More Pressure On Brett Favre, Not Aaron Rodgers To Win Now

Peter BukowskiSenior Analyst IOctober 8, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 05:  Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings hugs Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers following the Vikings victory over the Packers on October 5, 2009 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Let me be clear about this from the outset: I don’t want Brett Favre to fail in Minnesota.

That may sound strange given that I’ve been a vocal Favre basher since the nonsense this offseason and I hate the Vikings with a fiery, burning passion. But they say in formulating the best argument you want to give your opponent the strongest possible case, and then refute it.

In order to show, and I have argued, that Ted Thompson made the right decision when he chose Aaron Rodgers over Brett Favre, then it follows that we must make the strongest case possible for an opponent, no matter how deep in Favre insanity he or she may be. 

That is simple: Brett Favre deserved to come back to Green Bay because he can still lead the team and would be a better option than Aaron Rodgers. 

Look at the facts from last season and you’ll notice Rodgers had one of the greatest seasons in NFL history for a first-year starter, but he won three fewer games than Favre’s team who’d been 8-3 and poised to make a deep playoff run before Favre got hurt. That’s a pretty good start for the opposition. 

Favre apologists continue to mention that injury part. The whole “Had he been healthy” line. That’s the point fellas, he wasn’t. He wouldn’t have been in Green Bay, just like he wasn’t in New Jersey.  But since Favre apologists are already not thinking clearly, I want to see Brett Favre healthy for a full season on a really good team.  Then there can be no such caveats.

Testing Favre in Minnesota is like doing medical experiment in a controlled experiment, “ideal conditions.” Seeing what he can produce there should be a true measure of a “Favre at his best.”

I might argue that Rodgers last year suffered from a defense that constantly let him down late in games, while opponents might say A-Rod simply didn’t make enough plays.

I certainly would argue with the Jets defense Rodgers would have easily picked up 9 wins, but I can’t prove that. Hence, the need for a better sample.

Both the Packers and the Vikings have Super Bowl aspirations and were picked by plenty of preseason pundits as favorites in the NFC.   

It’s time for Aaron Rodgers to perform.

Rodgers had to prove it Monday night, and what’s more, will have to for the rest of the year. Living in the biggest shadow ever cast over Lambeau is not a one year deal, it’s a career.  But this year, Rodgers has the privilege of pummeling the team lead by the man who shunned him in Green Bay, but he has the pressure of needing to do that.

There is added pressure this year because of the man taking snaps in Minneapolis. But Rodgers career will be defined over a number of years, whereas Favre's legacy is drawing to an end. In order to exact his revenge on Ted Thompson he couldn't just win one game on Monday Night, but rather win throughout the season and the playoffs.

He has to do it this year, or he hasn't proven anything. He couldn't do it last year, if he can't do it this year, we will know Thompson made the right call.

This is the true beginning of the Aaron Rodgers vs. Brett Favre debate. We knew nothing when it started because Rodgers had never taken a snap. We can’t say with certainty after a season each because Favre was hurt (although as I said, I believe that to be important in the discussion). Now it is time to really see.

If Aaron Rodgers can lead the Packers to a division crown and a playoff run before Brett Favre can do the same under those ideal circumstances, we have a definitive answer in the debate over what was better for the franchise.

And if he can do that, and do it before Favre, we have the answer regardless of what Rodgers career does after that.

The best part though, is that if Rodgers win he proves TT right. If Favre wins, he doesn’t necessarily prove Thompson wrong, assuming Rodgers goes on to have a successful career.

Favre has to show he can do it faster AND hope Rodgers doesn't go on to win multiple division titles, a Super Bowl or two and maybe even an MVP. If A-Rod cann do that it will be clear that Thompson made the right choice given the long term success of the franchise, and Favre fails. Allowing Rodgers to get his feet wet, mature and develop into a Pro Bowl player would clearly have been the right choice.

Rodgers doesn’t have to win three MVPs, throw more touchdown passes than Favre, or play in a million straight games to wiggle out of the shadow of Brett Favre. All he has to do is win this year. That’s what he was supposed to do anyway. But that's not it for Rodgers, he'll have his whole career to vidicate Thompson.

For Favre, all he has is right now. Year One: Zero total playoff appearances between the two. He's thinking "First one to a title wins." If he can do that, then the pressure falls on Rodgers not only to match it, but to go above and beyond. The best way to shirk the potential shackles of that pressure: beat him there.

He's got the support of every red-blooded, Viking-hating, Packer fan behind him, and a legend in front of him. I didn't say there was no pressure...