Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers Can Look at Old Matchup for Monday Night Blueprint

Ryan CardarellaCorrespondent IOctober 5, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 6:  Quarterbacks Brett Favre #4 and Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers watch the final minutes of a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers from the sideline November 6, 2005 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Steelers defeated the Packers, 20-10.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

For a regular season contest, the stakes seemingly couldn't be higher when Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers invade Brett Favre's Metrodome Monday night.

Yep, that's still pretty weird to read.

Favre. Rodgers. Ted Thompson. Adrian Peterson. The Packers' D finally getting a crack at No. 4.

The game has enough juicy subplots and "sex appeal" that even Tony Kornheiser probably couldn't use enough hyperbole to describe what the atmosphere will be like when the green and gold take on one of the legends of their franchise in prime time.

And when all is said and done, ridiculous snap judgments will be made hinging on the outcome.

If Favre and the Vikings take care of business at home, the ol' gunslinger will have proven Ted Thompson wrong and the Packers' beleaguered general manager may find it difficult to leave his house for work Tuesday morning.

If the Packers and Thompson's drafted successor Aaron Rodgers prevail, TT will be praised for his courage in preventing Favre from playing "Will he or won't he" in Green Bay offseason after offseason and be praised as a genius.

Call me crazy, but I say it's one game. An important divisional game, but one game.

And I rely on history to prove it.

Back on Sept. 11, 1994 in Kansas City, Joe Montana and his Chiefs took on Steve Young and the San Francisco 49ers in a game eerily similar in circumstances to what we will see on Monday night.

Montana, like Favre, led his franchise out of a bleak era and lifted them to glory, winning four Super Bowls as he cultivated his clutch pedigree in the 1980s.

His name was synonymous with San Francisco and Joe Cool was undoubtedly one of the finest quarterbacks to ever play the game.

But nothing lasts forever.

Injuries sidelined Montana for the 1991 and all but one game of the 1992 season, and by that time, backup Steve Young had seized the reins of the Niners' famed west-coast offense.

After an MVP season from Young in 1992, the 49ers did the unthinkable, trading the face of their franchise to Kansas City, with a showdown at Arrowhead following more than a year later.

Just as the Packers 6-10 campaign in 2008 made fans wonder how the team would have fared with Favre behind center, especially in so many tight games, a growing number of 49ers fans pondered how Montana and his reputation as a big-game performer would have impacted crushing playoff losses to the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 and 1993 with Young at the helm.

Meanwhile Montana, along with fellow star veteran Marcus Allen who came over from Oakland, revived Kansas City in leading them to the 1993 AFC Championship game.

Whether it be out-dueling John Elway in an epic battle on Monday Night Football or steering the Chiefs to two playoff victories, Montana still had the proverbial "it," and Niners fans simply weren't convinced Young had those clutch intangibles.

Their Week Two matchup did nothing to dispel that notion.

Young threw two costly interceptions and was sacked for a safety while Montana played an efficient, mistake-free game in a 24-17 Kansas City victory.

The whispers grew to a roar after a horrendous 40-8 home loss to Philadelphia three weeks later, as Young and his teammates were booed off the field.

It appeared obvious that San Francisco had made a colossal mistake in choosing Young over the legendary Montana.

Despite the statistics and two straight NFC Championship game appearances, many fans believed Young just didn't have what it took to be a leader and a champion.

He just wasn't Montana.

Four months later, Young was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after dissecting the San Diego Chargers for six touchdowns in Super Bowl XXIX.

The Niners lost only a meaningless Week 17 game against Minnesota in between.

Rodgers has a lot of work to do to catch up to Young in terms of on-field credentials, but he faces many of the same questions as Young did in 1994.

Is he just a stats guy or can he be the leader and the winner that his predecessor was? Can he display some of the same intangibles?

Time will tell but no matter the outcome, the answers likely won't come out of this Monday night showdown.

Bottom line, if the Packers lose to Favre and the Vikings, it will be a gut-wrenching loss that will lead to a lot of unanswered questions and hasty judgments about the decision at quarterback and the future of the franchise.

But step back off of that ledge Packers fans.

Rodgers will still be a promising quarterback, and the team will still be one with a great deal of talent and ability, kind of like Steve Young and the Niners were.

And they proved you can never be quite sure what is coming next.


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