Aaron Rodgers to The San Francisco 49ers: What the NFL Could've Been Like
Every move made in the business of the National Football League sets in motion the future of the league.
Things certainly would be much different if even one team had decided differently on draft day.
Trades sometimes turn lousy clubs into playoff contenders, and free agent signings can either cause distractions or fill the need of a team looking for that one piece to push them to greatness.
Imagine if the New York Giants had gotten Philip Rivers and Eli Manning had gone to San Diego. Or if Drew Brees had stayed with the Chargers would the New Orleans Saints have ever won a Super Bowl?
Would the Green Bay Packers be in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 if Aaron Rodgers was a San Francisco 49er? I don't think so.
Here is what the NFL would look like today if Aaron Rodgers would have been drafted first in 2005.
The 49ers Would Have Made the Playoffs This Season
The 49ers needed a QB in the 2005 draft, but decided to pass on Aaron Rodgers and drafted Alex Smith out of Utah instead.
Smith never saw success in five years with San Francisco. He never threw for more than 18 TDs or over 3,000 yards. In the 54 games he played, he threw a total of 53 interceptions.
If Rodgers was the leader of the 49ers offense, Mike Singletary would still have a job and the 49ers would be the NFC West champions.
Rodgers would be mentioned among names like Montana and Young instead of having to fight his way out of Brett Favre's shadow for three years.
It would be the Aaron and Vernon Show, as the NFL's next dynamic duo would terrorize opposing defenses, with an occasional deep ball to Micheal Crabtree of course.
Brett Favre Would Have Retired a Packer
Favre would've been welcomed back by the Packers front office after deciding he wanted to give it another go.
There would have been no young QB waiting for his time to take over, so the Packers would've been forced to let the old man play while looking for a future replacement.
All the cheesheads across America would still be madly in love with the future Hall of Famer because he never would have gone to the Vikings and beaten Green Bay twice.
No. 4 would fail to lead the Packers back to the Super Bowl, but he'd give a beautiful retirement speech between sobs and the Pack would've been left with a QB situation as ugly as the Cardinals' after Kurt Warner retired.
Seahawks As a Cinderella Would Be a Fairy Tale
Seattle would've never snuck into the playoffs with a sub .500 record in 2010 and upset the defending champs at home.
The 49ers would have done the job instead and lost to the Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional round.
Rodgers Wouldn't Be As Good
Notice I said as good. Rodgers still would have been a solid QB, but his time with Green Bay's coaches, especially Mike McCarthy, helped shape him into the elite quarterback he is today.
Not to mention that backing up Brett Favre for three seasons has its benefits.
Even if Favre didn't mentor his successor, Rodgers was sure to pick up on a lot.
The Packers Would've Drafted Josh Freeman
Green Bay would've selected QB Josh Freeman in the first round of 2009 to prepare for Favre's departure.
B.J. Raji, a.k.a "The Freezer", would be on another NFL team and possibly even Clay Matthews.
The Packers defense would be weak, but the offense would be explosive, though not nearly as explosive as with A-Rod in the cockpit.
But Aaron Rodgers Is a Proud Packer...
It's hard to say if any of these things would've happened if Aaron Rodgers would have been the first selection in 2005.
It's easy to say that the NFL could be drastically different. It just goes to show that every pick is important and why a good front office is essential to a successful franchise.
But the facts are that Rodgers was stolen by Green Bay, and is now proving to the world that he deserved to be picked first on that fateful day.
Although I'm pretty sure he's happy that he's on his way to Super Bowl XLV, with a bright future.