Monday, February 7, 2011

Aaron Rodgers, Superbowl MVP

Aaron Rodgers threw for 304 yards and 3 TDs in Superbowl XLV, earning the Superbowl MVP, and membership to the exclusive tier of great current QBs, which I believe includes Peyton, Brady and Brees.  Those 4 QBs have carried their teams to Superbowl victories and their team offense is built around their ability to throw.  To me, Big Ben and Eli Manning may be Superbowl champs, but they occupy the tier just below the big 4.  Yes, I know that Rodgers needs to put together a few more seasons of the same consistent production, but there's little doubt that he will.

During a fantasy football draft last August, I managed to select both Brett Favre and Big Ben.  (Hey, I also had Rodgers - it was a QB intense league).  Immediately I was skewered for having drafted both scumbag QBs in the NFL (which I agreed with).  Anyway, in one night, Rodgers put down both reigning scumbag QBs.

Big Ben may have had a seemingly redemptive season, but his character will be proven over the remainder of his career, or at least over multiple years, not just these past few months.  To me, it would not have felt right, it would not have been fitting, to see Roethlisberger win this year's title and "redeem" himself in the eyes of the public so soon.  What he was accused of was in my mind worse than Michael Vick's actions, if it were true.  At the very least, his behavior was disgraceful.  Since by all accounts he is now a changed man, I hope it is true.

Both Favre's annoying prima donna indecisive behavior over the past 3-4 years coupled with his immoral and disgusting behavior, on top of his vastly overrated on field achievements (playing for a long time is not the same as playing well for a long time) has made him my least favorite football player in recent memory, even less likable than Tom Brady, if that's possible for me.  After the worst season of his career both on and off the field, Favre now has to face Rodgers' ascension to the NFL peak.

We all clearly remember Ted Thompson's decision 3 years ago to jettison Favre in favor of the unproven Rodgers.  At the time, it was controversial especially since Favre was still well liked and had not yet chosen to betray his legion of Packers fans to suit up for Minnesota, or shamelessly brandish his cell phone.  At the time, Favre was not any of those things I wrote in the first sentence of the last paragraph, except for "annoying".  Oh, and "overrated".  But Thompson's decision was the catalyst of two diverging paths - Rodgers' road to greatness in SB XLV and Favre's road to Jenn Sterger in NY.

So I'm happy today.  I'm happy that a respected, hard-working, new elite QB has emerged.  I'm happy that he showed up on the biggest stage and wowed us with his poise, his gutsyness and his accuracy.  I'm happy he didn't throw a INT or 3 like Favre would have.  I'm happy he has a SB MVP that Favre never did (but all the great ones have).  I'm happy he has brought home to Green Bay as many Lombardi trophies as Favre did and that he has a great chance to bring back many more to surpass Favre as the most important name in modern Packer history.

I guess I've come to terms with the likelihood that Rodgers' would never have been the player he is now had the 49ers drafted him #1 in 2005.  Who knows what being thrown into a starting job right away with a revolving door of coaches and pathetic front office management would have done to Rodgers' development.  I'd like to think that his determination and work ethic would have still brought some success, but without a GM like Ted Thompson, a 49ers SB would've been extremely unlikely anyway.

So I'm content that the Steelers are stuck on 6 championships and still within striking distance, should Harbaugh fulfill 49er expectations one day.  Perhaps Andrew Luck next year will be our own Aaron Rodgers.

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