As the owner of the largest Minnesota Vikings news and content network, I’m sure this article will change as many minds in Wisconsin as a Rachel Madow investigative series does in Anoka County. However, I do try to remove my personal animus from what I write (I’ll wait for you to stop laughing… Still waiting…), at least when it comes to the core of what I’m saying.
I may violate nearly every tenet of what constitutes sports journalism, with the ‘I’ at the start of this sentence proving that, but I do try to be fair and objective. I just then cover those objective takes from a first-person and somewhat emotional point of view.
Which brings up a topic I’ve wanted to work into one of my pieces lo these past couple of days. When I write stuff like this, or my article(s) covering Bills (for now) wide receiver Stefon Diggs I get inundated with comments and emails from people who conflate emotion with the inability to reason and obsession.
Because, as someone who makes a living covering the NFL, when I… gasp… cover the NFL I somehow must sit around my abode brooding over the topics I cover?
That’d be like me saying “Dude. You have to stop being so obsessed with sandwiches” because you’re the manager of a once successful Subway franchise.
Point being, it’s my job to opine on the news in front of me. While I do show my point of view or personal feelings more than other writers, that doesn’t mean that I’m sitting here with a copy of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ while watching the Bills play, only to smear lipstick over my upper and lower mandible when they win.
Kinda says more about you, than me.
Anyway, back to the point of this future Intro to Sports Journalism ‘What not to do’ example. Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has now been to five NFC Championship games in his illustrious career and won exactly one of those games.
Considering, it’s time to start the narrative that his career has been nothing short of a massive disappointment. Think about it, the Green Bay Packers have had two of the consensus top five quarterbacks in league history play back-to-back since 1992 and they’ve got exactly two Super Bowl rings to show for it.
By Vikings standards that’s earth shatteringly amazing. I’m not ripping that. But considering the fact that until Patrick Mahomes took the league by storm, most everyone considered Aaron Rodgers to be the most talented passer the league had ever seen.
So why has Mahomes already done more at or before the age of 25 than Rodgers has done in his career?
That’s a good question… Let’s get into it.
Now there’s two schools of thought on this. The blame Rodgers or the blame the Packers school of thought.
Most blamed former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and the recently deceased and (fervently anti-free agency) Ted Thompson for the post-2015 dip in Rodgers’ production.
Likewise. People have pointed to the lack of a suitable supporting cast outside of Aaron Jones and Davante Adams during the Matt LaFleur era, which as Tom Brady would attest, if (and I’m paraphrasing here) Rodgers had the help Brady has had at times he’d throw for 7,000 yards a season.
I’m not the world’s biggest Rodgers fan but I tend to prescribe to the above more so than Rodgers being some sort of big game choke artist, especially considering the game he had Sunday.
He out-dueled Tom Brady despite being pressured and sacked often, and when you look back at vintage Rodgers the Packers’ offensive lines during those years was not great. Sure, he had receivers like Jordy Nelson or Greg Jennings, but he only recently has had a good running back to hand the ball off to.
That’s the difference between him and Patrick Mahomes, and equally (or more) talented quarterback who has a plethora of talented receivers and running backs around him. If Kansas City can do it, the Packers could too.
But they haven’t, almost by design. Thompson refused to pay for any free agents and LaFleur elected to grab Rodgers’ replacement in Jordan Love instead of trading up and drafting someone like Justin Jefferson.
So, Rodgers’ career has been a disappointment but he hasn’t been one. The Packers have failed him at nearly every turn, so it isn’t hard to see why he’s non-committal about his future. Any team with any semblance of a supporting cast, like the Colts, would instantly become a contender with Rodgers aboard and I wouldn’t blame him for wanting a chance to add to his legacy by doing exactly that.