap opera ensued the first couple of days of training camp when Favre flew into Green Bay. Finally, in a very messy divorce, the Packers traded Favre to the New York Jets.
For awhile, some fans were very tough on Rodgers. But he quickly proved he was more than a capable quarterback, and that he could also bring another Vince Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay.
In the five years that Rodgers has become a starter in the NFL, he has established himself as the best quarterback ever in terms of quarterback rating, based on at least 1,500 pass attempts.
In those five seasons, Rodgers has thrown 171 touchdown passes, compared to just 46 interceptions, for 21,661 yards. That adds up to the best ever quarterback rating in NFL history, as Rodgers has a 104.9 rating.
Rodgers also has the best touchdown pass to interception ratio in NFL history. No one even comes close. Rodgers has thrown 3.71 touchdown passes for every interception he has thrown. No one else is above three.
In terms of postseason play, Rodgers hasn't disappointed either. He has thrown 16 touchdown passes, versus just four picks, for 2,055 yards. That adds up to a 105.4 quarterback rating, which is also the best in NFL history.
But the NFL is not just about individual exploits. It's a team game. Rodgers has led the Packers to the playoffs four of the five years he has been a starter. That would include the 2010 season, where Rodgers led the Packers to a 4-0 mark in the postseason, which included a victory in Super Bowl XLV.
Rodgers was MVP of that game, as he threw three touchdown passes, without a pick, for 303 yards.
In 2011, Rodgers won the NFL MVP award for the season, as he threw 45 touchdown passes, versus just 6 interceptions for 4,643 yards. Rodgers also had a 122.5 quarterback rating, which is the best rating in the history of the NFL.
Rodgers followed that up this season, by throwing 39 touchdown passes, compared to just eight picks, for 4,295 yards. That all adds up to a 108.0 quarterback rating, which again is the best rating in the NFL.
But now the test will be facing his childhood team at Candlestick Park in the playoffs. Rodgers has already faced the Niners this season, as San Francisco beat Green Bay in the opening game of the season at Lambeau Field, 30-22.
Rodgers didn't play badly, as he threw for 303 yards and also had two touchdown passes. But Rodgers also threw a key 4th quarter interception, which shocked the faithful at Lambeau Field and Rodgers himself, I'm sure.
Overall against the 49ers, Rodgers has done fairly well. In three starts, Rodgers and the Packers are 2-1. In those three games, Rodgers has thrown seven touchdown passes, compared to just that one pick, for 945 yards. His overall quarterback rating against the 49ers is 109.4.
Rodgers has kept his focus on the game at hand and not who and where he will be playing on Saturday night.
“I think at this point in the season, everybody has a common goal and that’s winning a championship and knowing you kind of have to be selfless, and realize it’s all about that championship,” Rodgers said via Packers.com.
Rodgers knows what it's like to win a championship as the leader of the Packers. He also knows what it's like to play the position of quarterback at an excellent level.
“I touch the ball every play, and guys are counting on me to play well,” Rodgers said. “I take that to heart, and I know my role as a quarterback and a leader, and I try to go out and play well for my guys.”
Based on his track record, I expect Rodgers to do just that. I expect him to go home and take care of business. By taking care of business, I mean playing a great game and coming back to Green Bay with a win.
Who said you can't go home again?
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