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Rodgers' Summer Celebration Tour Rumbles Onward

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Rodgers' Summer Celebration Tour Rumbles Onward

It’s not as if we needed a reminder that Aaron Rodgers is a football deity, but then a Packers writer pointed out on social media that No. 12 is on the cusp of eclipsing 300 touchdown passes. The clincher: He’s thrown just 72 interceptions. 
 
As Elisha Twerski tweeted over the weekend, Rodgers needs three touchdowns to reach the 300 mark. When Rodgers does so, almost certainly in the first or second week of the upcoming season, he’ll join 10 others in league history who have also done so. The revelation has led to a bit of a media summer celebration tour for Rodgers. 
 
Pro Football Talk, giving a nod to Twerski, offered some extra context to Rodgers’ feat and what makes it special. Tom Brady currently holds the crown for least number of interceptions—with 115—at the time of throwing his 300th touchdown pass. Rodgers will best that mark by a mile. 
 
Let that sink in. 
 
Brady, now commonly thought of as the greatest quarterback of all time—or at the very least a consensus top-three QB—is statistically the best among the top 10 touchdown passers when not turning the ball over is also considered. 
 
When Rodgers joins the elite club— which also includes contemporaries Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and former teammate Brett Favre—no one will be close to his ratio of scores/low turnovers. 
 
In a sense, Rodgers’ greatness occasionally becomes a thorn in his side. He’s established a standard so remarkably high that on the occasion he fails to meet it, detractors come out of the woodwork. 
 
He can’t win the big game, they’ll say. Rodgers was Super Bowl MVP and his postseason run that season stands among the best all-time. 
 
He holds on the to the ball too long; he takes too many sacks. You can’t have it both ways, people. Rodgers’ ability to extend plays was responsible for a majority of the Packers’ offense in 2015 and the first half of last season. Combined, his pocket wizardry, mobility, arm strength, accuracy, lightning-quick release and flare for improvisation are unlike anything the league has ever seen at the position. And, of course, he puts these pieces together without turning the ball over.  
 
He’s wasting prime years, they’ll beckon. Three of Brady’s five rings came as he was ascending to elite heights, and since he’s firmly reached that status he’s won two and lost two. Every single ring was earned down to the wire. The takeaways? Brady’s Patriots lost a pair of Super Bowls to inferior Giants teams and needed a pair of miracles in the other two they won. Even the most fortunate quarterback of all time has had his share of misfortunes, and that’s with arguably the greatest coach of all time running the show. If the only metric is Super Bowl victories, then sure, Rodgers is wasting years along with the rest of the league’s top QBs. 
 
There’s a tendency to think of Rodgers as risk averse. That’s a shallow way of putting it. He makes throws that few others would attempt, throwing from platforms and into tight windows that are downright Favreian—only they almost never result in turnovers.  
 
Speaking of Favre, a lasting argument in favor of his gunslinger approach goes like this: The overtly aggressive style accounted for bewildering big plays AND head-scratching blunders, not one or the other. Had Favre played less aggressively, he’d probably have thrown far fewer interceptions—but also far fewer touchdowns. The standout statistical oddity in his career was his first season with the Vikings. That Favre threw 33 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions, his only starting season with INTs in the single digits. It couldn’t have hurt having Adrian Peterson lined up in the backfield, but give credit to Favre here because it’s certainly well-earned. 
 
Looking again at Rodgers, his ability to be both a big play machine and otherworldly at avoiding interceptions seems ineffable. But there’s no magic involved. Rodgers is just that good. He’s quantitatively untouchable and qualitatively sacrosanct. 
 
He’s not perfect—no player is. But he is the closest thing to perfection in a quarterback that the NFL has ever seen. Anyone excited for September? 
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (12) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

The TKstinator's picture

Late in Favre's career I hoped that his successor would throw less picks as well as be able to run a little bit.
Clearly, I got my wish!

hodge555's picture

As a 9yr starter Rodgers has only ever thrown double digit Ints twice in his career, his first season (13) and his Superbowl season (11) and yet he's thrown at least 28 TDs (skipping his injury shortened season when he threw 17). Impressive is an understatement.

porupack's picture

excellent article David. Thanks. I almost didn't read it when skimming the title.

Since '61's picture

Watching Aaron Rodgers is similar to watching Unitas. Unitas invented the modern QB while he was playing the position. Now, we're watching Rodgers take the position to another level. He is the only QB that I have ever seen who can play as well or better outside the pocket on the move as he can play when he stays in the pocket. His TD/Int ratio is phenomenal which is indicative of his excellent decision making that is further evidenced by his timely runs for a first down to keep a drive alive. Regardless of the number of SBs he ultimately wins we are witnessing a once in a lifetime player. He may become the QB against which all future QBs are measured against. Thanks, Since '61

stevebooth8739@gmail.com's picture

There are certain quarterbacks that are unique as well... Fran Tarkenton, Dan Fouts and Dan Marino... each had certain characteristics... Tarkenton's scrambling was transcendent. Fouts "airing" it out. Marino's quick release...

Even if they are on the opposing team, you have to watch them.

Rodgers is the same way. I've never seen such incredible plays. The pin-point pass to Cook on the sideline. Incredible.

Does he make mistakes? Of Course. Is he thin-skinned? Yep.

But he stands alone. I wouldn't want any other Quarterback under Center.

Not even Cutler.

(That's a joke: When the Bears traded for Cutler, there was some talk about which was a better QB).

Handsback's picture

Now the last two articles have expressed the virtues and really the greatness of Rodgers. Think about the season two years ago and the first 10 games of last year, Rodgers was in a slump. It happens and that winning streak was do to the fact that Rodgers really started playing up to his standards. So you see this proves one thing...Aaron Rodgers is not a robot. He makes mistakes and can play like a mere NFL quality QB.
Seriously, I hope all enjoy this time with him as the Packer's starter!

hodge555's picture

Here are Rodgers' numbers for those first 10 games last year, his slump as you say, and at time when some fans were calling for trades etc thinking he was washed up (madness!!). Well those numbers look pretty good on the whole to me and I would argue that a lot of teams would be very happy if their starting QB had them.
WK1 W 20/34 58.8% 199yrds 2TD 0int 95.1 rating
WK2 L 20/36 55.6% 213yrds 1TD 1int 70.7 rating
WK3 W 15/24 62.5% 205yrds 4TD 0int 129.3 rating
WK4 W 23/45 51.1% 259yrds 2TD 2int 65.0 rating
WK5 L 31/42 73.8% 294yrds 1TD 1int 90.8 rating
WK6 W 39/56 69.6% 326yrds 3TD 0int 102.2 rating
WK7 L 28/38 73.7% 246yrds 4TD 0int 125.5 rating
WK8 L 26/43 60.5% 297yrds 3TD 1int 94.8 rating
WK9 L 31/41 75.6% 371yrds 2TD 2int 79.8 rating
WK10 L 26/41 63.4% 351yrds 3TD 0int 115.0 rating

Granted when compared to how he finished the season then these numbers are just spectacular but we shouldn't expect this as a norm, he is human afterall, well maybe superhuman...
WK11 W 30/39 76.9% 313yrds 2TD 0int 116.7 rating
WK12 W 20/30 66.7% 202yrds 2TD 0int 97.6 rating
WK13 W 18/23 78.3% 246yrds 3TD 0int 150.8 rating
WK14 W 19/31 61.3% 252yrds 0TD 0int 87.0 rating
WK15 W 28/38 73.7% 347yrds 4TD 0int 136.6 rating
WK16 W 27/39 69.2% 300yrds 4TD 0int 126.0 rating

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Nelson's yds/game increased from 59 in games 1 through 7 to 93.5 yds per game over the last nine. During the 6 game winning streak, AR's passer rating when throwing to Nelson was 151.8 and Nelson led the entire NFL in receiving yards for those 6 games with 594 yards. Nelson yds per target went way up, while his yds per reception went down. Adams receiving yards went down 30% over the last 9 games, but his yds/rec went up. Cobb only played in 3 of the 6 game winning streak, and his yards per game went way down. Cook's yds/game went up significantly.

Johnblood27's picture

Nice article David, one of the best I have read on Cheesehead TV, and I have read a lot!

Spock's picture

I just feel so blessed as a Packers' fan to have seen such great QB play. Heck, even Majik and Lynn Dickey were fun to watch, but Favre and Rodgers have just been mind blowing; Favre for his boyish love of the game and Rodgers for his complete mastery of the position. I forget the amount of QB's Da Bears have gone through in the Favre/Rodgers span but if I recall correctly it's something like 20+ . Just incredible.

Lphill's picture

Mark Murphy and Ted Thompson should read this,they refuse to give Rodgers a defense to support the offense . Let's see how this season goes, the Patriots always seem year after year to do what's necessary for Brady . Murphy and Thompson just don't get it.

MarkLee22's picture

Let me start with saying I worshipped Brett Favre. The whole "gunslinger" persona fit him perfectly. I got to accept the interceptions because I just knew he would make up for it. But I was ready for ARod after Favre flip-flopped with the retirement issues.

And I was disgusted with some of our fans when Rodgers took over. He wasn't perfect his first year. Nobody ever is. But what we have seen over the years is the closest to perfection any QB has ever been. It would be nice to maybe have an even respectable defense to back him up. Maybe get another Ring or two, and finally shut up the critics who say he will never be considered as the greatest because of the lack of championships. I would have loved to have seen what Brady could have done with the defenses that ARod had behind him. Certainly not win five Rings.

Either way, as Packer fans we will be spoiled forever, from what we have witnessed with Rodgers as our QB.

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