This Week’s Sign Of The A-Pack-alypse: Aaron Rodgers Is Better Than Brett Favre Ever Was

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Checkmate, Brett. CHECK. MATE.

Sorry Aaron.  I hate to keep doing this to you and bringing the guy up, but once I get this out of my system you will never hear about him from me again. I promise. Unless of course he does something else stupid and deserves to be subject to scorn and ridicule. Then it’s fair ball.

It’s official. Polls are closed and the results are clear.

Aaron Rodgers is better than Brett Favre ever was.

Am I letting an 8-0 start and an overall 14 game winning streak go to my head? I can say with great certainty that I am not.  It’s something I have been thinking about the past few weeks but couldn’t work up enough courage to go on record with such a bold statement.

After his performance against the Chargers, that courage can be considered summoned.

Ignore the statistics for a moment. Think back to 1995-1997 when Favre was at the peak of his powers. He won three straight MVP awards, won one Super Bowl and appeared in another.  It’s similar to how Rodgers’ current path is playing out. Hopefully this time there won’t be a Super Bowl defeat, though.

Think about how you felt back then watching Favre play.  Though you had confidence Favre would make a play, a part of you was still sick to your stomach every time he would drop back to pass.  His reckless first couple years as a starter scarred Packer fans forever though many didn’t come to realize it until years later.

With Rodgers (at least for me), it has taken a considerable amount of time to break the habit of nearly having a heart attack every time a Packers quarterback drops back to pass.  It’s nothing against Rodgers but rather an indictment of the guy before him.  Favre scared us all to death during games yet he was worshipped as an idol.

Instead, watching Rodgers play is starting to become anticlimactic.  He is about 10 times smarter with the ball when his predecessor was and has such an accurate arm that it’s becoming expected balls thrown into double coverage end up complete.  There’s still that moment of panic but that moment lasts shorter and shorter with each game featuring Rodgers under center.

Of course, there will be a time when Rodgers comes back to earth. Or at least I think so. As good as he is playing, it still seems kind of crazy to expect Rodgers to maintain this pace for the next 10 years or so.  There are a lot of smart coaches in the NFL and someone will figure out how to stop him or at least slow him down.

Then again, no one can predict the future. Perhaps we are watching Rodgers revolutionize the quarterback position.  The man himself keeps saying he can improve and that he as well as the team has to get better.  I don’t seem to recall Favre saying the same thing.  He was a cowboy at heart, telling teams to bring it on and that if you bet against him, you will lose.

From his decision making to his mindset to his athletic skills and everything in between, Rodgers is better than Favre ever was.  Rodgers, despite a stellar postseason and Super Bowl MVP, remains hungry and plays with a proverbial chip on his shoulder thanks to being overlooked by so many during his rise to the top of NFL.  There is very little evidence to think that will change any time soon.

Meanwhile, as his legend grew, Favre started feeling more and more entitled.   He got a locker separate from the rest of the team, and don’t forget his shenanigans leading up to the 2008 season opener.  Throw in his hijacking of the Vikings franchise and you get my point.

There is also the argument Rodgers has more weapons than Favre did.  Let’s compare: Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, Jermichael Finley, and James Jones. In Favre’s corner: Antonio Freeman, Robert Brooks, Keith Jackson, Driver, and Jennings. He also for short periods had Andre Rison and Sterling Sharpe.  Honestly, this argument is a wash.  Both quarterbacks had good receivers, but Rodgers is much better at getting more out of them thanks to his accuracy.

My point here is not to further tarnish the legacy of Favre, but rather to boldly declare that Favre needs to move down the bench.  The move from Favre to Rodgers is almost like upgrading to a newer model of the same car.  You get the same reliable features and the ones that didn’t work or got outdated were replaced with newer and more modern parts.

At the rate he’s going right now, Rodgers is a Lamborghini. Let’s hope McCarthy keeps his foot planted firmly on the gas pedal of the Packers’ high octane offense.  If he does, the rest of the NFL will be eating green and gold dust.

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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.

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  • Tarynfor 12

    Read the title and stopped reading.

  • john driscoll austin texas

    interesting commentary…and a Happy 60th birthday to Larry McCarren !!!!

  • noVee

    Between this article and your undeserved bashing of Walden, perhaps you should rest your fingers for a bit, Kris.

    • Kris Burke

      Thanks for the feedback. I write with passion and sometimes that clouds my thoughts.

  • Ron LC

    I expect that in the next movie Freddie Kruger will be wearing a purple #4 jersey. That SOB will never die.

  • Dan C

    I’ve been thinking the same thing for a few weeks myself.. Rodgers is better now than Favre ever was. I would say that an analysis of the receiver talent between the two – A-Rod’s compliment now and Favre’s from 95-97. In your article, you compare A-Rods current receivers with the best of all Farve’s receivers during his career… Keith Jackson, Sharpe, Brooks were not on the same team at any time as Driver and Jennings. Who was Favre’s receivers during his best year? Lets honestly compare that with the current Pack receivers. I would guess the current group is better. Does that mean Favre was better or as good as A-Rod now? No. I think your main point about how mistake prone Favre means even with better receivers, A-Rod is playing better than Favre ever did. Take a look at the TD/INT ratio over the best years. It will be like night and day.

    • Kris Burke

      Well, the big thing with Favre was how me made supposed mediocre receivers look great. Remember Freeman in Philadelphia? Not a knock on Free, but there is something to that. Rodgers’ current cast was raised together instead of thrown together like Favre’s

      • Oppy

        There has always been the statements that Favre made his receivers.

        Their is truth to that. However, my take has been that those WR’s he “made great” were not a product of a great technician at the QB position placing balls in impossible windows with pin-point accuracy…

        No; what Favre did to “make” those WR’s great was he gave them opportunities to make plays that most WR’s would never be given by most QB’s.

        Those opportunities were things like just throwing a ball underhand like a sack of wet bread while you’re being tackled even when you can’t see past the swarm of D-linemen surround you, or just putting the ball up high in the air and down the field 45 yards into double, triple, or even quadruple coverage.

        Brett made a lot of throws that no other QB would have dared attempted, nor should they. He tossed up a lot of ugly throws that gave his WR’s the opportunity to make an amazing play on the ball. When they didn’t, it was an incomplete pass at best (those times when you would just have a WTF was he thinking moment and then a sigh of relief nothing bad happened), but at worst, an interception. When the WR somehow made the crazy triple coverage, off the defender’s helmet, off the tip of the WR’s toe into his hands catch, it was a part of the growing legend. Simply put, those WR’s had a lot of chances to make amazing catches because no one else in the NFL was reckless enough to make those throws. I believe the WR’s did plenty to make their QB look good, too.

        In the case of the current WR corps that Rodgers has been blessed with, I tend to agree that they are truly heads and tails better as a group than anything Favre ever had to throw to. Ron Wolf has commented that he wishes he would have surrounded Favre with more weapons in retrospect (a lesson TT clearly learned from his mentor and took to heart.)

        With that in mind- I will say this… We won’t know for sure if these WR’s are truly as gifted as they seem to be until a few of them break away from the Packers and play with other QB’s.

        With the insane accuracy and anticipation Rodgers displays on a nearly every down basis, it is entirely possible that he is making his WR’s great, albeit it an entirely different, and entirely more impressive fashion than Favre did with his WR’s.

  • WillieWood

    So far during this season, Rodgers is playing better than ANY quarterback has ever played, but the season is only half-over. And, while his ball security is much better than Favre’s ever was, it is far too early to definitively state that Rodgers is better than Favre. Longevity needs to be a component. Favre was absolutely brilliant for a total of 5 seasons (’95, ’96, ’97, ’07, ’09) and was very good for 10 additional seasons. I hope that Rodgers can continue on his current path for a few more seasons. Then we will be able to state that he was the best.

  • Mr. Bacon

    At the current moment here is my take between Rodgers vs. Favre.

    Rodgers is more accurate, while Favre was more powerful

    Rodgers is more mobile, while Favre was more pocket passer

    Rodgers while wise has a fear of interceptions, Favre had a trigger finger which was high risk while high reward

    Rodgers doesn’t have a good timer in his head yet when to just give up, Favre while a risk taker knew at times when to throw it away

    Both Quarterbacks will make it to Canton I believer, but its hard to compare Favre to Rodgers when their skillsets are different for the position.

    Instead of saying who was better, both should be admired for helping Green Bay rise from the dumps to its rightful place as THE FRANCHISE.

    • Oppy

      This is a pretty fair assessment, but this:

      “Rodgers is more accurate, while Favre was more powerful”

      I thoroughly disagree with this. Before Rodgers’ got his opportunity to start, the Packers WR’s were talking about the fact that A-rod throws the ball as hard if not harder than Favre, and Rodgers has proven numerous times he can heave the ball as far down field as Favre ever did. The difference is Rodgers can put it on a dime more often than not, even when he’s heaving it with all he’s got.

      QB’s around the league, even those who’ve played against Favre in his day, talk about Rodgers’ having a cannon as strong as any they’ve seen.

      • Mr. Bacon

        I say Favre is more powerful, as in Rodgers last game.

        Nelson had to undercut the route to catch Rodgers pass. This was on a neutral foot. Favre, when on his neutral could really heave the ball over the opponents shoulder. The reason why it seems it is faster is Rodgers does a fine job of spiraling the ball.

  • Mojo

    Kris, agree with everything you wrote. For Brent lovers this is not a bashing of the dongslinger, but an acknowledgement of how great Rodgers has become. If you are real Packer fans you should be rejoicing in that though.

  • mcs

    How old are you Kris? You claim to remember Favre, but your comments regaring his play seem biased to his post-2000 career. Let’s say that you do remember Favre’s entire career. Do you remember the 20 years before Favre?

    Favre/White/Holmgren/ and especially Wolf can be credited with bringing Green Bay back to relevence again. That is not something to be overlooked when assessing the man’s career.

    Don’t let his end-of-his-Packer-days career tarnish your hindsight. Instead recall the 3:1 TD:Int ratio for three straight seasons. As I recall, 3:1 is pretty damn good considering the era. Also recall the likes of Randy Wright, Rich Campbell, Mike Tomczak. Hell, go way back and think about David Whitehurst.

    Yes, Rodgers is having a season for the record books. Yes, Rodgers is taking care of the football at a rate unseen of anywhere in the NFL, not just Favre. Yes, Rodgers may end up having a better career than Favre. But… one season does not a career make.

    For the record, I am a huge fan of Aaron Rodgers. I like what I’ve seen regarding his leadership. I like his sense of humor (especially Czar Rodgers http://mydcc.blogspot.com/2011/08/stache-masters-aaron-rodgers-and-his.html). Most of all, I like the fact that he has never quit. He has had to work hard to get where he is and I respect that.

    Rodgers has been disrespected for a long time (including by many Packer fans) and is deserving of the accolades he receives.

    Let him stand on his own greatness rather than comparing him to others.

    -Mike

    • Kris Burke

      I was nine years old when Favre came on the scene in 1992. I remember his first game very clearly. I also remember all the interceptions, followed by three brilliant years and then a slow decline that started in 2000 and snowballed except for 2007. He had good years, but his knack for the backbreaking interception only grew stronger

  • Hbuff

    Can we not just agree that we have been very lucky to have so many great QB’s in our franchise’s history? Are we going to compare Aaron to Starr or Herber next? Let it go guys and enjoy what Aaron is doing. Being and “OLD” Packer fan, I have not forgotten what Starr did for the team and I have not forgotten what Brett did for us. What Aaron is doing now reminds me a lot of what Brett was doing in the mid 1990’s, just in a different way.

    GO PACK GO

    • Kris Burke

      Fantastic point. We’ve been very VERY blessed. A transition from one hall of famer to another (potential) one is very very rare and we should count our blessings. Just ask a Dolphins or Broncos fan how they’ve fared post-Marino and Elway.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Well said, Hbuff, but it’s still fun to talk about…

  • http://none GalaxyM81

    It is TIME to let go of Favre! Farve is Favre and lets let Rodgers be Rodgers!

    When Farve was in his hey day, we all pulled for him because he gave the Packers their best chance to win.

    Now, Aaron gives the Packers their best chance to win. Do I think Aaron gives the Packers a greater chance of winning than Favre, YES! Why??? Because Aaron is more accurate with his throws and protects the ball much better. Does not throw the ball up for grabs and if some of you have not notice, you don’t see Aaron fumbling the ball as much as Farve did when he gets hit from the blind side or getting the ball knocked out of his hands as much.

    All this adds up to one major thing, more WINS! And that is what it is all about.

  • Steve Cheez

    Rodgers doesn’t start the game so amped up that he sails his first three passes into the first row…

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      not any more, anyway…

  • Stu

    I think we can all agree that Aaron Rodgers leads a pious lifestyle!

  • Chad Lundberg

    Why is anyone so offended by the mere mention of Brett Favre? Sheesh. Instead of everyone saying he needs to go away, why don’t people just get over it already?

    Yes, we’ve heard about him so much that it’s beyond the point of ridiculousness, but why the comments like “the SOB just won’t die”????

    It’s not like the guy committed a crime.

  • Dan

    Let’s have this conversation 4-5 years from now. We owe Favre that respect. He was great during his 3 MVP years. In 07&09 he was also very good but he threw game ending picks in the NFC championship games. I do get your point , I think Arod will end up being the better QB. I just don’t see Rodgers giving away games like Bret did.

  • PackersRS

    For the ones that has watched both play and knows something about QB play, there’s no doubt. You can’t compare careers yet, but as far as level of QB play and everything it goes with it (mechanics, accuracy, arm strenght, pocket presence, pre-snap reads, post-snap reads, decision-making, etc…), it’s not even debateable. And this is the biggest reason why: http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcnorth/post/_/id/34068/rodgerswatch-accuracy-decisions

    You can argue innate ability, you can argue “if both were given a new team and a new offense”, but, with so much familiarity with his players and the scheme, these first 8 games have been simply historical, best 8 game stretch a QB has ever had, the consistancy no matter what circumstances is just remarkable. Every single aspect of QB play Rodgers is the best at, and, like I’ve mentioned before, the two most important aspects of QB play, accuracy and decision-making, he might very well be the best of all time. I can list a lot of things, as best INT% of all time, least number of balls deflected/intercepted in the league since becoming a starter, etc…

    The most staggering stats are his YPA and completion percentage. To lead the league in both, way ahead of everyone else, and ahead of everyone else all time, is just mind-boggling.

    No single QB has had a better stretch of games, starting with the postseason, winning the SB last year up till now, than Aaron Rodgers.

    • PackersRS

      *have and know… sigh…

  • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

    Although I believe that Rodgers is better than Favre right now, I will wait for SB win #2 before I say it.

  • Pete Kliman

    Let’s add two things to the table,durability & longevity.Also, most of the rec. you mentioned were not with Favre for that long ,with the exception of Freeman & Sharpe.One thing that Rogers, I hope, never had to indure is the terrible team he inherited were he had to run for his life every week.It’s not fair to both QBs to keep comparing them this early .When fairly comparing any QB to Favre the other player has to have a lg body of work.So far so good.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Agree Pete. While talent-wise it appears Rodgers will prove to be the better player, let’s let the next few years play out…