The demise of Aaron Rodgers was greatly exaggerated.
In the NFL there are few constants. Players are easily replaceable, coaches have a short leash, and a team goes worst-to-first seemingly every year. The one equalizer for any team is an elite quarterback. For the select few quarterbacks considered elite, winning is expected every year. At the turn of the century, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady came along, becoming annual fixtures in the playoffs. We, as fans, knew the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots would be playing come January; anything less wouldn’t be tolerated. In 2008, the Green Bay Packers let Brett Favre walk, opening the door for Aaron Rodgers to join Manning and Brady as the NFL’s elites.
Since taking over in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers has won a Super Bowl, Super Bowl MVP and League MVP twice. By the time he won his second MVP in 2014, he was regarded by many as the best quarterback in football. He was doing things on a weekly basis that seemed impossible, and expectations were sky high. His Green Bay Packers were perennial contenders, the same way Manning’s Colts and Brady’s Patriots had been for years. The Packers started the 2015 season 6-0 and Rodgers appeared to be on his way to his 3rd MVP. Then, the wheels fell off.
In the final 10 games of the season, Green Bay stumbled to a 4-6 record, lost the division and barely made the playoffs. Worst of all, Aaron Rodgers looked human. There were many ideas as to why, but it was abundantly clear Rodgers was not the same player.
Fast-forward to 2016 and a slow start for Rodgers and the Packers. After a 4-6 start, the rumor mill was swirling. People said he’s lost a step, doesn’t have the arm strength, relies too much on improvisation, and was given too much credit in the past. Pro Football Talk reported he was not getting along with head coach Mike McCarthy. Finally, a report came out discussing his family issues. It went in depth discussing how he no longer speaks with his family, blaming it on his relationship with actress Olivia Munn. At that point, the Packers season appeared over, his family issues became public, and shots were being taken by players and media alike. Aaron Rodgers, who once appeared on track to join the short list of greatest quarterbacks of all time, was being counted out by many.
The thing is, players of Aaron Rodgers’ caliber should never be counted out. Despite the struggles he endured, there should never have been a question of whether he would regain his MVP form. When the chips are down, Aaron Rodgers, just like all the greats, is at his best. Speaking to the media with his team at 4-6, Rodgers declared the Packers would run the table. No one believed him, yet they are halfway there and Rodgers has been arguably the best player in the NFL since then. His team has won all three of its games and Rodgers has amassed 768 yards, 7 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. After their beat down of the Seattle Seahawks 38-10 on Sunday, the Packers are all of a sudden in the thick of things. With just three games left in the season, the Packers are on the rise and no team wants to play against Aaron Rodgers anytime soon.