Aaron Rodgers stands above every Ryan Leaf, every Kyle Boller, every Tim Couch, every David Carr, and every Joey Harrington as a proud example of what three years of riding the pine can do for an NFL quarterback.
Of the six quarterbacks mentioned, only one sat on the bench and learned the offense for three years before getting his chance. And only one had been back-up under iron man Brett Favre.
And that only one, Aaron Rodgers, is the only one still contributing weekly in the NFL.
As quarterback of the Green Bay Packers in the 2008-2009 season, Rodgers has legitimately had the most pressure put on him in comparison to any first-year starter in NFL history.
It was simply not enough that Rodgers had to follow in the footsteps of a retired Brett Favre, but Favre complicated matters by un-retiring, wanting his old job pried from the hands of Rodgers and returned, then getting his wish of being traded, and now is playing with the New York Jets.
Not to mention, the Packers are fresh off a 13-3 season in which they ended their season just one field goal away from the Super Bowl.
Pressure? You don't know the meaning of pressure until you've met Aaron Rodgers.
Stepping into the bowl of Lambeau Field against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football to start his first game under center, the Packer faithful were supportive of the young quarterback and praised his skills after Green Bay pulled a win out of the fire.
What was supposed to make Aaron Rodgers' job easier this year, however, was that he would have a strong running game behind him with second-year sensation Ryan Grant. Grant, who ran for just under 1,000 yards last season, signed a four-year extension in the preseason and missed so much practice time during his holdout that it has effected his play in the first half of the season.
Thus, Rodgers has had to literally kick-start the offense every week and ignite the pilot light for offensive coordinator Joe Philbin's offense.
Just seven games in, Rodgers signed an extension to be in green and gold through 2014; a move which, while sudden, represents the commitment that the Packers have always given to Rodgers.
By trading away Brett Favre, the Packers showed extreme confidence in Rodgers as their quarterback of the future. By signing Rodgers to a long-term deal just seven games in, they are rewarding the California graduate for his patience and understanding through three years of turmoil of being the back-up to Brett Favre during his summers of "thinking about retirement."
For all those not in favor of the deal, simply imagine what Rodgers has done in eight games as quarterback. He has played some of the NFL's toughest defenses—the Cowboys, the Colts, the Vikings, and the Titans—and still maintains one of the best quarterback ratings in the NFL.
If Rodgers can perform at this level with just eight games of experience under his belt, what can he do with three years of experience under his belt?
And that question is why Aaron Rodgers was signed long-term.