I indicated in a post last January – after the Packers suffered an embarrassing playoff defeat to the San Francisco 49ers in Green Bay due to a woeful special teams effort – that given the current dangers we face to American democracy, the Russian-Ukrainian hostilities, Climate Change, etc., etc., etc., the disappointment at the adverse fortunes of one’s pro football team didn’t even count as small potatoes. At the same time, I confess to being pleased that Aaron Rodgers decided this off season to stay with the Green and Gold.
Since Brett Favre stepped on to Lambeau Field in September, 1992 – for the last 30 years, with this season beginning a fourth decade — the Packers have not played a game which either Mr. Favre or Mr. Rodgers was starting that any sports commentator would have entirely discounted the Packers’ chances to win. I’m pretty sure that no other NFL team can make that claim. The fact that only two Super Bowl trophies have been claimed during that stretch is regrettable, but the team has provided weekly autumn and early winter sustenance to its faithful for decades.
No matter what cares of a personal or larger nature may then be occupying my mind, the weekly rite of Green Bay football generally provides me a few hours’ welcome distraction. While I don’t particularly like what I know of Mr. Rodgers personally, his skill is awesome. I see that many analysts still consider him, at age 38, the second-best quarterback in the game, behind only 45-year-old Tom Brady and ahead of former League MVP Patrick Mahomes. (Some of the quarterbacks listed in the League’s Top Ten don’t seem, to these old eyes spoiled by Messrs. Favre and Rodgers, to even be that good.) In the quarterback-friendly NFL, as long as Mr. Rodgers continues – and even if his skills diminish 10 – 20% — he will generally still be the best QB on the field in most Green Bay contests and the Packers will remain competitive. There will be a day when Mr. Rodgers is succeeded by another, and on that day, it is much more likely than not that the Green and Gold carriage will turn into a pumpkin; but we’ll worry about that then.