Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers Casts a Shadow Over the Brett Favre Era

Ryan WolcottContributor IIFebruary 7, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  MVP Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates with the Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Brett Favre has been somewhat of a legend in TitleTown, USA, also known as the home of the Green Bay Packers.  Favre set many records as the starting quarterback for the Packers from 1992 through 2007. 

One of those records ended this year while Favre was playing for the division rival Minnesota Vikings, or, more specifically, while not playing for the Vikings.  In the 16 years that Favre was the starting quarterback for the Packers, he became a hero in Green Bay.  Favre’s legendary status in Green Bay cast a huge shadow over his successor.

Aaron Rodgers had big shoes to fill in Green Bay when he became the full-time starter in Green Bay.  Following Favre would have been hard for any quarterback to do; however, Rodgers has proven himself to be the perfect fit to follow, and even surpass, Brett Favre’s status in Green Bay.

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Favre achieved many milestones during his tenure in the NFL, many of which will likely be records that will not be broken by anyone.  Favre’s achievements included the records for consecutive starts as a quarterback, consecutive starts as a position player, consecutive games as a position player, wins in one stadium (Lambeau Field), career passing yards, career passing receptions, and career passing touchdowns, as well as many, many more.

In all of his time in the NFL, although he is fifth in career playoff victories with 13, Favre has only won one Super Bowl, and he has never been selected as the MVP of the Super Bowl.  Last night, Aaron Rodgers equaled and surpassed Favre in these departments.

Rodgers helped the Packers win the Super Bowl, equaling Favre’s number of Super Bowl victories, and Rodgers surpassed Favre by being selected as the Super Bowl MVP. He accomplished this by completing 24 of 39 passing attempts for 304 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions and zero fumbles.

Regardless of all of the achievements and accomplishments that Favre made as a Packer, Rodgers managed to equal the achievement that really counts in football by bringing the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay.  Since almost all of the achievements that Favre had during his career in the NFL are personal achievements, and, football is, after all, a team sport, Rodgers and Favre are now even where it counts.

Although, if you ask the fans in Green Bay right now, most would put Rodgers far above Favre.  This could have become much easier when Favre signed and played for the rival Vikings for the past two seasons.  Some Green Bay fans went as far as painting the side to say “#12 is 3 X #4.” 

Many now think of Favre as a traitor for playing for the Vikings.  Rodgers had a lot to prove to show that he could step out of Favre’s shadow, and it was not due to the fact that Favre is a “traitor” that Rodgers is now beloved in TitleTown.

Rodgers is a team leader and a brilliant, strategic quarterback who can break down defenses like some of the best quarterbacks in football history.  That probably explains why in four postseason games this season, Rodgers only had two interceptions.

One major difference that can be observed between Favre and Rodgers is that Favre was much more likely to throw interceptions.  That probably explains the difference in their career passing ratings, which is 86.0 for Favre and 98.4 for Rodgers. 

Overall, Favre was always much more likely to cause a turnover.  When you compare the two quarterbacks, it can be seen that Favre’s best year with turnovers was his first full year, when he had 19 turnovers.  Rodgers’ first year happened to be his worst year with the number of turnovers, also with 19.  Ever since then, Rodgers has had fewer turnovers, with 15 in 2009 and 13 in 2010. 

Every year other than his first, Favre had between 20 and 37 turnovers.

Another big difference between Favre and Rodgers is that Favre did not have to win the Wild Card game to get his Super Bowl victory, whereas Rodgers did.  Rodgers just turned 27 in December and has a long future with the Packers organization.  The Packers are, overall, a young team with a lot of potential, and right now they are the world champions.

Rodgers has said that he could never be anything but the best Aaron that he can be.  Yesterday, he was exactly that.  He led his team to a Super Bowl victory, stepping out of the shadow that was cast upon him by Favre and actually cast a shadow upon the past era of Brett Favre, which was much aided by the Vince Lombardi Trophy.  Rodgers has equaled Favre with Super Bowl rings and become a star by proving that he is a top quarterback in the NFL.

There is no longer a shadow upon Rodgers cast by Favre as Rodgers officially accomplished what many successors to star quarterbacks can never do—winning the Super Bowl.  The Brett Favre era needed to end in Green Bay, as Favre’s Super Bowl victory was 15 years ago.  Rodgers has begun a new era in Green Bay with a promise that has Packers fans saying, “Brett Favre who?”

He may not touch some of Favre’s personal achievements, but football is not about the “I” but rather about the “us,” since you cannot win a Super Bowl alone. Rodgers was the perfect fit as the successor to Favre.  It only took him three years as a full-time starter to win the Super Bowl. 

Rodgers has made the fans forget about Favre and celebrate the current world championship status and the future achievements Rodgers can lead the team as a whole towards.