“Where the HELL is Aaron Rodgers?!”
It made (and still makes) absolutely no sense to me. He was number two in fan voting amongst NFC quarterbacks and instead was named a first alternate.
Taking the fan voting into consideration, there is only one way Rodgers missed out on the original roster: the other players and coaches on other teams didn’t think he was worthy enough to participate in the game unless one of the three selected either gets hurt, plays in Super Bowl XLV the following weeks, or just decides not to go but who does that? Oh yeah, sorry Brett.
In other words: Rodgers got snubbed. By his own peers.
Upon thinking about it that way, I smiled. Rodgers is at his best when he has a chip on his shoulder. When fans were skeptical of him after the Favre trade in 2008, he played very well despite a poor defense and a 6-10 record. When skeptics and supposed “analysts” doubted his athleticism coming out of college, Rodgers worked to become one of the most agile quarterbacks outside the pocket. When others said he wouldn’t beat his predecessor, Rodgers dominated him statistically this season.
So when I saw that Rodgers had been snubbed from the Pro Bowl, all I could think was, “God help the Chicago Bears.”
Even though he is by all definitions a team player and puts the team above his own individual stats, Rodgers must be steamed about this one. Here he is playing on an offense playing most of the season without its starting running back, starting tight end who is one of the biggest weapons in the league, and starting right tackle. Until the past two weeks he has had no running game to support him and has had to carry the entire team on his right arm.
Ever since the Favregate drama of 2008 unfold, Rodgers has carried himself with class and dignity on and off the field and handled taking over the starting job brilliantly under the most adverse of circumstances. He’s made it a point to try and earn the respect of not only his teammates and coaches, but of his peers around the league.
Despite all his efforts, it seems his peers have blown him off when it comes to the Pro Bowl.
So what is Rodgers going to do about it? Knowing him, I bet he’s thinking “Alrighty, screw them, let’s go win us a Super Bowl.” In other words, he’s going to take it out on the rest of the league and may God help them.
Even though making the Pro Bowl is an achievement to be proud of, Rodgers said last year that to a player everyone participating in the Pro Bowl would much rather have been participating in the game that actually counted the following week. Any pro football player worth a damn knows that while individual accolades are all well and good, it’s the Lombardi Trophy that matters the most. Any quarterback will tell you that throwing for 5,000 yards in a season feels empty without a ring.
Rodgers knows this better than most in Green Bay. His starting career has begun faster than anyone in league history. He is averaging over 4,000 yards and over 25 TD passes a year. Would he trade in some yards and some touchdown passes for just one shot at the Super Bowl?
Darn right he would.
Pro Bowls and MVP awards are not what Aaron Rodgers wants. He wants Super Bowls. Plural.
In the mind of No. 12, it’s still “XLV or DIE.”——————
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke