Aaron Rodgers: 6 Reasons Why Green Bay Packer Quarterback Is The Underdog

Alexandre ChouetteContributor IJanuary 20, 2011

Aaron Rodgers: 6 Reasons Why Green Bay Packer Quarterback Is The Underdog

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    Young Aaron at Cal
    Young Aaron at CalOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Green Bay Packer starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers is in his 6th season of the National Football League.  

    He was awarded a lucrative $65 million contract two years ago.

    Rodgers was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2009.  

    He has set numerous franchise and NFL passing records and is widely considered one of the Top Five quarterbacks in the league.

    In his third season as the starter, he is on the verge of leading his team to the Super Bowl.

    So why does Aaron Rodgers still view himself as the underdog?

    Aaron Rodgers is the quintessential underdog that Americans love to root for because nothing has been handed to him.

    He's had to fight and earn all the recognition and success that he's gained the old fashioned way; through hard work and determination.

    Here's a few reasons why Rodgers is Packer Nation's beloved underdog and why he has what it takes to lead Green Bay to the Super Bowl this year!

Was Not Offered a Div. I Scholarship Coming Out Of Chico High School

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    BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 6:  Aaron Rodgers #8 of the California Golden Bears lines up under center during the game against the Oregon Ducks at Memorial Stadium on November 6, 2004 in Berkeley, California. The Bears defeated the Ducks 28-27.  (Photo by Jed
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    As a senior at Chico Pleasant Valley High School, Aaron Rodgers measured about 6' 0'' and 180 lbs.  Not exactly the prototypical sized quarterback that Division I college recruiters seek out.

    Besides, Chico High School was well off the beaten path and didn't exactly have the reputation of churning out big time college football players.

    The University of Illinois coach offered to let Rodgers come to Champaign as a walk on, but no other major program made any gestures towards him.

    Aaron was so frustrated that he considered quitting football until Craig Rigsbee, head coach of nearby Butte College, convinced him to give it one more shot.

Only an Accident That Cal Coach Jeff Tedford Noticed Rodgers

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    Rodgers Shines In His 2 Seasons At CAL
    Rodgers Shines In His 2 Seasons At CALJed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    During his only season at Butte College, Rogers led the Roadrunners to a 10-1 season and a No. 2 national ranking.

    Still no Division I schools came knocking until...

    Cal head coach, Jeff Tedford, while scouting Butte tight end Garrett Cross noticed Rodgers and offered him a scholarship to transfer.  

    In his first year at Cal, Rodgers completed over 61% of his passes, threw for 19 touchdowns and only five interceptions and upset heavily favored Virginia Tech in the Insight Bowl.  

    During his two seasons at Cal, Rodgers set numerous school passing records and positioned himself as arguably the top rated quarterback in the 2005 NFL draft.

Rodgers Passed Over In 2005 NFL Draft For Alex Smith

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    Rodgers slides to #24 where Green Bay Snags Him
    Rodgers slides to #24 where Green Bay Snags HimChris Trotman/Getty Images

    In 2005 many draft analysts projected that Rodgers would be taken with the #1 pick by the San Francisco 49ers.

    Why not?  

    Rodgers grew up just a few miles from Candlestick Park, played college ball at nearby Cal and was a die-hard San Fran fan as a kid.

    Of any NFL team you would have thought the 49ers had the best insight on the home-grown Aaron Rodgers.

    Instead the 49ers chose Alex Smith out of the University of Utah, while Rodgers plummeted in one of the most epic free-falls in NFL Draft history until he was chosen with the 24th pick by the Green Bay Packers.

    Only now will Rodgers admit that he was miffed at the time.

Rodgers Sat The Bench For Three, Long Years Behind Brett Favre

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    Rodgers was overpaid clipboard holder for 3 seasons
    Rodgers was overpaid clipboard holder for 3 seasonsJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Most first-round NFL picks are expected to play extensively and contribute to the team right from the start.

    Unfortunately for Rodgers, he joined a team that had a pretty good quarterback that had no intention of relinquishing the starting position.

    Here's a thought... suppose Rodgers had been given the reins in 2006, a year when Favre completed only 56% of his passes, threw 18 interceptions and had a paltry quarterback rating of 72.7.

    Not completely unreasonable considering that Favre's numbers in 2005, the year Rodgers was drafted, were even worse when he threw 29 interceptions and had a quarterback rating of only 70.9.

    You could argue that Favre should have been benched in 2006, giving Rodgers a chance to get his feet wet in the NFL, had it not been for Favre's larger than life persona in Green Bay.

    I'll go out on a limb and bet that Rodgers wouldn't have thrown that interception in the 2008 NFC Championship game against the Giants that squelched Green Bay's golden opportunity to go to another Super Bowl.

    What might have been???

Upon Earning The Starting QB Role In 2008, Rodgers Was Villified By Many Fans

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    Rodgers had losing record first season as a starter
    Rodgers had losing record first season as a starterJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Although Rodgers put up amazing statistics in his first season as a starter, Green Bay had a losing record and didn't make the playoffs, only one year after going to the NFC Championship.

    Rodgers took a lot of heat from fans that year, including death threats. 

    In the end, this helped to build the character and mettle that keeps him at an even keel when he's directing the Packer offense on the football field.

Aaron Rodgers Snubbed By Voters On 2010 Pro Bowl

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    Rodgers makes a statement against Atlanta
    Rodgers makes a statement against AtlantaKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Aaron Rodgers is a man on a mission to prove why he's one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

    After being snubbed by voters for this year's Pro Bowl, he let his play on the field against Philadelphia's Michael Vick and Atlanta's Matt Ryan show why he should be representing the NFC.

Rodgers Will Have Last Laugh As Packers Go To The Super Bowl

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    Rodgers will be all smiles after a beat down of Chicago
    Rodgers will be all smiles after a beat down of ChicagoChris Graythen/Getty Images

    Thanks to the adversity he has faced throughout his career, Aaron Rodgers has developed a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

    His underdog attitude is what fuels his hunger and drive to prove why he is the best and is the key reason why Green Bay is the odds on favorite to win the Super Bowl.