Aaron Rodgers Has Actually Performed Quite Well In His Championship Game Appearances

Aaron Rodgers may not have a high winning percentage in championship games, but that doesn't mean he isn't a good championship quarterback.

There's a funny thing that happens when a player is truly a transcendent talent.

People look for reasons to say they aren't that good. 

While I can't explain the complexities of human nature that lead people to do this, I can debunk some myths.

I'll start with oe of the biggest lies floating around football talk this decade: Aaron Rodgers isn't a good in championship games.

This myth is remarkably ludicrous as it suggests that 3-time MVP, Super Bowl MVP, sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer, generational talent, and walking highlight film Aaron Rodgers somehow just regresses to a terrible quarterback when the pressure of a big game arises.

The biggest piece of "evidence" to support this claim is that Rodgers has a 1-4 record in NFCCGs.

To believe this argument, you have to first accept two sill notions as fact:

  1. That the outcome of a game of football - the most complex team sport in the world, with over 100 players (none of whom even participate in 50% of the plays) and dozens of coaches - should all be put credited to a single player
  2. That a guy with an incredible 3.46:1 touchdown to interception ratio in the playoffs and a 100.5 passer rating in the playoffs, somehow falls off in the latter rounds of playoff games

Of course, this argument also overlooks the incredible achievement of actually make it to 5 conference championships. For reference, the Bears - the oldest franchise in the NFL - have been to a total of 5 conference championships in their entire history.

But let's set those ridiculous assumptions aside for now and dig a little deeper and ask: Well then why does Aaron Rodgers have a 1-4 record in NFCCGs?

Buckle up, because it could take a little time to unravel so much nonsense.

First, let's state that the the 2010 Bears, 2014 Seahawks, 2016 Falcons, 2019 49ers, and 2020 Buccaneers all had incredible defenses. This makes is harder on opposing quarterbacks. It probably also goes without saying the Packers defenses these years (and pretty much every year of Aaron Rodgers's career) probably were not as good as the opposition.

Even in that context, let's look at these games and see how Aaron Rodgers fared in these games.

2014 NFCCG: at Seattle

Let's get this out of the way first.

It's easy to look at Aaron Rodger's stat line of 178 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions and say he had a bad day, but, I repeat: we need context.

His first interception came when Michael Bennett clearly jumped offsides. The flag wasn't thrown, but Rodgers thought he had a free play and threw a 50-50 ball into the end zones where Richard Sherman (in his third consecutive season as a First Team All Pro) made an incredible play to pick off the ball. The other interception came when Randall Cobb broke his route off and Rodgers delivered it exactly where it was supposed to be.

Rodgers still led his team to a 16-0 lead in the first half and when special teams gaffes and defensive breakdowns put the Packers in a 3 point hole with 1:33 left, Aaron Rodgers - on a drive that featured a pass on every single play call - marched the team down the field on their 6th scoring drive of the game to tie it up with 14 seconds left.

After that clutch drive, Rodgers never touched the ball again as the defense allowed a touchdown on the 6th play of overtime.

Don't forget that Aaron Rodgers was playing on a torn calf, in the most hostile road environment in the league, in pouring rain! 

So Rodgers didn't have a great stat line, but how did a fully healthy Russell Wilson, playing at his familiar home environment with no crowd distraction, fare in the same elements? His regulation statistics were: 129 yards, 0 TDs, 4 Interceptions, and a fumble. And people say Rodgers didn't rise to the occasion.

2016 NFCCG: at Atlanta

This game is often remembered by Packers fans as the game LaDarius Gunter had to guard Julio Jones, but this as also the game where the offensive line got so beat up that nose tackle Letroy Guion had to play offensive line. The team was decimated by injuries in the playoffs, then had a flue outbreak the week of this game, where they faced a super fast Atlanta defense in very loud dome.

The game started with Atlanta marching down the field for an easy TD. Then, Rodgers got the ball in a hostile environment, already down 7. He started the game with 3 straight completions, picking up 48 yards and getting the team into field goal range... where Mason Crosby promptly missed. The Falcons marched down and promptly scored. When The Packers got the ball back, Rodgers was a perfect 5 for 5 for 49 yards and drove the Packers down to the goal line... where Aaron Ripkowksi promptly fumbled. The Falcons marched down and scored another easy TD.

In the 1st quarter, the Falcons more than ran 3 times as many plays as the Packers, keeping their fast defense fresh and wearing down the flu-ridden Packers. By the middle of the 2nd quarter, the Packers were down 17-0, despite Aaron Rodgers leading the team up and down the field with precision passing.

When teams get down 3 scores in a dome, they have a hard time coming back, even if their squad doesn't have the flu and doesn't have a practice squad corner guarding an All Pro receiver. The Packers lost this game by a fair margin, but it was through no fault of Aaron Rodgers, who kept the team moving and finished with over 300 combined passing and rushing yards while throwing 3 TDs.

2019 NFCCG: at  San Francisco

Here's another case where stats don't tell the story.

In the first drive, Rodgers's first pass went for a 1st down. He went 3 for 3 on the drive, but the receiver came down a bit short of the marker on 3rd down and they punted. The 49ers marched down the field and got a TD. On the next drive, Rodgers passed for another 1st down, then after a couple runs, he faced immediate pressure and was sacked. The 49ers got the ball back and scored again. The Packers next series was run, pass completion, and immediate strip sack from an aggressive 7 man rush. The 49ers called 6 straight running pays and had another touchdown. The Packers get the ball, Rodgers moves the chains through the air, they call some runs, then a bad snap leads to a turnover. The 49ers score again.

At this point, there are less than 2 minutes left in the half. The 49ers are leading 20-0. And what has Aaron Rodgers? He's perfect - he has yet to throw an incompletion!

He threw a couple TDs to get them back in it along with a couple interceptions as he was aggressively chucking it up to try to get them caught up while the defense was busy allowing 285 yards rushing.

People like to say he racked up garbage time stats since he had four times as many passing yards as the opposing quarterback and finished with a 97.2 rating, but when a team is in a 20-0 hole before the quarterback throws a single incompletion, it's hard for me to blame the QB for the loss.   

2020 NFCCG: vs Tampa Bay

This was the one time the Packers got to actually host an NFCCG. It was, predictably, cold in January, but that didn't slow Aaron Rodgers down. In the first two drives, he was a perfect 6 for 6, including 95 yards passing on their second drive, which ended with a TD pass.  Meanwhile, the Buccaneers started the game by converting 6 consecutive 3rd downs.

After the Bucs took a 14-7 lead, Rodgers led a field goal drive to cut the deficit. Once he got the ball back, he had the team moving for a go-ahead score before the half, but with 34 seconds left, he made his big mistake: he threw a good ball, rather than a perfect one, which allowed Bucs defensive back Sean Murphy-Bunting to yank Allen Lazard backwards and pick it off.

Following the turnover, with 8 seconds left, the Packers defense, for reasons I can't explain, put their slowest cornerback (who was also injured), on the Buccaneers's fastest wide receiver and gave him no help over the top. Predictably, the Bucs scored an easy TD before the half. When the Packers got the ball back to start the 2nd half, Rodgers completed a pass to Aaron Jones, who fumbled, giving Tampa the ball at the 8 yard line, where the defense surrendered another easy TD on one-play drive. Within two minutes of game time, the Packers defense allowed two TDs, sandwiched around a fumble after Aaron Rodgers completed a pass, digging a 28-10 hole.

Things looked bad, but Rodgers stormed back, leading drives that ended with TD passes on the next two possessions. The two drives after that were wrecked by sacks as a beat-up Packers offensive line, missing their All Pro left tackle, allowed nonstop pressure from a punishing Bucs front 7 that featured 5 All Pros and dominated the Super Bowl in their next game (holding the Kansas City Chiefs to 9 points).

Rodgers led a field goal drive late to cut the Bucs lead to 5, but the defense then allowed the Bucs to pick up 3 first downs and run out the clock.

In the end, Rodgers passed for 346 yards and 3 TDs. He had 1 interception, which came on a very questionable pass interference, but those are amazing stats to put up against that defense in the brutal cold. Given that the opposing QB folded in the cold and threw 3 consecutive interceptions down the stretch, it's clear to see which QB rose to the occasion. Which defense rose to the occasion, however, is a different story.

2010 NFCCG: at Chicago

This was easily Rodgers's worst performance... but let's look deeper into it than just numbers.

It was Chicago - the Windy City - in January. The kickoff wind chill was 8 and it only got colder as the sun went down. It was one of the coldest NFCCGs of all time. Not ideal throwing weather.

So how did Rodgers start the game throwing?

With completions of 22, 26, 6, and 22 yards. In the freezing cold and wind, he went 4 for 4 for 76 yards (and there weren't many yards after the catch, he was slinging it downfield) and ended the drive by running in a touchdown himself. How's that for rising to the occasion?

On the 2nd drive, the Packers started with some running plays, then Rodgers chucked the ball 50 yards in the air in freezing cold and howling wind. The ball hit Greg Jennings in both hands and fell through his frozen mitts for an incompletion. After the pass, Julius Peppers dove low and hit Rodgers in the knee on a play that would qualify as a penalty in today's game.

Rodgers came up hobbling and favored his leg, hopping on his pass attempts for the rest of the game. Unable to set his base to throw for the rest of the game, in the freezing cold and wind, against the top pass defense in the league, he struggled a bit. Later in the game, Julius Peppers, unblocked from the blind side, went high on Rodgers, rocking him with a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit which drew a 15 yard penalty.

Despite taking those shots, Rodgers kept the Packers in the lead for the entirety of the game. He didn't have a great stat line, but he led them to victory.

Oh, and that game led them to the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl, of course, is also a championship game, so let's look at that one, too!

2010 SUPER BOWL: vs Pittsburgh

So how did Rodgers - with his unearned and now debunked reputation for not rising to the occasion in championship games - fare in the ultimate championship game?

Oh, he had one of the all-time greatest performances in Super Bowl history with 304 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 interceptions for a 111.5 rating against the best defense in the league in a game the Packers never trailed en route to winning Super Bowl MVP and the first - and only - championship belt in NFL history!

 

Man, when I look deeper at Aaron Rodgers's championship performances, it is really hard for me to see any evidence of him being a guy who doesn't rise to the occasion. As one of the most competitive athletes alive, I think he takes his game to the next level in the playoffs - even if the team's record in championship games doesn't necessarily reflect it.

In each of the 5 years that Rodgers made an NFCCG, the case could be made that he was on a team with a far less talented roster. No one player can truly carry a team (football is too complex for that), but all signs point to  Aaron Rodgers being the primary reason why those teams had a chance to even dream of an NFCCG game, let alone qualify for one.

So sure, trumpeting Aaron Rodgers's 1-4 NFCCG record (which is actually the Packers record, not solely his) is great clickbait to generate attention for your ads in the offseason dead zone.

But, if you actually watch and understand football, pay attention to what happens, and use logic as the basis for your perspective, it becomes clear that Aaron Rodgers is actually a very good championship quarterback.

 

Bruce Irons has played, coached, and studied football for decades. Author of books such as A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Draft, A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Salary Cap, and A Fan's Guide To NFL Free Agency Hits And Misses, Bruce contributes to CheeseHeadTV and PackersForTheWin.com.

Follow Bruce Irons on Twitter at @BruceIronsNFL.

 

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Comments (67)

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Packers0808's picture

July 18, 2021 at 11:50 am

That 2020 game will follow Rodgers I would guess more than any other as he was not able to capitalize on 3 brady turnovers. No excuse here for Bun Boy except he simply wasn't good enough again in a big game! My take and others I have read more than once!

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Since'61's picture

July 18, 2021 at 01:27 pm

He capitalized on the 1st pick on Brady by driving the Packers 68 yards for a TD. That blows up the myth that the Packers offense did nothing with the 3 interceptions.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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Packers0808's picture

July 18, 2021 at 02:49 pm

1/3 success ummmm uhuh! That stat more blows your conclusion! 3 incompletes in a row on trying to force ball to basically one guy! That shows lack of confidence self and the other receivers!

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BruceIrons's picture

July 21, 2021 at 07:45 am

I'd say getting a touchdown every three drives is actually a pretty solid offensive outing.

When you consider the defense they were going up against, I'd say it's even pretty good.

The Bucs played four playoff games and no one scored as many points against them as the Packers did.

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jannes bjornson's picture

July 18, 2021 at 02:55 pm

Never let the Fans get in the way of the Facts. Opinions from minions.

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scott17's picture

July 18, 2021 at 04:20 pm

He also had two 3 and outs on two of those interceptions. To say he totally capitalized on the interceptions is a stretch.

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Since'61's picture

July 18, 2021 at 07:48 pm

I said that he capitalized on the first interception. I never posted that he totally capitalized on the interceptions. Work on reading comprehension then come back and post.
Until then, thanks for playing.

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scott17's picture

July 18, 2021 at 10:06 pm

Yes you are correct - he did capitalize on the first interception.

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BruceIrons's picture

July 21, 2021 at 07:41 am

It boggles my mind how many people don't realize that Rodgers led a touchdown drive immediately after Brady's first interception to cut their lead to one score.

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CheesyTex's picture

July 18, 2021 at 01:49 pm

He also threw 3 straight incompletions inside the Buc's 10 during crunch time, leaving his coach to make a tough decision on the spot; OK, we're 8 points behind and my QB has just thrown three straight misses; Are our chances to win better if we gamble on him completing one for a TD on 4th down AND making the two point conversion, or to kick the field goal, have the D hold, and then score?

We all know how that worked out, but IMO it destroys the myth that MLF lost it by making that decision.

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jannes bjornson's picture

July 18, 2021 at 02:57 pm

The T-Bucs pass rush wouldn't have anything to do with that or the fact their ILBs could run with the WRs and clog the inside hook zones ?

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Since'61's picture

July 18, 2021 at 03:18 pm

Cheesytex, Your final sentence would actually be effective if we won the game, which we didn’t.
The question is would the Packers have been better off going on 4th down rather than kicking the FG? Even if the Packers fail on 4th down the Bucs would then take over on their own 8 yard line rather than their own 25.

The Bucs probably would have run the ball on 1st and 2nd down just as they did from their own 25. The Packers would have stuffed those runs just as they did at the Bucs 25. So either way the Bucs have a 3rd and long. So the question is do they risk a third down pass so deep in their own territory or do they run it on 3rd down to force the Packers to use their final timeout. We’ll never know, but it is more likely the Bucs call a run on 3rd down from their own 10 yard line.

Assuming we make a stop and force a punt we should have the ball back with better field position than forcing a punt from the Bucs 25. However, what we do know is that Kevin King and the pass rush failed again. King failed twice in the first half and the pass rush was ineffective for the entire game. 3 easily surrendered 1st half TDs from beyond the 20 YL, losing the LOS on both sides of the ball, poor OL play, poor coaching decisions, poor pregame preparation and poor execution at critical points will lose games in the NFL. At the championship level it will virtually guarantee a defeat.

MLF did not lose the game because he called an FG at the end. He lost the game because he was out coached, his team was out prepared and outplayed and had less intensity and less sense of urgency than the Bucs. You can always blame a player or players for a loss because they are on the field but when there are so many breakdowns on both sides of the ball the coaches are usually the culprits. What happened against the Bucs never happened to a Lombardi coached team in a championship game. Thanks, Since ‘61

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CheesyTex's picture

July 18, 2021 at 08:39 pm

'61, I stand by my point -- too many "ifs" -- starting with if the Packers did go for it and score on 4th down, they still needed a 2 point conversion and to stop the Bucs from scoring in the time remaining or from winning in overtime.

I do, however, agree with most of your last paragraph. Hopefully MLF uses the rough experience to self-evaluate and grows in his ability to manage all aspects of the head coaching position.

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Since'61's picture

July 18, 2021 at 10:26 pm

Cheesy - I think your point is accurate. I was just pointing out that going on 4th down is an alternate scenario. There is no excuse for the last 3 offensive plays by the Packers. It was poor execution at the worst possible time.

Also your point about preventing the Bucs from winning in regulation or in OT is spot on. The Packers have not fared well in their OT playoff games. They also did not do well on 2 point conversions in 2020.

Here’s hoping for a better outcome in 2021. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 18, 2021 at 08:42 pm

This notion that AR is not good enough to win the playoff games has gained steam lately, probably in direct proportion to the venom he has incurred by indicating he wanted out of GB.

Even assuming that the notion is a dispassionate opinion rather than fueled by AR's increasing disapproval rating, it now appears that those holding said opinion are likely to get what they are apparently wishing for: no AR and some other QB playing in GB, if not in 2021, then in 2022.

I just want GB to win. I don't have to like any individual players and indeed don't assume that I would like any particular player should I meet them or get to know them.

12 up, 10 down votes. So be it.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

July 18, 2021 at 11:53 am

Except for the only one the Packers won. He got bailed out by Raji and Collins.

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Qoojo's picture

July 18, 2021 at 11:53 am

If only Rodgers was on the hands team instead of Bostick!

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 18, 2021 at 12:05 pm

We've heard the chants, rants about Rodgers being the GOAT even while Brady racks up the SB win. Nobody denies Rodgers is a great QB, but being great means you need to overcome the shortfalls of the team in the games that make Championships possible. The QB cannot accept the bestowments of being great every year only to play good in those defining games to play in the SB. Yes, the team has failed, the HC has failed, but the QB of such heralded grandiose needs to overcome such, and last year's NFCCG, Rodgers failed to see he needed to look away from Adams, and sheepishly allowed MLF to take the game out of his hands. Brady would have made a scene, even if Belichick did the same while in NE. Rodgers is a great QB until he needs to be great when the Championship is close at hand.

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porupack's picture

July 18, 2021 at 12:24 pm

This is utter nonsense:
"and sheepishly allowed MLF to take the game out of his hands. Brady would have made a scene, even if Belichick did the same while in NE."

I think you missed the whole premise of the article that it is an intensely team sport, and of all the criticisms of Rodgers before, when Rodgers audibled out of McCarthy's plays and ran his pass-heavy attack, now you criticize because he didn't go full mutiny? Hard to read your posts which lack sensibility. I agree with you on miss seeing open receivers; a valid critique that had him good, not great. But this other thing you mention discredits your take.

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 18, 2021 at 01:09 pm

Did Rodgers scream to not kick the FG? Or did he just walk to the bench, remove his helmet, make a face and sit down? His answer about it was, I get it, I didn't like it. That leaves the blame solely toward MLF for the decision that Rodgers didn't strongly advocate against. Baa Baa.
As Gene Hackman said in The Replacements, " WINNERS always want the ball".

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dekan51's picture

July 18, 2021 at 01:15 pm

with 6 snaps inside the 10 yard line (in the NFCCG vs TB) I find it hard to believe MLF didnt call a single running play. and after AR inexplicably didnt run the ball on 3rd down, when he had real estate in front of him and instead just thru the ball away, i understand why MLF went for 3....

As for missing open receivers, he missed a wide open Lazard for a TD in the end zone, he didnt throw to his guy, a wide open Adams on his one free play and thru into triple coverage to Daphne, and under threw an open MVS on the same play he hit him with a TD pass earlier in the game....

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splitpea1's picture

July 18, 2021 at 12:25 pm

Not to sidestep the debate, but I think most fans can agree that Rodgers has taken many teams with less than playoff-caliber defenses as far as they could have gone. He can't be blamed for poor run defense, special team miscues, or a suspect secondary. As important as the QB position is, one player does still not make a team....He did miss a couple of important opportunities against Tampa, though.

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ricky's picture

July 18, 2021 at 12:24 pm

Yes, Rodgers is all those things you said at the beginning. However, when he is in a tight game and a tight spot, he only has eyes for one player: Davante Adams. He doesn't trust anyone else when all the chips are in the middle of the table. So, he throws to Adams even if he's double covered, and there is a WR open nearby. Because it doesn't matter. He is throwing to Adams. Period. Until he can overcome that flaw, the Packers will continue to be the bridesmaid.

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wildbill's picture

July 18, 2021 at 03:31 pm

And if we know it, the other team knows it also

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dekan51's picture

July 18, 2021 at 06:34 pm

yes. in our OT loss to the Colts this season, we had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation. He once again looked for Adams, when he had a WIDE OPEN, no one within 15 yards of him, Tonyan in the right side of the end zone. Never looked that way, thus never saw him.

As for him not 'trusting' any other receiver, i wonder if its that or he has such a close relationship w/Adams, he is always conscience of giving Adams more TD's, etc.....

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BruceIrons's picture

July 21, 2021 at 07:48 am

During Rodgers's down years in 2017 and 2018, the complaint was that he held the ball too long.

Now, he's running the game plan, dropping back in rhythm and looking for his first read and we complain that he only goes to one guy.

Against a fierce pass rush, playing with backup offensive linemen, it's a lot harder to get through your progressions.

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Coldworld's picture

July 18, 2021 at 12:42 pm

As with most things in life, it’s a bit of both. Rodgers has both elevated us in playoff games but also contributed to losses in others. My sense is that it’s not his play but his mindset that’s possibly caused the latter to increase as time has passed.

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Hematite's picture

July 18, 2021 at 12:51 pm

The fact remains that Aaron Rodgers is1-4 in NFC Championship games, and that is no GOAT.

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Since'61's picture

July 18, 2021 at 01:54 pm

In the 4 NFCCG defeats the packers allowed an average of 35 points per game. The idea that Rodgers or any QB is supposed to overcome such poor defensive play on his own and bare sole responsibility for losses in those games is absurd, especially against the best defensive teams in the league for those particular seasons. With the exception of the Seattle NFCCG, which the author correctly points out Rodgers played on one leg, the other 3 losses were essentially over at halftime.

Rodgers has proven that he can get his team to the playoffs. He has also proven that he can't win championship games on his own without help from the defense. When the defense has kept the games close the packers won the NFCCG and the Super Bowl. Let's not forget the absolutely miserable play of the STs in the playoff losses either.

Put Rodgers on the Bucs, 49ers, Falcons or Seahawks in those NFCCGs and he easily becomes the winning QB against the Packers defense. In order to win with the Packers Rodgers needs to overcome the opponents excellent defensive unit plus the Packers poor defensive play and miserable Special Teams play.
I'm confident that's more than any one player should be expected to overcome. Blaming Rodgers is easy because of his salary, accepting the reality for why the games were lost is apparently not as easy to accept.

I'll close with the same line that I've been using since the 2014 NFCCG which I'm also confident is true; If the rest of the Packers roster played their positions as well as Rodgers has played QB even in the NFCCG losses the Packers would have won each of those games and very likely the SB following.
Thanks, Since '61

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13TimeChamps's picture

July 18, 2021 at 02:39 pm

"Put Rodgers on the Bucs, 49ers, Falcons or Seahawks in those NFCCGs and he easily becomes the winning QB against the Packers defense."

Great point.

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Coldworld's picture

July 18, 2021 at 05:20 pm

Sure, unless you subtract from their rosters to reflect what having him would mean. Sounds good till you think about it.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 18, 2021 at 10:16 pm

The difference is $8.5M AAV per year between Brady and AR. GB fans are going to wake up to the fact that even bad quarterbacks make a lot of money.

Russell Wilson: 9-7 playoff records, 95.2 passer rating, 25 TDs to 12 INTs. $35M AAV. Not worth the money? One ring.

Dak Prescott: 1-2 record. 95.7 rating. $40M. Can't even get his team to the playoffs. No rings.

DeShaun Watson: 1-2. 91.0 rating. $39M. Useless. No rings.

Jared Goff: 2-3. 79.9 rating. Useless. $33.5M AAV sound familiar?

Kirk Cousins: 4-3. 86.6 rating. $33M. No rings.

Matt Ryan. 4-6. 100.8 rating. $30M. No rings.

Mahomes: 6-2. 100.4 rating. $45M. 1 ring. 2 super bowl appearances.

It sounds like this argument boils down to some combination of the following notions: QBs are grossly overpaid, not as important to winning playoff games and rings in particular as their salaries suggest they should be, and that the only outliers to this are Brady, and perhaps Mahomes will be or already is.

Okay, fine. Maybe scheme and putting available money into other positions, particularly the trenches, will be successful. Packers history shows that playoff success including super bowl wins correlates to the presence of HOF QBs at the helm like Starr, Favre, and Rodgers, with lesser success with Dickey and Majkowski at the helm, but one can point to super winners with not-so-great QBs. Perhaps Love will be a legitimate franchise QB or better so we don't find out how that works in GB.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 18, 2021 at 10:21 pm

GB could draft a QB every four or five years so as to perpetually have a QB on a rookie deal, i.e., cheap. Trade the team's QB regardless of how good the player has been for whatever you can get as soon as it is time to pay them. That means trade every four years and exercise the fifth-year option so the team has rights to the QB to trade to some other team.

That system has not really been tried. Which GM will be the first to try that one out?

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Coldworld's picture

July 19, 2021 at 08:19 am

My point was more that most of those teams had rosters that would not have allowed for Rodgers’ hit over the last decade or so. Mediocre QBs aren’t cheap, but the difference in how cap is allocated allows teams to be better at other positions. The Bucs won for reasons other than Brady, his greatest benefit to them was mental acuity and a cool head, not physical QB prowess, in my opinion.

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porupack's picture

July 19, 2021 at 08:20 am

Excellent Response! You can't buy playoff wins. QBs are expensive and will continue to get more expensive, and at some point the law of supply and demand suggests as you say that these QBs price themselves off their teams.

Untouched is the subject of the rookie salary wage structure, as well as continuing wider gap in salary. At some point there is a breaking point.....as some underpaid Olineman will one day have had enough of his diva QB and let some mean SOB through to cream the diva.

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 18, 2021 at 02:41 pm

The Packer offense was shut out by SF, Atl in the first halves, and held to 10 by TB and after leading 16-0 over Sea then managed a mere two FG's in the fourth quarter and then losing in overtime. The blame cannot be placed on the defense for the 35 point average given up. The Offense, or lack of placed that burden on the Defense that we all knew was not what the blind-optimist believed or demand others to. The Offense was the heralded part and that's what failed.

As to if Rodgers was on any of those teams that GB lost to in the NFCCG's, that is total bs to use as a defense because you can't cry foul after ignoring the flaws that were obvious. The Packers and the fans got their just deserves for strutting their peacock feathers when both parties knew they were getting plucked.

"I'll close with the same line that I've been using since the 2014 NFCCG which I'm also confident is true; If the rest of the Packers roster played their positions, as well as Rodgers, has played QB even in the NFCCG losses the Packers would have won each of those games and very likely the SB following. Thanks, Since '61"

That may help to sleep easier at night, but it doesn't change what did happen and why it did, no matter how many 'ifs' are used as a sedative.

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scott17's picture

July 18, 2021 at 05:39 pm

Yeah, the offense did the defense no favors in the first half of those games.

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porupack's picture

July 18, 2021 at 06:10 pm

I thought your premise was the Rodgers should chuck the game plan and do what he thinks it takes to win the game, regardless of coach's plan. Hmm. So now his peacock feathers needed plucked? or too much strut? Gosh, I'll analyze games differently next year. Thanks for the new angle.

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jannes bjornson's picture

July 18, 2021 at 09:01 pm

You can't have three and Outs, on your home turf.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

July 18, 2021 at 02:02 pm

We should consider that when comparing Rodgers' performances, the level of competition is significantly better in the playoff games and in the championship games. we are allegedly playing against the best team in our conference and if we are in the Superbowl it would be the best team in the other conference. It's seldom that the Packers are playing against a below average offense or defense in those games. I tend to forget that in the heat of the moment during those championship games and expect perfection from Rodgers and the other Packer players on every down.

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wildbill's picture

July 18, 2021 at 03:37 pm

The big question I have is, what if we had won the Tampa game? No way we hold KC to less than 10 points. Pure speculation but would we have won a shoot out against KC? Would have been a much better SB to watch.

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SanLobo's picture

July 18, 2021 at 04:06 pm

KC’s O-line was devastated by injury. We would have beaten them.

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scott17's picture

July 18, 2021 at 04:34 pm

I think had a great chance to win against KC. That's why that lose to TB was so frustrating.

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BruceIrons's picture

July 21, 2021 at 07:50 am

I don't think it would have been a shootout.

Kansas City's offensive line was ravaged by injuries. I don't know if the Packers would have held them to 9 points, but I think they would have had a lot of success limiting the KC offense.

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SanLobo's picture

July 18, 2021 at 04:42 pm

Football is the ultimate team sport. And by team, that includes players, coaches, staff and management. An elite player like Rodgers can cover for many flaws, and if a QB, can carry a team to the playoffs. The playoffs is where team failures manifest; coaching decisions, player conditioning, draft decisions, trades, equipment, leadership, scheme, etc…, all factor into the equation. Other than in 2010, our team has been found lacking by our opponents. 2020, we were close…very close. Fixing blame for the loss on a single player is just too easy and excuses us from doing the hard work of looking at every aspect of the team for improvement. 2021 looks better to me (with Rodgers) and barring injuries, should have closer.

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Since'61's picture

July 18, 2021 at 04:21 pm

Good post San Lobo and I agree. I’ve been posting similar thoughts for a long time. Rodger’s isn’t perfect but I would not want any other QB playing for the Packers since he took over as the starter in 2008. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Coldworld's picture

July 19, 2021 at 08:26 am

Rodgers is still our best QB. At some point he won’t be physically, but perhaps his mindset and attitude could be a problem first? Tampa didn’t win because of Brady being an elite QB. Perhaps there’s more in that thought than is being gleaned?

Teams don’t win or lose consistently because of a QB alone. The question is does that QB tip the odds beyond his current ability. I have to say Brady does. Does Rodgers? That’s less obvious.

Of course Brady seems to have the luck of the Devil, as the injuries to the their opponent in the Super Bowl changed that game in my view and perhaps Bakh’s got them there: injuries that helped their greatest strength directly.

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scott17's picture

July 18, 2021 at 04:17 pm

The defense was awful in some of those games and definitely played a big role in the loses. But to say Rodgers played great in those games is reaching as well. Good - ok, I can buy that. Great? Nope.

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jont's picture

July 18, 2021 at 05:15 pm

It is a universal truth of football: the QB gets too much credit when the team wins and too much blame when the team loses.

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Philarod's picture

July 18, 2021 at 05:25 pm

It won't matter to the sour-grapes fans, let alone those who resent Rodgers right now, but
the simple truth is this:

Rodgers, year after year, has made a team with at best 8-8 talent (some years, more like 6-10) a SB contender.
He is, actually, a better playoff QB than Brady. Yes, I know when it's one SB to 7, this is hard to see, but he has been objectively, via stats, significantly better than Brady in the playoffs. And with, arguably, much worse coaching and lesser talent. The stats are there for all to see, and without even mentioning how putrid GB's defense has been, the defenses they've faced - and conditions - and how he's gone into the playoffs many years without even a competent second receiver or TE.

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scullyitsme's picture

July 18, 2021 at 06:50 pm

Well said, I would’ve posted the exact same thing. Haters gonna hate..the fact that this article was written well and people are still ya butting…tells you all you need to know

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 18, 2021 at 10:51 pm

Great point! I didn't think of that to put into one of my comments above.

Tom Brady: 90.4 career playoff record. Four years during which his passer rating was over 100 for the playoffs, and he won two supers and lost two.

77.2 rating in playoffs in 2001. Won SB.
84.5 rating in playoffs in 2002. Won SB.
109.4 rating in playoffs in 2004. Won SB.
100.3 rating in playoffs in 2014. Won SB.
97.7 rating in playoffs in 2017. Won SB.
85.8 rating in playoffs in 2018. Won SB.
98.1 rating in playoffs in 2020. Won SB.

So Brady had some ups and downs even in the years he won SBs. I am not sufficiently motivated to research each of the SB winning years to see if he had an awful to mediocre game at some point but the team managed to win.

NE has reached the playoffs in 18 years of Brady's career. In 10 of those seasons, Brady had less than an 89 passer rating in the playoffs but Brady won two SBs in those 10 seasons.

Someone above suggested that AR was bailed out by Collins and Raji in the SB win. AR had a 111.5 passer rating, threw 3 TDs, 0 INTs, had a great 9.23 AY/a but some would deny him credit for contributing a lot to that win. Tough crowd.

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jhtobias's picture

July 18, 2021 at 06:08 pm

This whole Rodgers parade reminds me of myself when I got divorced.. We actually waited 6 months longer than we should have because we did not want to hurt are kids while they were in school one in the 6th and the other in the 8th grade during their school yr.

The point being both of us were checked out even though we were technically together still. We didn't really put any effort into being highly productive as a cohesive unit. Did the minimum to make it work .

What I'm trying to is that Packer fans are absolutely fooling themselves if they think Rodgers is going to be MVP Rodgers this yr if he is forced back into playing with Green bay. If Rodgers truly wants out then it is best to move on now rather than later. Don't know if this is what he want's since he and his agent won't talk but if he truly wants out and is being forced back into playing in Green Bay than nothing good is coming out of this scenario.

Hope him and his agent go public with their intentions

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WestWi_Packfan's picture

July 18, 2021 at 06:28 pm

Rodgers is worth at least two First round picks and probably more. Any trade at this point would be for picks that the Packers are not sure where they would fall. If the trade was made at the end of the year then they could make it with a team in the top 10 which is where it should be value wise. Trading at this point for players is probably a little late in the game for most teams so I dont see a trade this year and I think Rodgers and the Packers are stuck with each other for one more year. Although Aaron may still have issues with Packer management I dont see him not giving it his best or tanking the season because the Packers have a legitimate shot at the SB again and I'm sure Rodgers wants to cement his legacy as one of the best and I dont see him letting down his team mates either. If he does slack off he only hurts himself and I just dont see that happening.

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WestWi_Packfan's picture

July 18, 2021 at 06:13 pm

There is no doubt that the Bucs last year had a great defense that played a huge role in them going all the way. Although Rodgers played a decent game if you want to be known as the best then you have to make the plays when the opportunity is there and when it counts. Tom Brady may not be the most productive QB in football but no one can argue he doesn't make plays when it counts and when given the opportunity. Against the Bucs the Packer offense had the ball late in the game and down by 8, inside the 10 with less then 3 min. to go. The offense led by Rodgers had 3 downs to score a TD and then hopefully add a 2 pointer to tie and they couldnt get it done. You could argue that the head coach should have gone for it on 4th down and with AR as your QB he probably should have. But they still had 3 tries inside the 10 and couldnt do it. Sure AR played a decent game but he also had a chance when it counted the most to tie it up and came up empty. Has he played well in the playoffs overall ? I think you could say yes, but has he played great and deserving to be called the best ? I think we have to be honest here and admit not. They still have a great opportunity this year if things go right and they stay healthy so lets give it another season at least to give A-Rod a final grade on playoff performances.

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WestWi_Packfan's picture

July 18, 2021 at 06:15 pm

deleted

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 18, 2021 at 11:09 pm

AR's passer rating against TB in the playoff game to which you allude was 101.6. He was sacked 5 times. I guess he could have been better, but he clearly outplayed Brady even though Brady faced a decent defense and AR faced a great one. Brady also got the benefit of playing the entire second half with a big lead.

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stockholder's picture

July 18, 2021 at 09:22 pm

I loved the Article! I don't find fault with anything Rodgers does now. It's nice to see something positive! The whispers I keep hearing, say he'll report. He'll earn his keep.

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Bearmeat's picture

July 19, 2021 at 06:37 am

‘In each of the 5 years that Rodgers made an NFCCG, the case could be made that he was on a team with a far less talented roster.’

No. Just no. Stop. We might have had a far less talented roster in 2016 and 2019 but that’s it. We were better than the Bears in 2010 we were better than the Seahawks in 2014 and we were better than the Buccaneers last year. In all three of those games Aaron Rodgers gave up plenty of passing upside and didn’t convert where he needed to. He’s not perfect he’s a great quarterback but he’s not perfect and those games especially the one last year he is just as responsible as anyone else for the loss and perhaps more since he’s the face of the franchise. I’m done apologizing for him

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barutanseijin's picture

July 19, 2021 at 07:55 am

I don’t buy it.

If he’s the best, he needs to be the best, not throw 178yds and fail to get in to the end zone multiple times. The 2014 defense got him multiple INTs which should have been enough to win.

PS he sucked in the 2010 NFCCG, too.

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nostradanus's picture

July 19, 2021 at 08:17 am

Great players elevate teams and teammates to a higher plain.
It is not about individual statistics many times.
Rodgers hasn’t elevated the team around him because he’s a Dick.
His teammates respect his talent but unless you are in his circle of friends, many may dislike him personally.
During the Super Bowl run, guys like Charles Woodson and Donald Driver were the outspoken leaders on that team, not Rodgers.
It’s no wonder he is 1 & 4 in Championship games.

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BruceIrons's picture

July 21, 2021 at 07:53 am

You don't think Rodgers elevates his teammates?

You think MVS, Lazard, and Tonyan would be as productive as they are on any other team?

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

July 19, 2021 at 11:54 am

This article reads like a fanboy post full of excuses. Rodgers has made some great plays in his career, but he has also had some stinkers. No reason to sugar coat it. He’s not entirely at blame for the NFCC losses, but he certainly contributed his share of errors.

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scott17's picture

July 19, 2021 at 04:58 pm

Exactly. I certainly don't think he's been awful in those games. But that article refused to put anything on Rodgers at all. Every bad thing that happened was someone else's fault (ex. interceptions, fumbles.) In one sentence he praises his stats; in the next sentence he said the bad stats in the Bears game needs context.

I agree Rodgers maybe has endured too much blame for these games. But to basically excuse him of all blame is a stretch.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 19, 2021 at 09:34 pm

Fair enough. However, some folks think GB can't win a Super Bowl with AR so the team should move on from him. That's another step, and it is one that is too far for me to take.

AR had a 101.6 passer rating against TB. That's a fact. He played very well. 101.6 sounds like an A to me. But some folks think anything less than an A+ means GB should move on.

So, hey Adams, at $27M AAV you better be getting open every damn time, double coverage or not. Since that payday is based on his performance in 2020, why wasn't he wide open all the time in the Conf. Championship Game? He's not worth it, so GB should move on?

The Packers are built on AR being very damn good every game. They rely on that level of performance from him. Anything less than that and the Packers are in trouble. In the conf. Championship game, he was just very darn good, not very damn good, so he gets the blame. People expect less from Davante if he is double covered but they don't expect less from AR if he is sacked 5 times and hurried more times because that is AR's fault as well. [Yeah, it might be his fault a little for holding the ball, but if Davante was getting open every time and right away, holding the ball too long wouldn't happen since AR is sooo focused on Adams and loves to chuck the ball to Adams anyway.]

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barutanseijin's picture

July 20, 2021 at 03:23 pm

It reads like a fanboy post because that’s what it is.

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BruceIrons's picture

July 21, 2021 at 07:57 am

I think calling it excuses is intentionally ignoring context.

When a guy is playing in the most hostile environment in the league against a generational defense with a torn calf in the rain... I think the bar gets set a little different.

When a guy is playing in freezing winds and obviously sustains a leg injury that makes it impossible for him to plant, I think it explains the less impressive stats.

I think looking deeper than wins and losses is how we can better understand and evaluate players and the game. I don't think any pro scouts evaluate quarterbacks by wins and losses and I'm not sure why fans choose to.

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