It started in a green room in New York City. As the hours ticked by and the selections of the 2005 NFL Draft were made, NFL scouts made it clear they had doubts in Aaron Rodgers. Then the Packers drafted him with the 24th pick to make him their quarterback of the future.
More doubted him as he was tasked with taking over a legend. Then he threw for 4,000 yards in his first two seasons at the helm.
Still, Rodgers had yet to win a playoff game and more people thought he had could not lead his team in the postseason.
When will the doubters learn?
Rodgers has spent his entire career with people questioning almost every aspect of his game. Despite this, it never fazes him and he only proves them wrong. With a 48-21 rout of the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons, there is virtually nothing left to say poorly of the Green Bay Packers quarterback.
Rodgers had a game for the ages against the Falcons completing 31 of his 36 attempts for 366 yards without playing half of the fourth quarter. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for another accounting for the difference in the 27-point blowout. Rodgers even led the Packers on four scoring drives of over 80 yards.
Is Aaron Rodgers elite?
The Falcons secondary was like the skinny guy in the jailhouse shower—Rodgers just had his way with them.
He became only the third NFC quarterback in the last 21 years to beat the first seed in the conference in the Divisional Round. The next step is trying to become the first six-seed from the NFC to win the Super Bowl. Something well within the Packers' grasp considering there has never been a six-seed with their talent level in the NFC playoffs.
If one wants to argue whether Rodgers is elite, they have almost no basis to say he isn't. Rodgers has put up the stats, led his team on the road in the playoffs to victories against great teams and has already set NFL records.
What sets him apart on the short list of elite quarterbacks is his mobility. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees all have great pocket presence, as does Rodgers, but none of them can run in the open field like the Packers captain. Rodgers on multiple occasions spun out of pressure in the pocket baffling the pass rushers on the outside and then found a receiver down field or picked up a solid five yards on a scramble.
The simple point is there is almost nothing left for Rodgers to prove.
Still critics believe that Rodgers does not have the postseason success to be considered elite, but they fail to see that he actually does. I haven't seen Brady pull his team back the way Rodgers did in last year's Wild Card loss to Arizona, which was the defense's fault, not his. Manning cannot say he threw for 10 touchdowns in his first three playoff games, but Rodgers can.
The only thing left to be said is that Rodgers does not have a Super Bowl ring.
With the way he has the Packers playing, that will change come February.