Is Aaron Rodgers Already Better Than Philip Rivers?

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2010

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 27: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers smiles near the end of a game against the Seattle Seahawks as the Packers clinch a wild-card playoff spot in the NFL Playoffs at Lambeau Field on December 27, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Seahawks 48-10.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Lately, it seems that there has been a lot of comparison going on in the NFL.  With the offseason proving to be slightly boring now that the free agency talk is neatly wrapped up, and the NFL Draft still weeks away from commencing, comparison is something that we seem to be using in everyday life to fulfill our football fix and keep us more eager than ever for the 2010 season.

Although we're used to comparing players such as Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco, and even Peyton Manning and Eli, two men that have risen from the ranks of the "could be" categories are tending to go unnoticed.

Their names, I hear you ask? 

Well, it's of course Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers.  Two quarterbacks that have had their share of success and criticism, but still seem to be fairly strong and determined in the NFL world. 

But when we consider how far Aaron Rodgers has gone in the space of two years, and then look over Philip Rivers career which has stretched over a four-year span, a noticeable indifference arises, and to be quite frank, it is a little shocking.

So who is the better of the two quarterbacks? 

Some will argue Rivers, while others will say that this is Rodgers Neighborhood.  For those of you that are undecided, here are some solid points on which you can form an opinion.

 

Philip Rivers

When looking over Philip Rivers' career, two things stand out—almost-great quarterback play equipped with some confidence issues and an unmotivated approach in the playoffs.

The best term that I can think of when describing Rivers is hot-and-cold.  One minute he is great and boosts the Chargers to new heights that head coach Norv Turner could once only dream of.  Then the next month, he plummets back down to a mediocre quarterback who becomes a last-minute mention on the daily Fox NFL broadcast.

However, aside from criticising Rivers, it is important to realise that he has become the franchise quarterback for the Chargers. 

After posting 4,254 yards last season and 28 touchdowns, Rivers has made it clear that he is the man in San Diego, at least for the time being.

What about Rivers's future with the Chargers?  Well to be honest, your guess is as good as mine when predicting just how Rivers may do in the future.  Sure, he's not Ryan Leaf-bad, but he isn't Peyton Manning-good either. 

To sum it up in a single sentence: Rivers has room for improvement, but there's more than enough time to fill that room full of impressive trophies, and more realistically, a Super Bowl win. 

Until Rivers does get the job done totally, he will always be criticised. 

Game-wise, Rivers makes great passes, and you only have to look at his stats to know that.  However, he did throw nine interceptions last year, and his decision-making skills often lack depth and a thorough approach at times. 

Judged on Super Bowl wins, and criticised on choking, Rivers is caught between a rock and a hard place.  Until things improve, he may unfortunately be a footnote in NFL history.

 

Aaron Rodgers

First off, lets just applaud Rodgers for a remarkable first two years as starter.  Sure he's all too familiar with the taste of turf after taking sack after sack last season, but for the most part, Rodgers has improved dramatically.

A Pro Bowl starter last season and 4,434 yards to go with it, the words "Brett Favre" have been pushed to the back of Rodgers' head, where they are left to grow cobwebs and make space for his promising future with the Green Bay Packers.

When you asked Green Bay fans about Rodgers two years ago following the Brett Favre fallout, a few words arose. 

Uncertainty was the main one, and although Green Bay fans had every right to feel uneasy about Rodgers, they can now sleep easily at night knowing that the future of their team is in safe hands.

Although Rodgers' attitude, performance, and game-play are in tip-top shape, he does lack some decision-making skills, which come as a result of lack of experience.  Like Rivers, he can tend to rush throws, run out of the pocket for any unknown reason, and lose the football when the pressure gets going.

With that said, those are only small criticisms to make, and much of the blame must go on the Packers offensive line.  However, Aaron Rodgers simply needs to just avoid the media. 

Getting a big head isn't what Green Bay needs, and with a possible Hall of Fame career awaiting, Aaron Rodgers would be wise to row his boat gently down the stream, because at the end of the day that stream leads to the Vince Lombardi trophy, and the Vince Lombardi trophy leads to a whole new world for not only the Packers, but for Aaron Rodgers as an individual.

 

Conclusion

So where does this leave us in terms of who is the better quarterback? 

On one hand, we have Rivers who does have a year or two on Rodgers, and has actually won some playoff games.  While on the other, we have the promised boy that has turned heads and allowed Green Bay fans to once again smile in the hope of a promising future.

Therefore, I do have to give a slight edge to Rivers, but trust me it isn't by much.  The playoff wins and consistent great stats give him the upper hand, and it's something I simply can't argue with.

If you were judging the quarterback play itself, the edge goes to Rodgers, but as we all know there is more to football than just how you throw or catch a ball.

As for Rodgers, he's on the right track, and just needs to keep playing the way he has. 

Good things are going to happen for Green Bay, and I won't make this statement a promise just yet, but he could end up being better than Brett Favre.  Another few awesome seasons and we'll see Rodgers in the driver's seat of the NFL. 

A Lombardi trophy or an MVP season? 

I don't know, but he is so close it isn't funny.

 

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