What a difference a year makes.
Wind the clocks back 365 days. Brett Favre was barely a month into what everyone thought was a permanent retirement and many a cheesehead were soiling themselves, hoping the Packers defense, which had just come off a very solid 2007, would carry the load so Aaron Rodgers could learn the ropes as the Packers' starting quarterback.
Now fast forward to present day.
Favre soiled his name with fans and many in the Packers organization with his on-again, off-again routine last summer that ultimately led to his trade to the Jets and his tragic decline in the second half of the season that followed.
The Packers are in the midst of a transition to a new defensive scheme with a new defensive coordinator. And for the first time in over five years, there is one position on the roster that no Packer fans are debating about: the quarterback.
There are no more 'will he or won't he' games that Favre played with football fans every season since 2003. There is no more worrying about what comes next after "Jesus in Cleats" hangs it up for good. Now there is just stability, with a young man with a very level head.
Some Packer fans are still moaning about Rodgers, despite having a 2008 season that was nearly statistically identical to Favre's "stellar" 2007 season. They say he can't lead a team from behind, and that he needs to show more emotion and that it doesn't look like he is having any kind of fun out there. Hold the brats there, Packer fans. Take a closer look.
Favre was as notorious for making bone-headed throws into coverage as he was for comebacks and seemingly impossible touchdown passes. The reason for this? He was too darn emotional.
Sure, it was fun watching him pick up receivers and run around the field like a kid who drank way too much Mountain Dew. However, once you take the emotional part out of the equation and you look at it from a performance point of view, Favre's emotions cost the Packers their share of games.
Now look at Aaron Rodgers. The guy throws a long touchdown pass to Greg Jennings at a rocking Lambeau Field. What does Rodgers do? Raise his fingers in the air in celebration, high five some teammates, and then he gets off the field.
Rodgers realizes that as good as that play was, it means squat unless the team wins the game. Favre realized this too, but he just got too excited at times. Rodgers maintains a level head and that will serve the Packers well in the years to come.
So, Packer fans, it's time to quit pouting about Brett Favre and how the evil "TT" (I hate how people refer to Ted Thompson as two letters; he's the general manager, show some respect!) threw the three-time MVP under the bus. It's time to realize the Packers have quite a package in their current quarterback who is showing a much more mature approach to the game than his predecessor ever did.
Welcome to Mr. Rodgers' Neighborhood.