(Photo by Getty Images)
By Ben Pierce
February 6th, 2011. Aaron Rodgers wins his first of what most thought would be many Super Bowl championships in his career. Fast forward one more year, his team is 15-1 in the regular season, and the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants win 37-20 in a divisional playoff game that was not even as close as the score represents. Since that season Aaron Rodgers has been an overrated, thin-skinned, and too often searching for a solution in all the wrong areas type of player.
People who love Aaron Rodgers like Chris Simms of Bleacher Report and countless others who analyze football will tell you he’s undisputedly the best in the league and has been since 2010. People down on Aaron Rodgers such as Colin Cowherd and Skip Bayless of Fox will say his career is less like Tom Brady, the most successful playoff quarterback of all time, and more like Peyton Manning due his extremely underwhelming playoff performance but great regular season statistics. I am here to tell you they’re both wrong. Aaron has been subpar in regular season performances; especially over the 2015 season and leaking through to the current season. Rodgers has a tendency to stray from the playbook, trying too often to ad-lib for the “big play”. To be fair, it does work, but very rarely. People get too caught up in the flashiness of the one of every twenty plays that is actually successful. Aaron Rodgers improvises more than any quarterback, holding onto the football for an average of 3.01 seconds after a snap. He will use his talented legs to wander out of the pocket and create his own play, throwing outside the numbers to a receiver. However, since the 2015 season and into the start of 2016 his outside the number completion percentage has dropped from 62% to 52% and has thrown 18 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. His quarterback rating has also taken a plunge from 103.6 to 75.8. Compounding that, he has been completing 60% of his passes overall and is on a downward trend, completing only 50% in his last game played against a tail spinning Giants team with an extremely roughed up secondary.
Aaron Rodgers also does not have the leadership intangibles that quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and even Drew Brees always demonstrate to take their teammates to the next level in big moments. Rodgers has blamed his receivers in the past and tends to brush off criticism of himself and put it on others. Former receivers of Rodgers like Donald Driver and Greg Jennings have complained and said he was never a great teammate. Keep in mind both of those players played with Rodgers in some of Rodgers’s best seasons. Rodgers also claimed to not care or pay attention to the media when asked after Green Bay fell to the Vikings in Week 2, but by acknowledging that fact in a bitter manner that he did displays his true nature and how he really is affected by what people say.
Lambeau Field has fallen from grace as an impenetrable fortress it once was, with all 3 NFC north opponents beating Rodgers and the Pack in their own house last season. In week 17, the Packers and Vikings squared off for the division title, and the Vikings took Rodgers down and took over that division; they are on pace for a repeat division crown. Furthermore, outside of the 4 game Super Bowl run in 2010, Rodgers has a 4-6 postseason record; two of those losses came at home. One was to the Colin Kaepernick led 49ers in 2013 and the other was the upset game to the previously mentioned Giants in 2011. The NFC championship game against the Seahawks in 2014 encapsulates the Packer’s demeanor and mindset under their quarterback. In that game they played it close to the vest and thought they had it won even when there was 5:42 left on the clock. Rodgers had two interceptions and was still unwilling to throw at a Richard Sherman, even when he got injured.
Rodgers has unrivaled talent, but he lacks the intangibles that win quarterbacks the biggest tangibles: playoff victories and championships.