What else does Aaron Rodgers have left to prove?
Since becoming the starter in 2008, all Rodgers has done is win a Super Bowl, win a League MVP, set league records for best passer rating in a single season, and made us all but forget who his predecessor was.
The stats over the last four years border on ridiculous, and speak for themselves:
YEAR CMP ATT YDS TD INT RAT
2008 341 536 4,038 28 13 93.8
2009 350 541 4,434 30 7 103.2
2010 312 475 3,922 28 11 101.2
2011 343 502 4,643 45 6 122.5
His personal expectation level is set exceptionally high, as evidenced by his comments in a recent interview at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in which he calls himself “obsessively competitive.” Driven by a desire to do nothing but win, this has translated into a drive which can be seen as anything less than winning is unacceptable.
Fans love this obsession. We know that the Packers are in excellent hands at quarterback for years to come. And with Rodgers set at QB, and as long as Ted Thompson continues to draft to continuously replenish the roster, and Mike McCarthy continues to push the right buttons of the players, this team should be Super Bowl contenders for years to come.
But what would happen if Aaron Rodgers had a seemingly mortal year statistically? How would fans react after seeing their QB set the world on fire for the past four seasons?
Looking at the average of Rodgers’ stats since 2008, he has set a bar which could be very difficult to continue:
4,259 passing yards
Those are very lofty statistics that most quarterbacks would struggle to have in one season, let alone the average of four.
So what would happen if Rodgers saw a decrease in statistical success? For nothing more than discussion sake, let’s look at a 10% decrease in his what I will term “positive stats”, using the previous four seasons as the baseline:
4,259 passing yards – 10% = 3,833 passing yards
33 TDs -10% =30 TDs
More than respectable numbers. However, if a 10% increase in interceptions was factored in, again just for the sake of discussion, the result would be 10 interceptions per year.
3,833 passing yards. 30 TDs. 10 Ints. I don’t think there is a single fan who would not take these numbers from the reigning MVP. But would we feel the same if the rest of the offense was not able to pick up the so-called slack from Rodgers decrease in statistical success? What if it led to one or two fewer wins a season?
My point is that it is possible that Packer fans have set the bar too high for Rodgers, based on his previous success. Anything less that MVP numbers could be seen as a down year for him, and those who are quick to point out flaws in his game could have a field day, especially if the result was the Packers missing the playoffs. Every quarterback has a down year at some point in their career.
While number crunching can be an entertaining hobby, and stats continue to litter our brain for quick reference, it is not as important to me as it may be for others. The success of a team comes from the sum of its part, not just its statistical machine of a quarterback. And as such, I don’t expect Rodgers to continue to put up the numbers he has since 2008. Not that he cannot do it-I’m just not expecting it. That way, if he did have a (gasp) sub par year but the team continued to win, I won’t feel that torment of realizing that Rodgers is what we all are: mortal.
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