The Green Bay Packers are set to do battle against the San Francisco 49ers this coming Sunday in the NFC Championship Game. But for Aaron Rodgers, this game means much more. To say that the Packers must win may be a bit unfair. However, for Rodgers, it’s exactly that.
What this game signifies for the Packers QB is legacy. As great as Rodgers has been, he still only has one Super Bowl ring to his name. Yes, that’s more than Dan Marino and a few other greats but it’s the same as Drew Brees, Nick Foles, and especially Brett Favre. The latter is who Rodgers will always be compared to.
Over the course of his career, Rodgers has been elite. In 15 seasons, he’s passed for 46,946 yards, tossed 364 touchdowns and completed 64.6 percent of his passes for a career mark of 113-60-1. Great numbers, but what’s missing are those banners.
The 2019-20 NFL season is where he can began to make up ground. But it won’t be easy against a young upstart team in the 49ers. They will bring one of the best defenses into the NFC Championship Game and Rodgers will have to earn every yard.
Another thing that’s important to Rodgers is what has transpired so far during these playoffs. Rodgers is a veteran and lately, this has turned into a young man’s game behind center.
Kirk Cousins took out Drew Brees. Ryan Tannehill may have ended a dynasty in New England against Tom Brady and the Kansas City Chiefs are led by third-year wonder Pat Mahomes. Now, Aaron Rodgers will go throw for throw against a younger version of Brady in Jimmy Garoppolo. If Rodgers loses, then the torch has officially been passed. This may be one of the best teams Rodgers has by his side.
The ground game is handling business with Aaron Jones (1084 yards). The receivers have stepped up with Davante Adams (997 yards) and Jimmy Graham (447 yards). The defense has been a force all season and coach Matt LaFleur has shown his ability to be a great leader even when they have faced adversity this year. But what happens if they lose?
This is a question Aaron Rodgers must not think about. He has to go into the game with a clear understanding that not only are the Green Bay Packers a better team but he’s a better QB than Garoppolo. Skills are good to have but confidence in one’s talent is what separates the elite from the good.
The 49ers are a solid team. So much so that in late November, the San Francisco 49ers thrashed the Packers and Rodgers 37-8. Rodgers had a complete meltdown that day with 104 yards passing and was sacked five times. It was at that point, that the country began to take the 49ers serious. What’s different this time around? Revenge.
Can Garoppola and the Niners beat Rodgers and the Packers twice in one season and send the elite QB home to sit on the couch with Brady, Brees, Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott and the other QBs who are placed above him?
It should be a good matchup and while the teams appear to be evenly matched, Rodgers has too much tied to this game. Even with a loss, his legacy is cemented as one of the best to ever play the game but a victory here and he will surpass Favre in Packers’ lore with a second trip to the Super Bowl. It will take a total team effort to beat the 49ers but it all begins with Aaron Rodgers.