Is Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers the Next Steve Young? Only Time Will Tell

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2010

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 20:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers warms up prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 20, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

When it comes to professional sports, there are only a handful of things that are harder than following legends.

Through retirement or simply moving onto another team, it seems after a decade we pass through, there is at least one case of a future Hall of Famer moving on to the next best thing and leaving the unlucky and unprepared sole behind him to fill-in and take the helm.

It's kind of like if Captain Kirk was to retire and Captain Picard was to step in with no previous experience of how to run the enterprise.  However, luckily Green Bay only had to worry about a Vikings takeover, instead of Klingon's.

We saw it in the 1990s with Joe Montana and Steve Young. Although Joe Montana was highly recognized as the face of the San Francisco 49ers, there was a time in which Montana suited up for the Kansas City Chiefs and more importantly, left Steve Young to fill the void that seemed destined to gain controversy.

Then we move on to more present times.  The "noughties" era, as some have deemed it, saw Brett Favre move on to the New York Jets and leave Packer fans with a hole in their hearts that would need some serious persuasion to forget about. 

Although Aaron Rodgers wasn't exactly unheard of, with only a few snaps to his name and a game against the Dallas Cowboys to base a prediction on, Aaron Rodgers was strongly doubted from the very beginning.

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A select bunch of Packer fans doubted him, most of the NFL doubted him, and the so called "experts" predicted that Rodgers would struggle for the first few years of his career. Luckily for Green Bay, none of that happened and although a dismal 6-10 record was posted in 2008, the quarterback position was firmly secure, at least for the time being.

But that's in the past, so what about the ever so promising future? Well as long as we are looking at Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers, it makes sense to compare the two.

The First Year: 1991 and 2008

1991 marked the year that Steve Young stepped in to fill Joe Montana's shoes in San Francisco, after Montana went down with an injury in preseason and although it was a year before I was born, it is still a momentous occasion in the history of the NFL.

At first, doubt was the first emotion felt among San Francisco fans. With an unsteady 4-4 record at the midway point of the season, Young was doing himself more harm than good when it came to convincing the fans.

Although Aaron Rodgers hasn't exactly felt the same fate that Steve Young once had, he still has had his shares of ups and downs with the Packers. From the very beginning Packers fans seemed destined not to forget Favre and more importantly hold a grudge against owner Ted Thompson that could perhaps even outdo Raider fans' grudge for Al Davis.

A 4-4 start or a 6-10 finish, the first year was unkind for both starting quarterbacks.

The Second Year: 1992 and 2009

In 1992, Steve Young improved dramatically.  At the beginning of the season, Young's career did seem in jeopardy, given that Joe Montana had healed from injury and was planning on returning to the 49ers in the near future.

However, an MVP season and a Pro Bowl selection later, Steve Young had won over the fans and led San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game, which they would go on to lose to the Dallas Cowboys.

Sound familiar? Well it should, because that story is more than similar to Aaron Rodgers' recent outcome. Yes, no MVP season and yes, no NFC Title Game, but a Pro Bowl selection and a great turn-around season was the end story for the 2009 season.

The Third Year: 1993

The third year has yet to begin for Aaron Rodgers, but for Steve Young the 1993 season was more or less a mere repeat of 1992. Another trip to the NFC Championship Game and yet another loss to the Dallas Cowboys, put San Francisco firmly in Super Bowl contention for the 1994 season.

The Fourth Year: 1994

This is where the real story is told and where Packer fans should grin with hope and confidence and pray for a coincidence to occur in two years time. Finally, after all the hard work, Steve Young prevailed and granted San Francisco a much deserved Super Bowl victory.

With a 49-26 win over the San Diego Chargers and Super Bowl MVP, Steve Young earned himself a place in NFL history.


Sure it's not something to base your hopes on, but it is however something to just consider. While Aaron Rodgers is not quite "all" there yet, another couple of solid seasons and hopefully some more Pro Bowl appearances will have Rodgers' confidence through the roof.

As for the Packers fans, just sit tight. While I'm not a fortune teller and I sure as heck aren't even going to begin to predict a Super Bowl victory in the next five years, but if there is one man I'd base my team's future on, it'd more than likely be Aaron Rodgers. 

A future Steve Young or maybe better? We'll have to wait and see, but Aaron Rodgers has been successful so far in backing up a legend.

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