This should be interesting...
Over the past few weeks, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has been issuing articles as part of their "Seasons of Greatness". The series, which covers both college and professional sports, was the result of analyzing 65 single season performances. The names of the reporters who participated in this series are among the most well known and respected: Bob McGinn, Cliff Christl, Michael Hunt, and Bud Lea on the football add instant credibility to the opinions which they offer.
In the past week, the series became even more must read material.
The 2012 season by Aaron Rodgers was noted as being the fifth greatest season in the history of Wisconsin sports. A statistically excellent season, which culminated in his winning his first MVP award, Rodgers was clear and away the best player in the league, while leading the Packers to a franchise best 15-1 regular season record. Despite his superior play, the Packers fell short of the ultimate goal, losing in the Divisional Round of the playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl champions New York Giants 37-20.
This was followed by Brett Favre's 1996 season ranking as the fourth greatest season of all time. Overcoming personal struggles before the season with an addiction to pain killers, Favre led the Packers to a 13-3 season, steamrolling the 49ers and Panthers in the playoffs before bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay. An MVP season of his own, Favre was in the middle of his three consecutive MVP seasons, and was at the peak of his career.
This is where it gets interesting.
Without trying to stir up the inevitable Favre/Rodgers debate, I am torn on which was the greater season. Rodgers had a statistically superior season, yet Favre brought a Super Bowl title to Green Bay. Does a Super Bowl victory sway the vote? They both had MVP seasons, so do they offset each other? What about the failure in the playoffs for the 2011 Packers-does this drop Rodgers from a potentially higher ranking?
After careful consideration, I have to agree with the experts.
While Rodgers had without question an excellent season, the 2011 Packers season was ultimately a failure. After going 15-1 in the regular season, to lose in their first playoff game was cause for much pain and many questions by the fans. Rodgers ranking in this series no doubt was affected by this early exit in the playoffs, and we can only imagine where he could have ranked if not for their playoff failure.
Favre's season, while not close to the statistical excellence of Rodgers', resulted in bringing a championship to Green Bay. If greatness is measured by individual season success, an MVP season plus a Super Bowl title for Favre outweighs Rodgers. While one can never take away the 2011 season for the reigning MVP, Favre's 1996 season ranks ahead of Rodgers by the slightest of margins.
Go ahead, fire up the torches and sharpen the pitchforks.
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