Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers: Save Some Love For Later
On Sunday, Favre, in his Jets debut, threw two touchdown passes and showed some of the grip-it-and-rip-it swagger New York was hoping for when they traded for him. In his post-game press conference, he said (again) that coming out of retirement was, without a doubt, the right thing for him to do.
Jets lovers couldn't agree more.
Last night, the Aaron Rodgers era began on a highly positive note as the Packers defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 24-19. Aided by a dominant running game, Rodgers put together a coolly efficient performance, throwing for a touchdown and running for another.
Buoyed by a supportive crowd, Rodgers spiked the ball and did a long-awaited Lambeau Leap. The fans welcomed him into the fold, and just that quickly, Aaron Rodgers was Their Guy.
And everybody lived happily ever after, right?
Not so fast. While the Packers and Jets fans should be happy their respective quarterbacks have piloted them to 1-0 records, they need to save some of that love for later, when Rodgers and Favre have a greater need for it.
Rodgers showed once again that he is a pro in every sense of the word. He handled the Packer reins last night as easily as he dealt with Favre questions in the summer.
His role will be different from Favre's because Mike McCarthy wants a game manager under center, not a superstar. As long as he sticks to the game plan, Rodgers won't ever have a spectacular, Favre-ian flameout. His coach won't allow it.
However, we'll see how the Packer fans and media react when Rodgers has his first bad game. He has been in the league four years, but he is still a very young quarterback, and young quarterbacks make mistakes.
They get flustered by aggressive pass rushers and tricky defensive backs. A bad game is inevitable for Rodgers, and when he has one, he'll realize the ghost of Brett Favre is never far away.
Favre, for his part, was spectacular. His second touchdown pass was Favre at his improvisational best: going for it on 4th-and-13, half-running, half-falling, with a defender's arm around his waist, mustering just enough strength to heave the ball into Chansi Stuckey's waiting arms. Even Favre admits he didn't think the ball had a chance of being caught -- at least, not by anyone in a Jets uniform.
After the game, Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King wrote that a passer with even the slightest concern for his quarterback rating would never, ever have thrown that ball. That's a big part of what makes Favre great.
Unfortunately, that's also, what gets Favre into trouble. Favre deserves a place at the table with the all-time greats. But remember that the all-time leader in touchdown passes is also the all-time leader in interceptions.
That's not an insignificant statistic. It tells you that interceptions are a part of the Favre package. Not just interceptions, mind you, but some egregiously bad throws.
McCarthy got him to rein his game in last year, and it resulted in a highly efficient, near-MVP season. But Favre threw an interception that cost the Packers a Super Bowl berth.
Favre is still better than most of the passers in the league, but he is going to throw some head-scratchers this season, and I'd be willing to bet he has at least one three-interception game. For all his greatness, it is simply a part of who Favre is, and Jets fans would do well to remember that.
So, Jets and Packer fans get to bask in the afterglow of an opening-day victory, and are lavishing all their love on the passers who helped author those wins.
But save some of that love for later, fans. Both quarterbacks will probably need it at a time when you're most reluctant to give it.
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