He's proven it to us time and time again. In six seasons with the Packers, Rodgers has gone from Brett Favre's backup to Super Bowl champion. He has the highest career regular and postseason rating in NFL history. He is continuously mentioned in the same breath as future Hall of Famers Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
The Packers would not be the team they are without him.
With all of this said, however, the question remains: Why are the Packers and Aaron Rodgers so good?
Allow me to explain.
Why is Aaron Rodgers the perfect QB for the Packers? Its simple really. It's because he is, after all, Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers has established himself as one of the premier quarterbacks in the league in only his fourth season as a starting quarterback. This is in itself a remarkable accomplishment. The fact that he also has led a Packers team with the second youngest roster in the NFL to a Super Bowl championship is a testament to his ability and leadership abilities.
As only Antrel Rolle could say, “Let me tell you something—that dude is scary...I don’t ever want to face him again in my life. I am dead serious. I’ll face Drew Brees any day of the week before I face him again."
Now, while Rolle isn't exactly the greatest defensive player in the world, it's still an overwhelming endorsement of Rodgers and his ability as a quarterback.
Perhaps no one sees the field as well as Rodgers. He quickly identifies the open receiver and is incredibly smart with the football, preferring to throw the ball away than risk throwing an interception. His talent level alone would make him a perfect fit for the high-octane, pass-first offense the Packers employ.
When Aaron Rodgers steps into the huddle, it is his huddle. Despite the presence of many established veterans on the team—such as Charles Woodson, Chad Clifton and Donald Driver—he is the consensus leader of the team. He leads the pre-game prayer, he takes on the blame when the team makes mistakes and he prefers to praise others rather than himself.
When someone new joins the team, whether it is a first-round draft pick or a undrafted free agent, Rodgers will always shake his hand and introduce himself, because he believes it is tremendously important to know everyone on the team. When FB John Kuhn joined the Packers in 2006, one of the first things he remembers is Rodgers asking him his birthday so he could store it in his phone.
He's become the kind of quarterback who can inspire a team just by his presence, just like Brett Favre used to. That's what made Favre so special. When he stepped on the field during all those years in Green Bay, the people around him always sensed they had a chance to win regardless of the circumstances. Rodgers has become that quarterback in almost every sense of the word.
Speaking of Favre, let's face it: Aaron Rodgers would not be the quarterback he is without a little help from Brett Favre. Favre, and the legend he left behind, were two of the most important things in Rodgers' development as a quarterback.
The perception has always been that Favre's relationship with Rodgers was strictly professional, and, perhaps, for the most part it was. However, as Rodgers himself once stated about his time as a backup:
That was a valuable time, it really was. I really learned a lot about practice habits from him, and I think you realize as a young player that a lot of the time, the practice goes as the top player or top leader goes. Practice time is so vital to the success of the team, so he would every day bring energy and enthusiasm, and I learned a lot of important lessons like that.
Favre was responsible for developing Rodgers' leadership abilities, one of the most critical attributes of a successful quarterback. The fact that Favre refused to let Rodgers replace him also drove Rodgers to become the best quarterback that he could be, and when it was his time, he stepped up to the plate. In reality no one else would have been capable of replacing Favre as the Packers' QB except for Rodgers, who, because of his talent and character, was the perfect replacement for Favre.
A great quarterback cannot be productive if he and the coach do not get along well. While Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy may not have always seen eye to eye on certain things, McCarthy and Rodgers remain committed to being the best they can be. This is what counts the most in professional football.
As Vince Lombardi once said, "Winning isn't everything, it is the only thing." The Packers are able to compete at a high level because both McCarthy and Rodgers are dedicated to this principle.
McCarthy has also shown extraordinary trust in Rodgers as his starting quarterback. Throughout the entire Brett Favre debacle, McCarthy remained firmly behind Rodgers as his starter, giving Rodgers the chance to show the talent that he has. Rodgers knew that he had the backing of both McCarthy and the Packer franchise, so he could go out and concentrate on doing what he does best: shredding opposing defenses.
When Aaron Rodgers wakes up in the morning and gets ready to drive to work, he gets to choose between taking a Lamborghini, a Ferrari, a Bugatti Veyron, a Ford GT and a BMW M3. These cars are actually an analogy for the receivers he gets to throw to every single day. From Greg Jennings to Randall Cobb, the Packers have the deepest and most talented receiving corps in the game, and Rodgers is in the driver's seat of this high-performance offense.
While Rodgers talent is extremely evident, the skill of the players surrounding him elevates his play as well. In Jennings he has a perennial All-Pro who has the speed and athletic ability to stretch the field. Donald Driver is arguably the best over-the-middle receiver to ever play the game. Jermichael Finley is one of the bright, young tight ends playing the game right now. And the list goes on.
Rodgers is the perfect fit for the Packers because only he could distribute the ball to every single playmaker on the Packers offense, and the Packers are the perfect fit for Rodgers because the talent they have on offense makes Rodgers a better quarterback.
The Packers system is the perfect fit for the skills Rodgers brings to the table. His ability to read the defense and make the correct throw to the open receiver make him nearly unstoppable in the Packers' spread offense. With the record number of passing yards and touchdowns being put up in only two weeks, the NFL has clearly evolved into a passing league and the spread offense is here to stay
The Packers offense functions in just the same way. Without the help of a pure running game (though James Starks looks to be the real deal), Rodgers has been able to help develop younger receivers like James Jones and Jordy Nelson as a result of the short passing game offense that relies on receivers to make plays. The short passing game also plays to the strengths of Rodgers, who has such incredible presence in the pocket and makes smart decisions with the football quickly.
Combine these elite receivers, each who can make plays on his own, with a highly accurate quarterback in Rodgers (his completion percentage last year was nearly 66 percent) and the Packers were able to show the NFL that the spread offense is the way championships are won.
Rodgers is the perfect quarterback for the Packers because of the Packers franchise and the amount of stability in the organization itself.
Dave Zirin, who makes the case for Packers-style ownership in his book Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love, sums up the amount of faith the Packer have in Rodgers:
Take the situation with Brett Favre. [Favre] was a legend. Had a lot left in the tank. Had proven he could sell out Lambeau Field. Most owners in that situation would have kept him. They wouldn't have even drafted Aaron Rodgers. Ted Thompson drafted Rodgers over Favre's objections, made sure he was trained properly, then decided that it was in the best interest of the team to not have Favre's off-field, will-he-or-won't-he drama every offseason.
The reason Rodgers has succeeded as much as he has is because of the stability of the Packers. The reason Thompson was able to make the move to bring in Rodgers and replace Favre is because of the stability in the Packers organization.
Other teams most likely would not have had the ability to handle the Brett Favre saga the way the Packers did. Perhaps the only other example of a successful transition of Hall of Fame quarterbacks was when Steve Young replaced Joe Montana as the quarterback of the 49ers.