In his three and a half seasons as a starter for the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers has almost already established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in not only Green Bay Packers history, but in the history of the NFL. His progression from a mid-to-late first round draft pick into Super Bowl MVP has been nothing short of spectacular. In this article, I will take you through his career thus far as quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.
Season 1 (2008-2009)
As Brett Favre finally threw in the towel as a Green Bay Packer after the 2007-2008 season, Aaron Rodgers at last got his chance to showcase his talents and shine. He had been patiently waiting since he was drafted in 2005 to get his chance to start in the NFL. The Packers really liked what they had seen out of Rodgers in practice, exhibition games, and a few random fill-ins for Favre as he left games a few times over that three year period, so they were ready to give Rodgers the shot he believe he deserved. Rodgers was ready to roll.
He played in all 16 games in his first season as the Packers’ starting quarterback. He had impressive numbers, including a 93.8 passer rating (6th in the NFL), threw for 4038 yards and 252.4 yards per game, recorded 28 touchdowns (all 4th in the NFL) with 13 interceptions, and completed 63.6 percent of his passes. For being virtually a rookie, these numbers were more than impressive. Although Rodgers only led them to a 6-10 record and failed to bring them to the playoffs, the Packers organization knew they had a bright future ahead of them.
Season 2 (2009-2010)
Entering his second season as the starter for the Green Bay Packers, Rodgers began to gain more and more confidence as each day passed. Although his statistics were very solid in the previous season, Rodgers knew that he needed to improve several aspects of his game to help his team win games and hopefully bring them to the playoffs for the first time. He needed to cut down on his interception total of 13 and also really wanted to focus on completing more passes and complete them at a higher percentage. If he could improve on these few aspects, the team was bound for more success. And he did just that. Throwing for 30 touchdowns (4th in the NFL) and only 7 interceptions (tied for 1st in the NFL for starting quarterbacks), completing more passes and completing them at a higher percentage (up 9 and 1.1% respectively), and elevating his quarterback rating to a stunning 103.2 (4th in the NFL), Rodgers led the Packers to an 11-5 record and the Packers secured a spot as a Wild Card team in the playoffs, facing the former NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals in the first round. The Packers would end up losing to the Cardinals in a 51-45 shootout in overtime, the highest scoring playoff game in NFL history, but throughout the entire season and playoff game, the Packer offense shined more than it had in recent history. Only good things were to come for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Season 3 (2010-2011)
Prior to the 2010-2011 season, Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy posted a team photo in an open spot next to all of the other previous NFL Champion Packer team photos in the team clubhouse. Mike McCarthy and the entire organization were confident in the talent they possessed on both sides of the ball, and knew that winning the Super Bowl was not by any means out of the realm of possibility. So, their ultimate goal was to bring the Vince Lombardi trophy back home to title town. Rodgers delivered.
Despite recording remarkable numbers in the 2009-2010 season, Aaron Rodgers still saw room for improvement. In the previous season, he was sacked an astounding 50 times, up from 34 in the previous season. The 50 sacks were tied with Ben Roethlisberger for most in the NFL. Yes, the Packer offensive line was banged up and struggled to protect Rodgers throughout the year, but Rodgers knew that it wasn’t all on them. He knew that he needed to find a way to get rid of the ball quicker to avoid all of these sacks and hits.
The regular season definitely had its ups and downs, but in the end, their goal was achieved. Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to a 31-25 defeat of the Pittsburgh Steelers to secure the Vince Lombardi trophy, and Rodgers was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Rodgers ranked 3rd in the NFL in passer rating (101.2) and was sacked only 31 times throughout the regular season, down 19 from the previous year. But his playoff numbers really made his season. He posted a near 110 quarterback rating and recorded 9 touchdowns in four games in the postseason, both tops in the NFL. Rodgers did everything he needed to do to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory.
Season 4 (2011-2012)
Even though the goal of winning the Super Bowl was achieved last year, Aaron Rodgers is evidently still hungry. He has consistently improved throughout his years as a starter, and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down one bit. His quarterback rating of 129.1 through eight games this season is nearly 29 points higher than any other quarterback in the NFL this season (D. Brees 100.6), and puts Rodgers on pace to shatter Peyton Manning’s NFL single-season record of a 121.1 passer rating. He is also on pace to break Dan Marino’s single-season passing yard record by over 150 yards, and is on track to break Drew Brees’ record of completing 70.6% of his passes for a single season. Rodgers is currently completing 72.5% of his passes. Oh, and Rodgers is also on pace to lead his team to an undefeated regular season record, a feat that only two teams have ever done before (1972 Dolphins and 2007 Patriots). We can’t say how this season will end up for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, but we have to believe that the record books will be altered in some way. There really seems to be no limit to what Aaron Rodgers can accomplish. By the end of his career, he may very well go down as one of the all-time greats in NFL history.