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At Height of Powers, Window Remains Wide Open for Rodgers and Co.

When Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers win another Super Bowl—whether that’s next February or another time soon—will it be enough, finally, to silence the endless bloviating as to whether No. 12’s career was a waste? Will two rings be enough? How about three? And can we draw out the comparisons to one of Rodgers’ contemporaries, Tom Brady, a player whose resume outshines virtually all other takers in the history of the game? 
 
Since when did reality turn into an extra-crappy episode of whatever Cowherd or Bayless are squawking about? 
 
The questions surrounding Green Bay’s championship window are again making the rounds after Rodgers’ interview with Peter King for MMQB, which went into the ether and was quickly forgotten about. My bad, that story actually sparked a number of follow-ups, including this questionable take from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. 
 
Florio, a veritable against-the-grain Aaron Rodgers hot-take aficionado, actually closed the piece with this: 
 
Regardless of whether they win another Super Bowl, the Packers are hardly mediocre. But maybe it would be better to be mediocre than to be close and close and close and close but never quire (sic) where they need to be.
 
This passage is confounding on a number of levels. First, it belies the fact that the Packers have indeed won a Super Bowl with Rodgers. In the seven seasons since, the Packers have made the postseason each time—indicating they’ve been exactly where they need to be in order to have another shot at the Lombardi trophy. Being in the hunt every year, in the face of injuries and slow starts, is not an indicator of embracing mediocrity. (In fairness to Florio, that wasn’t his claim.) 
 
The truth is, and it’s a simple truth, that Rodgers retiring with a lone ring would be a disappointment but not a qualifier of his greatness. There’s no mutual exclusivity here. It’s the same reason that Marino, Tarkenton, Kelly, Fouts, and Moon, to name a handful, still land on every legitimate list of the game’s greatest signal-callers. 
 
Those players, too, suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous postseason fortune. Fouts and Moon never made it to the big game. Marino lost the Super Bowl in his second season and never again returned. Tarkenton and Kelly lost seven between the two of them. 
 
Rodgers has already ascended their ranks and his performance in Super Bowl XLV earned him MVP honors. His run through the postseason en route to Dallas stands as one of the finest by a quarterback ever. 
 
Why do we speak of him, then, as though his career to this point has been a waste? Right, it’s the fact that he’s almost game-breakingly good. 
 
A generational talent like Rodgers does things on the field that make us feel as though our eyes are playing tricks. It’s the same sensation that one would get watching Jordan or Tiger at the height of their powers. And of course, Jordan racked up a pair of three-peats and Tiger was well on his way to thrashing Jack Nicklaus’ majors record before mounting injuries took their toll. But Rodgers just has a single championship trophy. 
 
What this amounts to is a sense, really, a feeling that someone as good as Rodgers should have more rings—but the logic deconstructs when the lack of rings is used as though it’s proof 
 
Another popular narrative used often by Packers fans themselves, is to say Rodgers would have many more rings if not for Mike McCarthy and/or Ted Thompson and/or Dom Capers and/or Brandon Bostick. If you want to go that way, and we can certainly agree to disagree, then I’d point you toward Adam Vinatieri, the tuck rule, a head-scratching goalline call and the interception that followed. Without the aforementioned, Brady might be in the same territory as Rodgers: One of the game’s all-time best with just one ring. 
 
Rodgers is 33 years old. Barring injury, there’s every reason to believe he’ll be every bit as good as Tom Brady, 40, is expected to be this season. 
 
The window will be open for some time to come. 
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (37) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

lou's picture

Here is the biggest reason why in a nutshell they have appeared/Won only 1 Lombardi Trophy with Aaron Rodgers;

Seasons Playing With A Top 10 Defense -Career

Ben Rothlisberger - 9
Tom Brady - 6
Peyton Manning - 5
Eli Manning - 5
Aaron Rodgers - 2

Finwiz's picture

That pretty much says it all. Of course it's a team game.
Word I'm hearing from more than one source, including Leroy Butler on 8/7, is that our CB's are still sub-par, and the middle of the field is still WIDE OPEN. They are susceptible to the deep ball, and our 1st pick (2nd round draft choice) as now been relegated to 3rd string CB in the rotation. Whether that's to send a message or a a reflection of his performance, it doesn't bode well if we have to enter the season with the same CB's + House, who's now nursing a hamstring injury by the way. If this defense doesn't improve, it will be the same results in 2017.

Tarynfor12's picture

You can't win it if you're not in it.
Pointing fingers, stats, records, words like Relax,sounds like Ssshh, all make for great debate and theatric. Whether one more is enough will be another debate but the one with most wins any discussion...unless a pair in poker loses to Ace high and 5 is less than 2...Common Core math....than it shouldn't matter if he does or doesn't. Like Dennis Greene said....You wanna crown him, crown him....to that effect.
I guess the possible excuse list is open to suggestions.

egbertsouse's picture

It still amazes me when all the pundits and experts rank QB's based on Super Bowl rings like its tennis or golf. I also chuckle when I hear things like Brady beat Manning 5 out of 6 times, etc. Brady didn't beat Manning, its not Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, it's a team game, man. There are 21 other players!

If Montana or Brady plays with the Browns, they will make the team better and win more games but they don't end up 4 or 5 rings and they would still be the same guys.

The TKstinator's picture

Great points!
Football is a team game.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

It is a great point. Blindingly, obviously true. It is a team game. I do absolve AR from blame. But....

It is not the fault of TT;
It is not the fault of the coaches; Gotcha...

So, it is injuries?
So, it is bad calls?
So, it is just the nature of the NFL - it is hard to get to the SB?

The TKstinator's picture

You had me at "blindingly true".

RCPackerFan's picture

Great point! I completely agree.

I had brought something similar up a few weeks ago. But right after the Patriots beat the Seahawks many were saying how Brady was the GOAT because he won another Super Bowl. My question to that was with the people saying he was the GOAT, what would they have said if his defense didn't get the INT and the Seahawks actually won?

This is a team game. QB's get to much credit and to much blame at the same time.

sonomaca's picture

Thought experiment: tell me how the Pack would have done over the years with Alex Smith at QB instead of Rodgers?

Bearmeat's picture

Impossible to say. They'd have quickly learned that Alex Smith was not a franchise QB and tried to set up their team the Viking way. (run game, defense). Now, this may very well have failed. We'll never know.

sonomaca's picture

I say they'd be a .500 team since 2009, with no SB and maybe 2 or 3 brief playoff appearances.

Now, I also believe Rodgers has been squandered a bit due to McCarthy's less than brilliant coaching at end of crucial games, and Thompson's ultra penny pinching ways in free agency.

Arthur Jackson's picture

I say they would have won at least 2 more SB's because they would have had more cap space to spend on other areas than a HOF QB. Penny-pinching is a stretch too. Thompson has had the Packer usually top 10 at least in salary cap and when minus the low dead cap actually has even more roster allocated to the active roster.

Bearmeat's picture

The scouting department and the defensive coaching staff are responsible for GB not getting another couple titles since 09. I don't see another way to spin it.

Only 1 championship would not reflect on Rodgers as much as it would the regime. Bob McGinn was right.

Oh, and hey - what are we all concerned about again this year? THE DEFENSE!!! Wow! How shocking! (rolls eyes)

There is a pretty clear divide among the fan base right now. I’m 36, I didn’t suffer through the 70s and 80s the way the older Packer fans did. I understand why those fans are happy with 10-win seasons, Division titles, and Playoff appearances.

Myself, I’m not sure I’ll be able to bear Rodgers winning only 1 Title the way #4 did. In that case, Holmgren's greed, Sherman's incompetency, and BF's own chokes in the playoffs cost the team titles.

Look I'm not saying it's not easy to win Super Bowls. But to have a player as exceptional as Rodgers… and to only get 1??…. Unacceptable in this fans eyes.

Nick Perry's picture

Excellent comment BM. I'm 57 and can only speak for myself but personally I'm in no way content or happy with 10 win seasons , Division titles, or Playoff appearances. I'd gladly trade in 2 or 3 playoff appearances for another SB Tile over the last 6 seasons.

Spud Rapids's picture

Here is my school of thinking... if you track back the past 20 super bowl champions I bet you can find every year a singular play that afforded the superbowl champion a win in the playoffs or superbowl. Joe Flacco's bomb against Denver for example... if that doesn't happen who knows who wins the superbowl. This isn't the NBA, NHL, or MLB... it's a single elimination playoff format and like the NCAA tournament the best team doesn't always advance. This format doesn't account for the fluke. Knowing that I'm happy with the Packers ability to get to the playoffs every year and almost always make the games competitive. Most teams can't say that much.

JohnnyLogan's picture

I've never bought into the one play argument. We've been vulnerable to that one play taking us out because our D could never quite contain the other team. Our offense for the most part, has almost always been great with Favre and Rodgers. You must have a top defense to insulate yourself from one play at the end of a game determining the outcome. We've had lousy defenses for most of the Favre/Rodgers era. Favre/Rodgers have more than done their part. We'll continue to be praying for a good D, and likely being disappointed, based on a sample size of many years, as long as the current triumvirate of TT/McCarthy/Capers is in power. At least two must go, with one absolutely being Capers.

Finwiz's picture

I could add my two cents, and repeat myself for the 10th time, but lacking the ambition, I'll just agree with Johnny Logan's post 100%.

lou's picture

To my knowledge the NFL does not provide "playoff participation trophies", as Herm Edwards said, "you play to win the game" every week. The one mistake here and there does not hold up, here are examples from the Seahawk Debacle, the fair catch fiasco, former punter Ryan getting a first down in punt formation, the two point conversion try completed that looked like a mortar shot, intercepting and taking a knee when the side line was wide open (either a field goal or TD for sure), just to name a few more than ONE MISTAKE. it is great that the Packers and Pat's have been to the playoffs 8 straight years but no one in the organization should be satisfied with a "participation trophy".

Finwiz's picture

The defensive concerns - AGAIN! How shocking, right?
What's the common denominator in all of this defensive calamity, and poor performance?
Dom Capers.
How does this guy get a pass, year after year?

Joeyzgoin's picture

I would suggest looking into the recent history of the NFL and the Packers injury report as the reasons for the Packers lack of Superbowl victories. Nothing to do with TT, MM, Capers, scouting, schemes, bitch n blah, etc.

There have only been 6 different teams to play in the AFC Championship game in the past ten years, the parity in the NFC has been much more competitive with twice as many teams appearing in the championship game the last ten years. The Packers lead the NFC with 4 appearances in those ten years. In 2011 the Pack went 15-1 and DIDN'T make the championship game. I find it hard to put that "lack of success?" on coaching\mgmt. A lot of injuries, a lot of bad luck and some bad timing for players to have bad games.

Teams in the NFC beat the SH## out of each other to reach the playoffs then beat the SH## out of each other in the playoffs. If the Packers and Patriots had switched divisions the past 20 years, AR TT MM and BF would be sporting all kinds of bling and T.Brady n Bill B would probably have about...hmmm... 1 ring.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

NE has appeared in the Conf Championship games 7 times in the last 10 yrs. The game has been played in NE 5 of those chances. NE is 4-1 at home and 0-2 away (that great Denver defense both times). By the way, NE went 1-1 against those great Baltimore defenses. In other words, NE is 1-3 against great defenses. NE beat SD, Indy, two teams without great defenses and Pittsburgh's 10th ranked defense last year.

GB is 0-1 at home, and 1-2 away in Conf Championship games. GB is only 3-2 in playoff games at home since AR became the starter. We lost in 2007 to a Giants team that got a lot of starters back in time for the playoffs and fielded a very good defensive team against us. We lost to Seattle and their great defense. We went 1-1 against mediocre defenses of Chicago and Atlanta.

Your premise that the NFC has better parity is possible. Given that the only elite QBs in the NFC were AR and Brees, whose FO is terrible, I might reasonably ask you WHY there is so much better parity in the NFC, assuming for the moment that there is? Also, I don't know, but maybe facing many of the same seasoned playoff teams in the championship game is harder than what we faced? Denver had a couple of nice drafts and then bought the final pieces via FA. Ditto for Seattle. We bought Woodson and Pickett and finally added some enough through the draft.

I'd say the common denominator between success and failure is defense. If you face a great defense, you tend to lose. At least the team stays close enough to take advantage of any bad bounces or mistakes. If you have a great defense, you tend to win. But you could say it is having home games. Parity is one possibility, slow starts is another though.

The TKstinator's picture

Good points!
Now I see why thegoodreynaldo is truly thegreatreynaldo.

Since '61's picture

Winning the Super Bowl is a team achievement. Over the last 25 - 30 years the media has made it seem like the QB is the only player responsible for his team winning the SB. No QB can win a even a game without good personnel around him never mind the league championship. IMO what differentiates one QB from another is how often they win the MVP award. Peyton Manning won 5 MVPs, Brady has won 2 and Rodgers has won 2. Manning is retired and Brady is 40 years old. Rodgers at 33 has the best chance of winning at least one more MVP and maybe 2 or more who knows. To win another SB or more Rodgers is going to need better play from the rest of his team, especially the defense. As for wasting Rodgers career, I don't see it. He will be a HOF QB with probably 3 MVP awards and hopefully at least 2 SBs and maybe more of each. In no way is that a wasted career. As for Brady, who knows where he and the Patriots would be without the "tuck" call. The Pats should have lost the last 2 SBs but their opponents helped them to win the game. On the other hand Rodgers has been hurt by his own team as opposed to being helped by his opponents. The debates will go on forever but the top 5 QBs that I have watched play regardless of SBs are:
1. Unitas - 3-2 in NFL titles (1-1 SB) and 3 MVPs
2. Montana - 4 -0 SBs and 2 MVPs
3. Dan Marino - 0-1 SB and 1 MVP
4. P. Manning - 2-2 SBs and 5 MVPs
5. A. Rodgers - 1-0 SB and 2 MVPs so far
6. Brady - 5-2 SBs and 2 MVPs

Thanks, Since '61

Finwiz's picture

Your entire post is diminished and negated because you omitted the hall of fame QB, Bart Starr from the list.

Any list of top championship QB's has to include Number 15, or it's not an accurate list.

Since '61's picture

Fin - I would include Starr in a list of my top 10 QBs but not top 5. Without Lombardi it's very likely that we never hear of Bart Starr. Just compare how he played prior to Lombardi's arrival with how he played after the 1960 season for the remainder of his career. Starr played brilliantly under Lombardi because Lombardi's OL was the best OL ever and because Lombardi's defense could get the ball back for the offense and because they (the defense) could make big plays to win games. If I extend my list to top 10 QBs my list would be:
1. Unitas
2. Montana
3. Marino
4. P. Manning
5. A. Rodgers
6. T. Brady
7. R. Staubach
8. J. Elway
9. T. Bradshaw
10. B. Starr
Favre would probably be # 11 or 12. Too many picks and bad decisions for Brett.
Starr won with his brains and he almost never made a mistake that hurt the team but he played on a team with 10 other HOF players and the greatest HC of all time. Remember Lombardi tried to trade Starr for Sonny Jorgensen and then for Dan Meredith. Philly completed their trade of Jorgy to Washington about 1 hour before Lombardi called them and Tom Landry turned Lombardi down flat. Also after Lombardi went to Washington he said that the Packers would not have lost a game if he had Jorgensen in Green Bay. Lombardi also coveted Unitas and Namath. Not a knock on Starr just that even Lombardi thought there were better QBs than Starr during the '60s. Thanks, Since '61

Finwiz's picture

You can say "shoulda, woulda, coulda" all day, the fact of the matter is, he played well, and WON - more championships than anyone. Never made mistakes. That counts for something. Same with Montana - great under pressure, and played with numerous hall of famers and a great coach. He wasn't physically gifted either, but he won championships. Aaron Rodgers has ONE championship - bottom line, and Marino has none. If Marino was so great, he would have won a championship, but he didn't. I place more significance on getting to the top of the mountain than you do.

Since '61's picture

I believe that getting to the top is a team accomplishment. A great QB like Rodgers or Marino can score 35 points per game but if the defense gives up 36 points or more does that take away from the QBs ability and results? Thanks, Since '61

snowdog's picture

Referring to comments by Since 61 . Great observations

1. Unitas - 3-2 in NFL titles (1-1 SB) and 3 MVPs
2. Montana - 4 -0 SBs and 2 MVPs
3. Dan Marino - 0-1 SB and 1 MVP
4. P. Manning - 2-2 SBs and 5 MVPs
5. A. Rodgers - 1-0 SB and 2 MVPs so far
6. Brady - 5-2 SBs and 2 MVPs

Thanks, Since '61

Obvious by it's absences ,who really was the MVP of Super Bowl 51 IMHO . James White . We all know it's determined by media and money .

James White got shafted

The TKstinator's picture

Finding a generational QB is hard.
Building a top defense is hard.
Doing both of those is really hard.
Consequently, winning a SB is hard.
And the fact that it is so hard to do is what makes it such an awesome achievement.

croatpackfan's picture

Packers fans are spoiled. Spoiled by 2 HOF QBs for 20 years in the row.
I'm with James Jones. I give nothing to SB rings. You have "Aaron Rodgers type of throw" people (announcer) often describing amazing throws from other QBs. Do you ever heard about "Peyton Manning type of throw", or "Tom Brady type of throw" or "Drew Brees type of throw" or "(put any name here) type of throw"? No? You ever heard about those types of throw? Why? Because Aaron Rodgers is one and unique, and - THE BEST QB ever played football - with all the respect to older ages QBs...
So, I think this type of discussion belongs to football empty season, not looking into the first pre season game...
Thank you!
EDIT: Is there any QB who threw 3 successful Hail Marys in the row?

Donster's picture

When you cannot stop another teams offense from scoring you will not get to, much less win the SB. Favre and Rodgers are the main reasons the Packers have achieved what they have. Rodgers especially the past couple of years. The defense has been the Packers Achilles heal the past four or five years. Whether is it Capers, lack of talent, poor scouting, to much attention by the GM and coach on the offensive side of the ball, whatever. Rodgers has carried the Packers on his back for to long. He has to. The defense can't stop anybody. Will it get fixed this season. I don't believe it will. Better? Possibly. Still to many holes to fill. Better may just be enough to win a Super Bowl. However, the NFC is the toughest conference of the two. And other than the Bears, Minnesota and Detroit will be even tougher this season. The Pack may not even win the division. And with the first six games of the season, this team could be 2-4. Looking at the rest of the schedule, the Pack may have to "run the table" again this year to make the playoffs. Especially with the defense this team has historically put on the field the past four years or so.

cheesehead1's picture

Defense, Defense, Defense.....time to step up.

JohnnyLogan's picture

Went to practice yesterday. Had a great time and talked with other fans in the stands. Almost to a man or woman, no one thought our CB's were very good. House out with a hammy, was a guy benched last year by Jacksonville. King hasn't done much so far and is a rookie. Randall looks tiny. Gunter slower than my wife. And that's what we hope is an improved CB group. My thinking is if Jones and Rollins are shining, try them at the corners. I know Jones is a safety but he looks fast and he's big and many great CB's have gotten there by switching positions like Shields and Adderley. Rollins looked great yesterday and was lined up at outside corner quite a bit. I think another who should be tried is Brice. He's fast enough and just needs experience. Glad Atlanta game is early, it will give us great indication if current DB's can cover, and if not, give us time to find others who can, either from inside the locker room or outside, although from where I have no idea. Those guys are hard to find.

Finwiz's picture

We just better pray the coaching staff see's what so many fans obviously see in their lack of CB talent. If they don't have an ace up their sleeve for the problems that seem so evident, something has to give in GB with this defense. I had my hopes in House and King, but now it appears these guys are not going to have an immediate impact. This leaves us with the same talent that led us to a 31st ranked defense last year. Another wasted year of Aaron Rodgers. What a shame.

sonomaca's picture

Over time, it's becoming more and more clear that #12 is the best ever at his position. I really don't think many would argue that at this point. TR and MM risk going down as epic failures for not having taken advantage of the football equivalent of Ted Williams and Ben Hogan.

Since '61's picture

JohnnyLogan - thanks for the update from the practice. Once I learned about House's hammy I became concerned about our CB group. We need to hope that King comes along quickly or we will be no better off than we were last season. I have been hoping for House and King to be our starters. Agree that Gunther is too slow and he will get blown off the field with all the film teams will have on him from last season. He should be chucked as I have been saying since last season. Maybe we can pick up a CB or two when cuts are made but we probably can't expect to do much better than what we have already. CB is a premium position and unless King can develop quickly we'll be without premium players at this position for yet another season. Thanks, Since '61

sonomaca's picture

I don't think the pass rush will be dramatically improved, so there will be pressure on the corners. It's going to take a very creative defensive scheme, one which maximizes the best safety/hybrid group in the NFL.

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