Who’s better at showing off their tail end in real, comfortable jeans? Brett Favre.
Who has a more unique touchdown celebration? Aaron Rodgers.
Who’s better at pouring his heart out to Greta Van Susteren? Brett Favre.
Who’s better at photo-bombing Captains’ pictures? Aaron Rodgers.
But who’s the better quarterback?
Packers fans never shy away from debating the best quarterback in franchise history and with all due respect to Bart Starr, the discussion usually centers on Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre.
Rodgers supporters point to his pinpoint accuracy and his mental grasp of the game. The Favre faction points to his competitiveness and uncanny ability for the big play.
Frankly, being unable to decide between two quarterbacks who have led the Packers to greatness for the last 21 years is an issue most teams would love to be debating.
With Rodgers midway through his fifth season as a starter and Favre’s reign covering 16 seasons in Green Bay, the debate will likely remain unsettled for some time.
But by looking at both players at approximately the same ages provides some insight into the greatness of each quarterback.
Favre and Rodgers’ tenures in Green Bay from ages 25-29 produced quite impressive numbers. Keep in mind that Rodgers’ five-year span is incomplete as his fifth season is just nine games old.
|Average Completion Percentage||61.5%||65.9%*|
*Through 9 games of the 2012 season
**Regular season games as a starter
Barring unforeseen circumstances, Rodgers’ numbers will be superior in yards, completion percentage and interceptions, the difference in touchdown passes will be negligible, but the wins and losses will favor Favre.
Favre’s three consecutive Most Valuable Player awards dwarf Rodgers’ single award, but Rodgers has one MVP title that Favre never earned: the Super Bowl MVP.
Speaking of Super Bowls, while Favre appeared in two championship games, both players possess a single title.
The argument can be made that the sky is the limit for Rodgers’ chances of future Super Bowl titles, but the same argument was made for a young Brett Favre in his prime.
Both players take a different approach to the game. Rodgers is known for his composure and coolness in the huddle while Favre wore his emotions on his sleeve.
Those who played alongside, coached and reported on both Rodgers and Favre best sum up each player’s style.
Two receivers who have caught passes from both chimed in on the debate last season.
Packers wide receiver Donald Driver, the team’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, who played his entire 14-year career catching passes from only two quarterbacks gave the nod to his current teammate.
“I’ve played with two quarterbacks,” Driver said. “One just went out there and did what he did, and he wasn’t patient at all. But Aaron takes what the defense gives him, and that’s the type of guy you want.”
Greg Jennings, whose receiving career has also spanned both quarterbacks, joined Driver in endorsing Rodgers.
“They both bring different things to the table, but honestly right now I definitely have to go with . . . Aaron, his body of work at such a young age, his attention to detail, his discipline, I think it’s really second to none — it’s un-paralleled.”
On the defensive side of the ball, lineman Vonnie Holiday played alongside Favre in Green Bay and has faced Rodgers on an opposing team. Without declaring a better quarterback, Holiday aptly pointed out the strengths of both men.
“4 was a gamer, just a tremendous competitor,” said Holliday. “Unorthodox. Sling the ball. Run out of a tackle.
“12 is a student of the game. He sees coverages. You try to disguise and hide things, but he finds the openings. If there’s a guy uncovered, he’s going to find him.”
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was also diplomatic with his assessment.
McCarthy coached Favre in 2006 and 2007 and helped Favre put together one of his better seasons as a 38-year old quarterback. He also oversaw Rodgers’ best year when the fourth-year quarterback won the MVP at 28 years old.
“You take Brett Favre and freeze frame him from the waist up and you take this guy here (Rodgers) and freeze frame him from the waist up and you’ll see two of the purest throwing motions you’ll ever see,” McCarthy said. “Brett Favre is extremely fundamental with shoulder rotation, point of release, big hands, long arms, elbow pointing to the target, all the things I look for. Aaron Rodgers is no different.”
Tom Silverstein, who covered both Rodgers and Favre as a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, declined to choose who’s better until later in Rodgers’ career.
“…[F]or all those people who think Favre never played at the same level Rodgers has, it’s time to put aside your prejudices and judge this question in an objective manner,” Silverstein wrote. “Enjoy how well Rodgers is playing and imagine the greatness he can achieve if he keeps playing this well.”
Silverstein finished his article with a reminder of both players’ greatnesses.
“For now, don’t forget how great Favre was. He played just as well as Rodgers is playing now.”
Brett Favre was a remarkable quarterback who played a key role in putting the “title” back in Titletown.
Already in his short career, Aaron Rodgers has maintained the Packers prominence but still has a future to write.
Where Rodgers ends up in the annals of Packers history remains to be seen, but so far he’s as good as Brett Favre. Until Rodgers’ career comes to a close, however, the debate will remain open.
Max Ginsberg is a regular contributor at CheeseheadTV, blogs at PurplePantsGreenJersey.com and can be reached via Twitter @MaxGinsberg or at maxginsberg[at]yahoo.com.