Aaron Rodgers May Become the Best Quarterback Ever

Fans of the Green Bay Packers are spoiled by the play from their quarterback position.  Who would have guessed after a nasty Favre-Packers divorce in 2008 that Packers fans might be treated to perhaps an even greater performance out of the quarterback position?

Fans of the Green Bay Packers are spoiled by the play from their quarterback position.

From 1992 until he was traded to the New York Jets in 2008 Brett Favre never missed a game.  For his career the future Hall of Famer amassed 71,838 total passing yards (still an all-time NFL record), 508 touchdowns, a 62 completion percentage, and an overall passer rating of 86.0. He owns or shares 160 passing records and won three league MVP Awards.  He also led the Packers to victory in Super Bowl XXXI.  Not too shabby.

Who would have guessed that after a nasty Favre-Packers divorce in 2008 that Packers fans might be treated to perhaps an even greater performance out of the quarterback position?

Consider the following Aaron Rodgers accomplishments.  (The comparisons are based on all NFL quarterbacks with at least 1500 passing attempts.)

  • Highest QB rating in league history of 106.4.  Second on the list is Tony Romo at 97.6 and Payton Manning is third as 97.3
  • Highest TD to Interception ratio in league history at 4.05.  A distant second is Tom Brady at 2.79 and coming in third is Payton Manning at 2.26.
  • The only player to record a TD/Interception ratio of more than four – no other QB even has three.
  • Owns the record for yards per attempt in the Super Bowl area at 8.2.  Steve Young is second at 8.0.
  • The number three rated quarterback in the playoffs with a 101.0 rating.  He trails only Kurt Warner at number-two with a 102.8 rating and the leader former Packers QB Bart Starr at 104.8.
  • 4-time pro-bowler, 2-time All Pro.
  • Won one Super Bowl (XLV), Super Bowl XLV MVP
  • Won two league MVP Awards.
  • 2015 season possessor of the number two QB rating of 128.4, is completing passes at 76.8% clip, and has the third best TD/INT ratio of 5 to 0.

A ten year veteran, Rodgers played sparingly his first three years in the league.  At the relatively young age of 31 he is a good bet to continue prime-time performances for at least another 6 - 8 years.  Rodgers himself has indicated that he would like to play until he's 40 and perhaps beyond. 

NFL analyst Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report compiled and published the following chart  prior the current NFL season and compared the following quarterbacks who either played until at least the age of 36 or are currently at least 36, retired within the last 20 years or are still active and (have) passed for at least 35,000 yards.

Modern-Day Quarterback Shelf Lives

Quarterback

First full season

Total seasons

Start of decline

Final full season

P. Manning

22

16*

16

TBD

T. Brady

24

13*

TBD

TBD

D. Brees

23

13*

13

TBD

B. Favre

23

19

19

41

D. Marino

22

17

16

38

J. Elway

23

16

17

38

W. Moon

28

15

15

42

J. Kelly

26

11

11

36

B. Esiason

24

13

10

36

D. Krieg

26

14

13

38

A. Rodgers

25

TBD

TBD

TBD

Pro Football Reference

Gagnon went on to say:

  • The average age for a first relatively full season is 24, whereas Rodgers was 25.
  • The average quarterback played about 15 full seasons, but that's if Manning, Brady and Brees were to retire today. Those guys each appear to have a couple of years left. If that happens, the number moves closer to 16. 
  • They also haven't typically reached even semi-obvious points of decline until around Season 14, and that's if we guess that Manning and Brees began to decline even slightly in 2014 (the numbers indicate that may have happened).  
  • Finally, they've typically been able to start until around the age of 38.4. But Manning is now 39, Brady is almost 38 and Brees is 36. 

With all of that in mind, it's probably safe to assume that—barring something catastrophic—Rodgers will continue to be on top of his game (until his 40th birthday).

The true mark of success by an NFL quarterback are Super Bowl wins and MVP’s.  To be in the discussion for best ever Rodgers would surely have to win at least two more Super Bowls.

He only needs one more MVP Award to join the three-MVP club, which currently contains only four men—Manning, Favre, Jim Brown and Johnny Unitas.  Manning is the only five time MVP.  Rodgers would need a minimum of one more, and perhaps two, before considered greatest ever.

Even if Rodgers doesn’t succeed in breaking yardage, touchdowns and scoring marks, Packers fans still have the opportunity to watch one of the best quarterbacks ever.  That after having Favre entertain us for 16 seasons.

Yes Packers fans, we are spoiled. So what, we deserve it.

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Comments (72)

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porupack's picture

September 25, 2015 at 06:48 am

Great list of accomplishments. Some are amazing relative to next QB. Your article is a good response to some fans on this site who believe that TT should be more aggressive in drafting for the narrow (and soon closing) window of opportunity. I think one could conclude from your article that TT has to draft for the long haul. Second implications seem to be a premium in the OLine stock, as you say, barring any catastrophe has something to do with GM prioritization. Thirdly, one wonders whether it really matters who TT drafts at WR. Maybe Rodgers makes any journeymen into a fantasy pick.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 25, 2015 at 08:15 am

"good response to some fans on this site who believe that TT should be more aggressive in drafting for the narrow (and soon closing) window of opportunity."

This presupposes that TT doesn't draft for need, which, imo, he does, but perhaps to a lesser extent than many GMs. It only makes sense to provide a good pass blocking O-line, but the evidence for TT's concern with the offensive line is problematic. As it happens, we currently have a very good line, but that is because TT hit on his picks. 3 fourth rounders, (4 with Tretter), a fifth rounder, one first round, with the back-ups being UDFAs and a 6th rounder, does not provide a lot of ammunition for the notion that it is a high priority for TT or that he is willing to spend a lot of draft capital on the O-Line. Marshall Newhouse alone argues otherwise.

TT certainly spends plenty of draft capital on WRs. That argues that he doesn't like the idea of making Rodgers deal with journeymen at WR.

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MarkinMadison's picture

September 25, 2015 at 11:59 am

"good response to some fans on this site who believe that TT should be more aggressive in drafting for the narrow (and soon closing) window of opportunity"

I'm more interested in being a little more aggressive in FA than changing the approach to the draft. Regardless, the window isn't just about #12. This is a team sport. Right now, you've got an offense capable of going all the way. Two years from now you will have question marks and free agency decisions all over the offensive line and at running back as well. Bakh is signed through 2016, and LTs command a ton of money. Bulaga is signed but is getting older and has had numerous problems staying healthy. Ideally he should be gone after '16. Lang is signed through '16 and will be 30. Sitton is signed through '16 and will be 31. History tells us what TT thinks about guards at that stage of their careers. Linsley is signed through '17, so when deciding who to pay after the 16 season he will have to be considered. Maybe #12 can make any WR look good, but he can't block for himself.

And we haven't even looked at any other position group after 2016 (like OLB, where CM3 will likely have lost a step by then and Peppers will likely retire). This team will be in for a major amount of reshuffling after next season. #12's window may be wide open, but the team's window looks like it may close for a couple of years to me. And it could be that when the talent is restocked and ready #12 is the same age as Drew Brees is now. Yeah he COULD still be at the top of his game, but there is no guarantee that he WILL be at the top of his game. Especially if he spends a few years getting the crap sacked out of him again while the O-line resettles.

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porupack's picture

September 26, 2015 at 12:44 am

"I'm more interested in being a little more aggressive in FA than changing the approach to the draft. Regardless, the window isn't just about #12."

Thanks for added thoughts. I suppose 80% of GBP fans would like a more aggressive approach to Free Agency. What that would look like is probably adding 1 more free agent average per year. Maybe 1.5. I think GBP fans are smart and not interested in high price divas either, just solid 'value-players' when there arises question marks in certain position groups, and where the draft just doesn't yield the right player to address need. Anyway, I guess the initial article is about ARodgers ascending to GOAT, so we can save this for next offseason.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 26, 2015 at 10:00 am

It is easy to get carried away with the "window is closing" argument, and looking too far ahead. GB has only 2 players signed thru 2019; 12 thru 2018 with 7 of those still on rookie contracts; 23 signed through 2017 with 16 still on their rookie deals; and 38 players signed through 2016 with 27 still on rookie deals. I note that GB has 5 to 9 core players locked up long term for each year. This distribution seems to be actually fairly normal for NFL teams.

My point is that the GM has to re-stock the roster every year, especially for the average type players. I am not going to lose any sleep over the possibility of losing Boyd/Neal/Perry. The window is closing argument needs to focus on elite and red chip type players who aren't signed or may decline over the next 2 or at most 3 years. * are hard to replace:

*Peppers: likely to retire or decline. GB has '15, maybe '16. Elliott?
*CM3: No decline so far. 3 more years easy. Has no dead money in '18.
*Daniels: Contract issue. IDK if TT will retain him, but he'll try.
Raji: See Daniels. Pennel, anyone?
Perry/Neal/Jones: Greens. All young. Re-sign if TT wants them.
Hayward: Randall, Rollins, Gunter have CB covered? Hayward is young.

*Sitton/Lang: Both signed thru "16. Decision time due to age. Walker?
*Linsley: Signed through '17.
*Bakhtiari: Signed thru '16. Draft some OTs fast or pay the man.
*Lacy: Signed thru '16. Be wary of guaranteed $ dueto injury/concussion.

I see a 2 year window with Peppers and Daniels being the only concerns during that time. I like Elliott but Elliott is only signed thru '16 and he isn't Peppers yet. Don't see anyone who can replace Daniels.

3 year window adds Sitton, Lang, Bakh and Lacy. I like Walker, but I don't see any replacements for these 4. TT has 2 draft classes to try to find replacements. Even average LTs are hard to find. Linsley is hard to replace but he's signed for 3 more years, an eternity in the NFL.

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Travis_Jervey's picture

September 25, 2015 at 06:55 am

Great stuff. The guess here is that he never catches Manning for MVPs or Brady for Super Bowls. There will also be those that argue QBs can't be compared across eras. That will leave the legacy debate to be settled on bar stools.

But on a snap to snap basis, I can already tell you I've never watched a QB master the position like he has.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 25, 2015 at 11:47 am

Well said. AR is the master without question.

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WKUPackFan's picture

September 25, 2015 at 01:18 pm

Wish I could give you two thumbs up for your user name!

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Travis_Jervey's picture

September 26, 2015 at 10:17 am

Paying my respects to Fitness Magazine's "1998 NFL Best Physique" award winner. The same year Grave Digger received "Worst" honors.

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vj_ostrowski's picture

September 25, 2015 at 07:30 am

Bill Johnson was having this discussion on G&GT the other morning and something about it was driving me nuts. He was talking about comparing QBs across eras and how much easier QBs have it today.

While he's right that the rules favor the QB and the offense today, he didn't mention the fact that defensive players are bigger, faster, and stronger than ever.

Aside from that: Does anyone really think Rodgers wouldn't excel in ANY era? His skill set and mind are incredibly special.

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Since'61's picture

September 25, 2015 at 07:59 am

VJ - all I can say is that if you put Rodgers on Lombardi's Packers or gave him a defense as good as Lombardi's defense in today's game, I don't think he would ever lose a game. If he had a defense that could get the ball back to him consistently with stops and/or turnovers his numbers would be unheard of. Like all the all-time greats Rodgers would succeed in any era. Thanks, Since '61

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vj_ostrowski's picture

September 25, 2015 at 09:44 am

I agree. The cream of the crop in any era, would probably be good in any other era.

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toolkien's picture

September 25, 2015 at 11:03 am

Don't know if linking to sites causes robo- or intern deletion, but here goes -

http://pfref.com/tiny/IRl2z

Profootballreference has already "common sized" QB's by indexing their seasons (and careers if one uses all years, this query uses age 25-31, years Rodgers has been a starter). Their "Advanced" stats are this indexing wherein a QB is given a value based on how they compare to the peer group of all QB's - consisting of the year prior, the year of, and the year after. For example, if a QB had a QB rating of 90 for 2013, and the average QB rating of all QB's for 2012-2014 was 80, then that QB's Advanced Rating would be 113 (90/80*100). That would make the QB 13% above average.

So, for example the stat AY/A+ (adjusted yards per attempt) - which is effectively a combination of the factors that make up a QB rating WITH risk inherent in pass distance, Rodgers is 27% better than his peer group as compared to Dan Fouts who was 20% better, or Sammy Baugh who was 18% better. He's tied for first all time with Otto Graham, for the age range defined - which pretty much the tenderloin of a player's typical career. Favre is 31st at 12% better than average for the time frame.

The upshot is, the nativeness of an era is contained within the numerator and denominator, and the function of proportion cancels it out. There's nine advanced stats to review. A simple review of the descending list shows that pretty much every era is represented with the top 20-25. It's the best tool, while imperfect, I have found. It's at least objective, and then people can inject whatever subjectivity they want off of what is most important of the nine "advanced stats" and of course championship rings.

Suffice it to say, if Rodgers and play 5-6 more years at this level, he will be in the running for arguably the best all time. But it should be understood Rodgers is only half way along the path.

If that weren't enough, profootballreference has also gone to the trouble of giving every player an "Approximate Value" (AV) for each season for what the contributed to a team's success. As a side note, it's an interesting stat to explore as it reveals hidden values in offensive linemen and defensemen - those who typically escape fan notice as they concentrate on skill players. There' only four players (not just QB's) with a total AV per game greater than 1 -

Aaron Rodgers 1.0536
Peyton Manning 1.0426
Jim Brown 1.0339
Steve Young 1.0118

Others that follow:

Lawrence Taylor 0.989
Barry Sanders 0.980
Roger Staubach 0.977
Tom Brady 0.976
Reggie White 0.974
Ray Lewis 0.969
Fran Tarkenton 0.959

Brett Favre is 37th with 0.844 AV per game. There are 15 QB's ahead of him in AV per game.

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vj_ostrowski's picture

September 25, 2015 at 03:58 pm

Wow! Thank you for this.

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porupack's picture

September 26, 2015 at 12:49 am

"It's the best tool, while imperfect, I have found. It's at least objective, and then people can inject whatever subjectivity they want off of what is most important of the nine "advanced stats""

This is excellent, Toolkien. I think you'll have to bring this up again, because many posters didn't grasp that the math you cite attempts to equalize across eras. Thanks for sharing, and maybe CHTV can use in future article just after Rodgers wins another MVP.

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PaulRosik's picture

September 25, 2015 at 10:34 pm

Its the offenses that have changed. No one in the past was consistently running shotgun, spread offenses, throwing screen passes, and pick plays and wide receiver screens and all the high completion rating passes of today. In those days, it was 7 step drop, let the receivers run 20 yards or more downfield and try to beat the coverage every time. So those QB's had completion rates and interception rates that would make any team shudder today. So QB's do have it quite easy today in terms of yards and scoring compared to their counterparts. But successful QB's are basically only judged for wins and losses anyway - and that has never changed.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 25, 2015 at 07:52 am

Yes, good article and good point about spoiled fans. To be honest, as I started to watch football 8-9 years ago, can you imagine how spoiled I'm. I learn a lot about history of football, but I'm watching football in era of Favre, Brady, Manning, Romo, Brees, Ryan, Roethlisberger, Rivers and, of course, Aaron Rodgers... This is the league of high level QB as it was never in the past. And I must say I enjoy a lot. And I did not choose Packers because of Aaron. I chose them for another reasons. But, I'm happy that my heart made that choice and that I can trully enjoy in the plays of QB who is one of the greatest ever... Thanks...

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Since'61's picture

September 25, 2015 at 07:54 am

Where Rodgers ultimately ends up in the QB pecking order no one can say at this point. Although I am confident it is going to be very high. What I can say is that I have not seen any QB play like Rodgers plays the position and I've seen them all going back to Johnny U. Beginning with the SB run in 2010, Rodgers has taken play at the QB position to another level. He makes it look easy. These past 5 seasons have been like watching Gale Sayers run the ball for the 5 seasons before he was injured or Sandy Koufax pitch from 62 - 66, when he was virtually unhittable. Prior to Rodgers, QBs were usually defined as pocket QBs or running QBs. Rodgers adds a new dimension in that not only is he a great pocket passer and an excellent runner (for a QB) he is an absolutely deadly passer when he is on the run. Unless he is trapped in the pocket which is rare he is undefendable. Plenty of QBs have mastered their offensive schemes and game plans, Starr, Montana, Peyton Manning, to name a few, but none have ever executed like Aaron Rodgers. Like Rodgers, Dan Marino could make any throw from anywhere on the field in the pocket, but Dan could not move and throw anywhere close to Rodgers. Joe Montana could throw on the run but not nearly as accurately as Rodgers. We are watching a player who is changing the position. It may be that the QB position will come to be defined by Aaron Rodgers as it has previously been defined by Johnny U and Joe Montana. There is no question that Rodgers has taken it to a higher level. The only remaining questions are can he take his play even higher and how does it all end? Enjoy Packers fans, because we are very possibly watching a once in a lifetime player/career. Go Aaron Go! Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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jh9's picture

September 25, 2015 at 09:27 am

Since '61 - Great perspective and summation. And now for Aaron Rodgers to take his legacy to a new level (and Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy) it's all about how many Lombardi Trophies can the Packers win before his playing days come to an end. Looking at the way this team is built and with all the key players now in their prime and barring any major injury that might happen, I believe these next two years are crucial. There's no question that this team has enough talent to win back to back Lombardi Trophies. The only question is can we be lucky enough to avoid a major injury to Rodgers. I only hope what Aaron Rodgers said this week is true, "God is a Packers fan..." for at least the next two years!

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Tundraboy's picture

September 25, 2015 at 11:50 am

Since 61,Looks like I share your age and definitely viewpoint! Go AR Go

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

September 25, 2015 at 03:17 pm

After reading this article, I hope I can get at least some of you to agree. You can't have 1 category "The Best QB of all time". You need 2 category's. "One of the Greatest QB'S", & "The Best of all Time". I could argue that AR is the Best QB I've seen, but I'd never get anyone in New England to believe it, or SF for that matter. Tom Brady needs to be mentioned in that conversation, Joe Montana as well, although he played on some very good teams. Never the less his 4 SB wins speak for themselves.

I've seen Bart Stars entire career, & Johnny U's. Both were Great QB's, but neither compared to AR or Tom Brady. Then again it was a different game back then. It was 2 runs, & maybe a pass. They both played on Great teams, & compare more to Joe Montana. AR & Brady are doing it without a Great Defense, & in Brady's case, without an Offensive line. AR gets the edge on mobility, but Brady can pick you apart standing still. He's 37 & looks younger than AR. He looks like he could play another 10 years. If AR winds up 2ond to Brady all time, that's nothing to be ashamed of. I guess the next few years will write the story.

I don't put Peyton manning in the conversation. He's a coward as far as I'm concerned. He's certainly one of the Great one's, that's for sure, but Miami really wanted him bad, & he ran from Brady like a wounded puppy. He wasn't going to knock heads with Brady twice a year just to make the playoffs. He picked the easiest division in the AFC at the time to play in. Maybe we all would have done the same, but that keeps him out of the Best of all time, as far as I'm concerned.

There have been a lot of Great QB's over the years, too many to mention. A guy who doesn't get mentioned enough is Fran Tarkington. Fran was a Great QB who gave us fits. He is somewhere in the top ten in passing yardage, at a time when it wasn't a passing game. Elway, Marino, Favre, even Theisman & others I'm forgetting deserve to be mentioned in this category.

AR & Brady are IMO the Best QB's for different reasons. I'm as big a Packer Fan as anyone. If you force me to answer, at this point I'd give the nod to Brady. He has the Championships & the SB's to back it up.
Let's hope AR can close the gap in the next few years. LVT

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 25, 2015 at 08:25 am

Aaron Rodgers is the best QB I've ever seen since I started watching football in the late 1960s.

I don't subscribe to the notion that SB wins are necessary to be the GOAT. Playing well under pressure is more important.

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WKUPackFan's picture

September 25, 2015 at 01:16 pm

Agree 100%, best I've ever seen starting from the late 60s, physically and mentally.

P.S. Don't forget Lynn Dickey in the list of great GB QBs. Those "lucky" enough to watch the mid 80s games saw some serious throws from Mr. Dickey. Tough as nails also.

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EdsLaces's picture

September 25, 2015 at 09:18 am

Manning absolutely does not have a couple years left. If he makes it through this year without getting benched or his arm falling off I'll be shocked.

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Gianich's picture

September 25, 2015 at 09:18 am

THe throws he makes each week are incredible. I watched an 8 yard gain to Adams on a hook route about 10 times in a row as I sat in awe of the quick foot work and laser toss to the outside. Makes these throws look routine and they are not. Just the throws from the last 2 games show enough inconceivable accuracy, no matter what angle, to warrant this discussion. Man I hope my DVR doesn't fill up!

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Koostyroosty's picture

September 25, 2015 at 09:56 am

Rodgers is a great QB. So glad to have him on our team! I don't find myself holding my breath when he throws the long ball. You know that it is almost never going to be intercepted.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 25, 2015 at 12:26 pm

So true. When he throws the deep one I'm always thinking first and always , ok who did he find open and are we going to score on the play. Never really think about an interception unless the ball is tipped or something but never whether Rodgers made a bad let alone dumb throw. Amazing.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

September 25, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Exactly. The only time he seems to make a risky throw is when he's already beat the defense, got them offsides, and has a free play, so even if it gets picked, worst case is we still get 5 yards!

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PaulRosik's picture

September 25, 2015 at 02:04 pm

Quarterback is the one position where stats have little to do with whether you get put in the G.O.A.T. category. Brady, Montana, and Elway have the championships that are required to be in the short list as the best ever. Somehow the other multiple championship QB's like Bradshaw, Aikman, and Starr get seen as products of their great team and are not generally viewed as great QB's. An occasional extreme throwing talent like Marino or Unitas can get mentions but in general they can't enter the G.O.A.T. discussion without the rings.

It's the only position that does this. You can be the best RB ever and never have sniffed the playoffs, but QB can't do this. it explains a bit of why fans get restless if they think they have a supreme talent at QB but their team still doesn't get it done.

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Since'61's picture

September 25, 2015 at 03:44 pm

Paul - You do realize that John Unitas has 3 rings, right? His Baltimore Colts won the NFL title 3 times in '58, '59 and SBV in 1970.
You do realize that Johnny U invented the modern QB position while he was playing the position? It's not like he had someone to watch or mentor him.
You do realize that John Unitas invented the 2 minute drill, right?
You do realize that Unitas was the 1st QB to actually read a defense.
You do realize that he and Raymond Berry were the first QB/WR pair to create route trees. Admittedly, they did draw some of the plays on the ground while in the huddle but they couldn't be stopped anyway.
You do realize that he picked defenses apart when he led many scoring drives.
You realize that until the rules changed Jonhny U was the NFL's leading passer with over 40,000 yards.
You realize that John Unitas is to the NFL what Babe Ruth is to baseball? You do realize that he single handedly brought the NFL into mainstream America with his play in the sudden death overtime win against the NY Giants in the 1958 NFL championship game. You know the game that is known as "The Greatest game of all time." We might not be watching an NFL today without John Unitas.
You do realize that most of the people who actually know something about the NFL still consider Unitas as either the GOAT or at worst consider him second only to Joe Montana.
You do realize that Unitas is an icon not just of the NFL but of all professional sports.
I guess that the answer to all of the above questions is no or it would not be possible to make such a ridiculous comment as "Unitas can't be mentioned in the discussion without the rings". The only way to make a comment like that is because you obviously never saw him play. BTW he has more rings than Elway.
I recommend to you the book Johnny U. by Tom Callahan as an opportunity for you to do some research on Unitas.
Just like Rodgers, Unitas would be a great champion in any era and if he played today, with today's rules, it would be ridiculously easy for him and I would pray that he never faced the Packers, just like he scared the heck out of me when he played them back in the '60s.
Unitas may not be included by you in your discussions of GOAT but he is included by those of us who have serious discussions about the GOAT. Lastly, rings or not Marino should be included in the discussion also. He doesn't get it but he was a brilliant QB, SB wins or not. Thanks, Since '61

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

September 25, 2015 at 04:12 pm

Since61, After reading your post, & thinking back, I don't think I gave Johnny U enough credit. He was a GREAT GREAT QB. The Packers Glory years over shadow his career. He was everything you said he was & more. I'm Proud of him for Shunning INDI went the Colts left. LVT

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Since'61's picture

September 25, 2015 at 05:40 pm

LVT - thanks for the positive feedback. I realize that it is difficult to compare across eras but I think about what would Unitas be like if he played today not only with today's rules but today's workout and practice regimens. What if he could play his career indoors, like Peyton Manning. What if had access to all of the tools that today's players have. He would probably be as good as Rodgers. I don't think that Unitas could run as well as Rodgers but he would still be awesome. Today's player work at their craft nearly all year round. Unitas and the other players went home and had regular jobs like everyone else just so they could afford to make it through the year. It was because of the public's response to the '58 sudden death game that led Pete Rozelle to pursue the first TV contract with the NFL. The rest, as they say, is history. Thanks, Since '61

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

September 25, 2015 at 07:32 pm

Since 61, or anyone. What Championship game was that when Don Chandler kicked the winning field goal that missed by 2 feet. Was that Baltimore, or Cleveland? They called it Good, but it was Wide Right if I remember correctly. LVT

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Since'61's picture

September 25, 2015 at 08:42 pm

LVT - that was the 1965 Western Conference playoff game against the Baltimore Colts. The Packers and Colts tied for the Western Conference title with equal 10-3-1 records. Following the game the referee was asked about the call on the field goal that Chandler kicked and sent the game into overtime. The official replied that the kick went over the goal post which in those days meant it was a good FG. Now we have the extended goal posts to prevent a repeat of that situation. The winning FG in OT was good, it was the tying FG that caused all the controversy. After defeating the Colts in that playoff game the Packers went on to win the 1965 NFL Championship against the Cleveland Browns by a score of 23-12. The Packers held the great Jim Brown to 50 yards rushing. That championship game was the first of the Packers 3 NFL championships in a row culminating with Bart Starr's QB sneak in the Ice Bowl. Thanks, Since '61

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

September 25, 2015 at 09:22 pm

Since 61, Thanks!! My memory is fading. I watched all those games. Those were some Great Games, & bring back a lot of Great Memories, & maybe even more important, "Our Youth". We who were fortunate enough to go through 3 Great GB periods should be forever grateful. Whether you like Brett Favre or not, he said something all Packer fans should remember. He said " Enjoy The Moment" I'll add, "It may never happen again in your lifetime. Go Pack!! LVT

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Dan Stodola's picture

September 25, 2015 at 08:11 pm

No doubt Johnny U was a great QB. And he is probably in most top 5 QB's all time for sure. But there are some who would call Starr the Greatest of All Time. Unitas put up the volume stats but Starr was far more efficient.

http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/content/the-definitive-list-top-10-...

Gives a pretty compelling argument. Starr doesn't get enough credit by EVERYONE.

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Since'61's picture

September 25, 2015 at 08:50 pm

Dan - I agree. They were different types of players. Unitas was an all or nothing type of player. Starr was very efficient and like Rodgers he very rarely hurt the team with a bad decision or a bad throw. Starr was excellent in post season games. In 10 post-season games he only threw 1 interception, a remarkable stat in the days when the rules were not as pass friendly as today. But Lombardi coveted Unitas and often referred to him as the best player in the league. Bottom line is that I would be happy to have either one as my QB. Thanks, Since '61

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

September 25, 2015 at 09:03 pm

Dan Stodola, I wouldn't argue who was better, Bart Star or Johnny U. They were both Great QB's, the Best of their time. As much as I like Bart Star, & No Question, he was a Great QB, I could never call either one of these guy's the Best of all time. The knock against both of them is the league they played in. It was No Where's Near the caliber that the NFL has evolved into. I doubt if any lineman other than Forest Greg, & maybe Jim Ringo would even get a uniform today.

You can't really compare players of different era's in any sport. There were a lot of Great Players, but over all, they played against much lessor competition. I don't know for sure, but other than Forest Greg & Jim Ringo, I'd be surprised if the line averaged 240 lbs. The players are bigger, faster, & better today. Why I don't know, but that's the way it is.

I would argue that AR week after week is playing against much tougher competition than Bart Starr or Johnny U did.

In bowling, the equipment destroyed all the old records. In golf, the ball & clubs have made the game much easier for a pro. You can't compare Tiger Woods & Jack Nicklaus, because most 2ond shots today are hit with 9 irons or wedges. years back most of Nicklaus's 2ond shots were 3 & 4 irons. There was a time when a 300 was something special. Today, on Friday night in Fond du Lac, WI, there are 5-6 300's every week.

In most sports the equipment has made it easier today. I would argue, in football, for whatever reason, the players have gotten much bigger & much faster, & overall much better athletes. I don't have an answer for that, but that's the way it is. We'll never know how Bart Starr & Johnny U would do against the players today, but they are both ICONS in the sport of football. LVT

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PaulRosik's picture

September 25, 2015 at 11:10 pm

My brother has gotten some 300's in Fon Du Lac. But yes he's not threatening DIck Weber or Johnny Petraglia in the G.O.A.T. discussion.

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

September 25, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Paul, You obviously missed the point, & by the way, it's Fond du Lac, not Fon Du Lac. There are bowlers in Fond du Lac, WI who have more 300's than Dick Weber or Johnny Patraglia. The point was the equipment is better today in both Bowling & Golf, just as the NFL over-all is much better, much tougher today. If you want to get right down to it, during the glory days of the packers & before, you had 4 teams. Green Bay, Baltimore, Cleveland, & Philidephia. I'm hard pressed to come up with another one, & that includes LA, & Dallas. LVT

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PaulRosik's picture

September 26, 2015 at 01:13 pm

It was just a joke WIlly.

In the 50's the Lions won 3 championships but the point that the league was smaller is true.

I don;t believe it is tougher now but that is a longer discussion. it is a level playing field and always has been. Back then football players didn't have the nutrition and training and year round concentration on football. But no one did so it was even, Now they all have it so its even again. Of course, if you place a lineman of the 60's against a lineman of now he will look like a midget but in each era they match up with who they are playing against. Jerry Kramer didn't have to block BJ Raji he blocked the other players of his era.

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Dan Stodola's picture

September 26, 2015 at 12:21 pm

LVT. The OL of Lombardi's day didn't have strength training. Put some of those 250 lb OL on strength programs from 16 yrs old and a lot of them might turn into 320 lb OL. Most didn't even do any conditioning in the offseason, they just became employees.

Great QB's always make great decisions and decision making isn't a skill that has evolved much since the 60's. You either make good decisions or you don't. Starr was Rodgers w/o a great arm, maybe a Montana arm. Starr and Unitas would have been bigger, stronger faster too, but it was the decision making, accuracy, football IQ and leadership that made Starr (and to a lesser degree Unitas) great and those traits are very much still necessary in today's NFL.

Unitas seems more of a Favre esque type w/o having had the benefit of having seeing him play. THe NFL today is different, and made easier for QB's to put up huge numbers. All the rules changes have made the NFL easier for QB's and to make the game more exciting. But Starr would have been coolly and utterly efficient in todays NFL in much the way Rodgers is, not to mention he was probably the best Big Game QB in NFL history.

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

September 26, 2015 at 01:41 pm

DS, I can't argue with what you're saying if in fact the players would go through the same training as the players today. I was merely comparing the league as it was in the 50's & 60's to the league as it is today. Just about every team is better over-all today than back then. There's no question, that Bart Starr & Johnny U could have played in any era. Starr's playoff record speaks for itself. I just think the league today, demands a great team around a Great QB. Starr was a great decision maker. I remember a lot of 3rd & 1's that turned into 50 yard touchdowns. Starr was a great QB, so was Johnny U, so was Montana, so was Tarkington, so was Marino & Theisman, so was Bradshaw Favre & Elway. & so is AR & Brady. I'm in no position to rate any of them. I've been very lucky to see all of them play. I wish I could see some of these guy's play again. I'd be a Hell of a lot younger. LVT

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PaulRosik's picture

September 25, 2015 at 10:49 pm

Yes, I think Unitas and Otto Graham both rate high on the G.O.A.T. scale. But in any modern rating they won't crack the top 5. I guess time tarnishes their records.

As for Marino, I totally agree he was the best thrower of the ball I ever watched. But again his lack of a title never allows him to go high in rankings.

My point was that all these nice stats in this article will not really decide AR's legacy. For QB's, having multiple championships appears to be the entry card to even get into the argument. Once you have multiple championships then you can get into the discussion of whether you're on the QB Mount Rushmore or not. The way Brady is still playing at 38 is making him a difficult, upward moving target, let's hope AR gets there.

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Oppy's picture

September 26, 2015 at 02:59 pm

So, basically what you're saying is,
"The axiom is right because it's the axiom. Anything other than the axiom must be incorrect, regardless of the logic, because it doesn't fit the axiom"

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Mike McGath's picture

September 25, 2015 at 02:32 pm

He's got to win couple more super bowls before he's givin that title.

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Evan's picture

September 25, 2015 at 03:51 pm

Nah. Super Bowls are team accomplishments.

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4thand1's picture

September 25, 2015 at 10:29 pm

Who was the SB mvp on the 96 Packers? Who had 3 sacks? Who had the longest receiving TD in SB history (at the time)? Who had the best team?

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Oppy's picture

September 25, 2015 at 05:47 pm

There's a problem in much of our modern sports analysis.

"The axiom is right because it's the axiom. Anything other than the axiom must be incorrect, regardless of the logic, because it doesn't fit the axiom."

When we agree that a RB can be in the running (no pun intended) for the best of all time without even entering the playoffs, but then turn around and say "But that doesn't apply to QBs, they HAVE to be weighed by Lombardi Trophies and MVPS", we are saying that we are slaves to what is most probably a completely flawed metric.

FWIW, Super Bowl victories ARE team accomplishments, if they weren't, we wouldn't need to field a defense at all to win, and MVPs don't determine a player's skill or accomplishments, they simply mean that a bunch of sportswriters picked that guy over the rest of the guys that year. If John Doe had an average year, but everyone else in the league had a bad year- and john doe didn't do anything egregious to offend the sportswriters- he's going to win an MVP. Does that actually define John Doe's season and production?

Time to stop with the ridiculous axioms and (relatively) meaningless awards. We live in a modern era of metrics at this point. We can chart the majority of the factors that relate to level of proficiency of a QB, and most other positions for that matter. Yes, there will always be those so-called 'intangibles' such as leadership, or being a 'great team mate'. However, for the most part, we can and do keep track of the majority of factors that lead to production from the QB position, and those are the things that have to be weighed in deciding who the great players are/were.

Enough with the silliness. We all KNOW it takes 53 men, the right circumstances, schedules, and a lil' bit'o'luck to win a superbowl. That's a lot of factors that have nothing to do with being a great QB. If it was truly a prime requisite, we'd all be forced to concede that Trent Dilfer is at the same level as Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers... and that's just plain ignorant, isn't it?

Yes, Rodgers may need to win 'at least another ring or two' to even be in the running for greatest QB of all time for many, but those 'many' are just flat-out idiotic.

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Oppy's picture

September 25, 2015 at 05:49 pm

Just for the record, Rodgers may- or may not- be in the conversation for GOAT... but the deciding factor has NOTHING to do with ring count or personal awards, IMO.

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Since'61's picture

September 25, 2015 at 09:25 pm

Oppy - I agree that discussing the GOAT should not be solely based on rings or awards. However I do believe that the discussion about the GOAT should include those players who dominated the league at their position during their careers. For example, Johnny U was the dominant QB in the NFL from 1956 to about '67, '68. Kind of like Jim Brown was the dominant RB in the NFL over the same period. The Packers as a team won more championships but that was as much about their OL and their defense as it was about Starr's play. I'm taking nothing from Bart because we was great also. In the 80s Montana and Marino dominated the league at the QB position but again Montana won and Marino didn't so most NFL observers give Montana the nod. But if you put Marino on the 49ers with Jerry Rice, et.al., does anyone think the 49ers would not have won those SBs!? Let's not forget our own Lynn Dickey, or Dan Fouts both great QBs but they don't come up in GOAT discussions because they never won in the playoffs. Rodgers has been the dominant QB in the league since 2010. I think for a QB to be in the GOAT discussion he needs to have longevity, a winning record, a favorable TD/Int ratio, and been a dominant player. I will add that for me being a dominant player does mean winning championships because during the playoffs a QB plays against and needs to defeat the best defenses in the league. To me that is part of being dominant. MVP awards are also an indicator of being dominant. In any case I expect that by the time Rodgers is done he will be in the conversation or he just may leave no doubt and the case is closed. Go Pack! Thanks, Since '61

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PaulRosik's picture

September 25, 2015 at 10:59 pm

I loved me some Lynn Dickey in my teen years in Green Bay. But he was a turnover machine. Even in his great 1983 season of over 4400 yards and 32 td passes he also threw 29 picks. Now his team stunk and he was always coming from behind and throwing desperately but you can't throw more picks than td's in a career.

Brady is still in the discussion as the current dominant QB in the league but I really liked this description of what it takes to be considered all time. Thanks.

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PaulRosik's picture

September 25, 2015 at 11:18 pm

Marino and Montana make the perfect comparison for this sort of argument. At first blush Marino's 61,000 yards and 420 TD's dwarf Montana's 40,000 yards and 273 TD's. But Montana has the rings.

Now I think the rings are due to the cast of Hall of Famers all around Montana and that Marino was a better QB. But Montana will usually get more votes for best all time.

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Oppy's picture

September 26, 2015 at 12:09 pm

So, Paul, what's your final verdict? Is it Marino, or Montana? You seem to be implying that deep down you feel it's Dan Marino, but because everyone else will point to the rings, you're conceding it's Joe Montana... Or am I reading this in the wrong tone?

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PaulRosik's picture

September 26, 2015 at 12:54 pm

I am saying I would say Marino, but that the consensus pick would be Montana overall.

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Dan Stodola's picture

September 26, 2015 at 12:29 pm

I tend to think the difference in rings also had a lot to do w/ the differences in leadership, football IQ and decision making. HOF QB's have a tendency to make HOF WR out of very good WR, and very good WR out of good WR. Marino had the elite arm talent that Montana didn't have, but he couldn't touch Montana in intangibles.

Montana never had a bevy of great defensive players (IMO only one HOF player in Lott) on the other side of the ball, yet he won every SB he played in.

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Oppy's picture

September 26, 2015 at 03:02 pm

Since '61,
Re: MVP and Awards in General

should Jerry Kramer be inducted into the pro football HOF?

Why hasn't Kramer Been inducted into the PFHOF?

Does Kramer's failure to be inducted into the PFHOF have any bearing on his ability to play the OG position, his prowess on the field of play, or his dominance during his era?

Respectfully, recognition does not define performance.

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Since'61's picture

September 27, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Oppy - yes Jerry Kramer should be in HOF. He was a 5 time All-Pro during his career. He played through numerous injuries. He made arguably the most famous block in NFL history on Bart Starr's winning QB sneak in the Ice Bowl. But most importantly Jerry Kramer is the only member of the NFL's All-Time first 50 year team that is not in the hall of fame. How does that make sense? He is named to the All time first year team but doesn't get in the HOF. The excuse of too many Lombardi Packers just doesn't hold up. Thanks, Since '61

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Oppy's picture

September 27, 2015 at 07:32 pm

I agree completely, and my point is, his being bestowed an honor or award- or NOT being bestowed it- does not change how he played the game, how dominant he was or wasn't, or his production.

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

September 26, 2015 at 03:57 pm

Since 61, You seem to be a fan of Johnny U & THE Baltimore Colts, so I'm going to tell you a story, I think you'll get a kick out of. This story was told by Art Donovan on the David Letterman show. Donovan was always telling stories about Don Shula. Finally Shula told Donovan not to tell any more stories about him, because he was trying to raise his kids right. Donovan told Letterman, he would tell this last story.

Shula & another player, I want to say Lenny Moore, but I'm not 100% positive, went out the night before a game, & really hung one on. Max McGee & Paul Hornung didn't have a lock on that. Anyway, the following morning they were all sitting on the game bus, with no Don Shula, & No Lenny Moore. Apparently they weren't flying.

They waited about an hour, when finally a yellow Taxi Cab pulled into the stadium parking lot. As the cab got up to the bus, here wearing a Cabby hat was Don Shula driving the cab with Lenny Moore passed out in the back seat. Of course the Audience cracked up and went nuts.

When they settled down, Donovan said, "If you think that's funny, when Lenny Moore got out of the cab, he tried to pay Shula for the ride". LVT

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Since'61's picture

September 26, 2015 at 10:24 pm

Great story LVT. As for Johnny U and the Baltimore Colts, I'm not fan but I do have a lot of respect and great memories of a more than worthy and gallant opponent. Also, I have great appreciation for what Johnny U did for the NFL and the QB position. Thanks, Since '61

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

September 27, 2015 at 12:51 am

Since 61, I guess I'm getting old. One of the other posters reminded me of Detroit. For some reason we had plenty of problems with Detroit. If I'm not mistaken, that's why GB stopped playing Detroit on Thanksgiving. We used to play them every year on Thanksgiving. LVT

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porupack's picture

September 26, 2015 at 12:36 am

Excellent argument, Oppy. I'll copy and paste your post for future whenever someone brings up the "depends on the rings" thing again.

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Oppy's picture

September 26, 2015 at 12:11 pm

If I'm not mistaken, this is the second time you've told me you're going to copy and paste something I've written in the future (maybe it was someone else?)..

Flattering, but it's a little strange. :/

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ben's picture

September 25, 2015 at 09:15 pm

Rodgers is the best player to ever play the game. Anyone who says he's not is wrong. Rodgers is the best ever, at what is now the most influential position in the history of team sports.

But greatness is defined by championships. Rodgers is a better player than Tom Brady, but thanks to Ted Thompson and a homer fan-base content with division championships, Rodgers will never be as great as Tom Brady.

The Packers couldn't have done worse this past decade with the best player to ever play the game.

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PaulRosik's picture

September 25, 2015 at 11:02 pm

I am not sure what team you're a fan of but its sure not the Packers.

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Oppy's picture

September 26, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Everyone criticized the Packers for not doing enough to improve before the the 2010 super bowl run (like they do every year), but they went ahead and won it.

This past offseason, everyone was yelling bloody murder, look at what the Seahawks did to improve over the offseason, the Packers stand pat, we're never going to be able to compete. I'm pretty sure we just kicked their asses cleanly for 60 minutes last sunday. Heck, that's 116 minutes out of the last 120 minutes of regulation gameplay that the Packers dominated the Seahawks.

Get your head outta your bum. There is no contentment with division championships. There's a lot of people who have unrealistic expectations for what wild free agency spending does for a team. The great majority of teams who throw big money at FA's don't end up with a net gain.

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PaulRosik's picture

September 26, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Well said. No one is happy they lost that NFCCG. But we are happy they won the division again and made the playoffs again.

Every season so many people seem eager for the Packers to win March when free agents are signed. It's not this regime's game and never will be to worry much about March.

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Oppy's picture

September 26, 2015 at 12:19 pm

It's very strange to me that Ron Wolf is a legend amongst men to many Packers fans, while Ted Thompson is a sorry excuse for a GM, yet, their success is nearly identical.

Perhaps some fans are too concerned with their own preconceived notions of method as opposed to the results.

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zeke's picture

September 26, 2015 at 01:39 pm

Ignorant Vikings troll is ignorant.

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Larry Fisher's picture

September 26, 2015 at 06:02 am

After dealing with the pack of the 70's and 80's, iRodgers playing with 1 leg and 1 arm and a deflated football, is still better

It's a blessing watching 2 pack to pack HOF QB's playing for 20+ years

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jmspeterson's picture

September 26, 2015 at 12:36 pm

I totally agree with your assessment of Rodgers; however, the most significant stat that you cited was Bart Starr's playoff passer rating of 104.8.

Let that sink in for a moment.........Long enough? Now gather 'round, kids. Starr did this against the best teams in the league in an era when a DB could hang and bump a receiver all the way down field until the ball was thrown. This is unheard of.

Starr is the most underrated quarteback the game has ever seen, especially today. I realize how highly he was thought of during his time in the league, but today, he's an afterthought.

If anyone has any doubt, go ask Aaron Rodgers about the man. Now get off my lawn and enjoy the rest of the season!

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