Rodgers and Favre at 31 – Same Age But Different Results

CBS Sports recently had an interesting feature predicting the number of wins for each of the NFL teams this year including the Green Bay Packers. Per Bovada Sports Book the over/under for the Packers season is 11 wins. The CBS Sports experts chose the ‘over’ for the Packers – meaning that their expectation is for 12-16 wins. The Packers have only won as many as 12 games in a season three times in the McCarthy era. 12 is a lofty number indeed.

Should the Packers reach that number it will equal the Packers win total under quarterback Brett Favre when he was 31 years old. In 2001 Favre was the same age as Rodgers is this year – 31 about to turn 32. Rodgers will turn 32 on December 2.

In 2001 Favre had already won Super Bowl XXXI in 1996 with the expectation to win even more during his Packers career. But as we now know it was his only SB victory.

Favre’s 2001 team finished 12-4-0 good for 2nd in NFC Central Division. They finished second to the Bears who were 13-3. The Bears lasted only one game in the playoffs where they were trounced by the Philadelphia Eagles 33-19.

That Packers offense scored 390 points (24.4/g), 5th in the NFL. The defense allowed 266 points (16.6/g) which was also 5th in the league. Differential of 124 points (7.8/g), 6th in the league. They too were predicted to win 11 games that year.

The parallels to the makeup of the 2001 Packers team and this year’s squad are very similar.

Favre had his strongest offensive line combination in Clifton, Wahle, Flanigan, Rivera, and Tauscher. It went on to become the finest offensive line in 20 years.

This year’s OL with another year of experience together is expected to return in tact offering Rodgers the best offensive line of his career.

The playmakers then and now were also similar in talent.

Favre’s receivers were Freeman, Bradford, Schroeder, and TE Franks. Running backs were Ahman Green and Dorsey Levens with big FB William Henderson blocking. The sum total was pretty effective.

The Packers primary receivers this year have been rated by Bleacher Report as the best in the NFL with Cobb, Nelson, Adams, and R.Rodgers at TE. The running backs of Lacy and Starks compares favorably to Favre’s double threat duo as does the fullback. Given our perspective today, this year’s talent should surpass that of the 2001 squad.

The Minister of Defense Reggie White had moved on by this time, but the defense was strong. Vonnie Holiday, Gilbert Brown, Darren Sharper, LeRoy Butler, Tyrone Williams and Bernardo Harris formed a solid nucleus.

The Packers defense of 2015 lacks the big name recognition of the 2001 club, but there is reason to believe that the defense can become a top-ten outfit once again. Favre’s defense was probably better than this year’s bunch.

This however is where the similarities will end.

The pieces were there in 2001 for a second Favre Super Bowl run.

The Packers defeated the 49’ers in the Wild Card game at Lambeau Field. They advanced to face off against the St. Louis Rams.

The Kurt Warner lead Rams, the self-proclaimed Greatest Show on Turf, steam-rolled to a league-best 14-2 record. The Packers ended up losing to the Rams 45-17.  The Rams eventually went on to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

That Rams game may have been Favre’s worst game in a Packers uniform. Although he threw two touchdowns he also threw six interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns, In addition the Packers fumbled the ball 3 times with the Rams recovering on two of those occasions.

One can easily envision the Packers winning 12 during the upcoming season.

The offense returns intact. The defense seems poised to make a strong push to prominence once again. The special teams cannot be worse than they were last year – so by default will be better.

Should the Pack indeed win 12 games it is hard to envision that record not earning a bye in the NFC. It is also inconceivable that the ever-careful Aaron Rodgers would ever self-destruct as Favre ended up doing against the Rams. The Packers may lose games, but most often it is not directly attributed to Rodgers miscues.

Will it be enough for a Super Bowl victory this year? According to betting site Bovada, the Packers are 7-1 odds to win it all, bested only by NFC nemesis Seattle Seahawks listed at 6-1. I am not a betting man, but I like the Rodgers to accomplish what Favre could not at the same age.

That is to conclude the season with a Super Bowl victory.


Jeff Albrecht grew up just north of Green Bay and was lucky enough to attend some of the Lombardi Era classic games, like the 1962 championship and the Ice Bowl. Jeff went on to play HS football in the Green Bay area and College ball at UW - Stevens Point. Jeff is retired but still does some writing for his local paper. Jeff is a writer with and you can follow him on twitter at @pointerjeff .


17 thoughts on “Rodgers and Favre at 31 – Same Age But Different Results

  1. As long as we have A. Rodgers we have a legitimate shot at winning the SB every season. In 2015 the keys for the Packers will be:
    1. Remaining relatively injury free as in 2014. In particular Rodgers and the OL need to remain healthy.
    2. Continued improvement on defense, especially overall tackling and stopping the run.
    3. Improved Special Teams play. Since we were last in STs in 2014 we have no where to go but up, hopefully.
    4. Play 60 minutes with purpose regardless of the score or the opponent.
    Hopefully, the above results in home field advantage during the playoffs and an SB run. However, it’s way too soon to tell, especially with the as yet unanswered questions about the defense and STs. Thanks, Since ’61

    1. Since ’61 — well said as usual. Have you heard anything about the Packers continuing with the yoga? The improved flexibility seemed to help reduce injuries last year.

      1. As far as I know the Packers are continuing with the yoga program. Thanks, Since ’61

    2. Great thoughts, S61, but I’m going to add one:

      5. The red zone offense needs to become more deadly. There were several games last season, including the NFCCG, that were lost because of the inability of the offense to punch the ball in, by ground or air. This team should not have to settle for 3. Ever.

  2. Interesting similarities you’ve noted. I can definitely see this year’s team surpassing the 2001 team. My expectation for this season is a Super Bowl win — nothing less.

    Super Bowl or bust!!

  3. Lot of similarities, I agree. But one very, very big difference. Bears are destined to be last in the NFC North, not even close to 13-3 record!

  4. The amount of games we win will be directly related to how soon they decide to go to prevent offense. Prevent defense is common but a prevent offense is insane. We can thank MM for inventing the prevent offense and I believe it is here to stay. Trying to be nice and not run up the score will eventually bite you in the ass. Being a lovey dovey coach translates to the players as well. Look at our defense, we have one maybe 2 players that play with heart and have a little mean streak to go along with it. The defense plays not to offend the other team. They would rather dry hump them instead of tackle them. The defense should instill a little fear into the opposing team. I hope this year is different. When B.J. slobby is getting pushed around like a rag doll I expect MM to kick his ballsack. We need a nasty streak to visit our defense.

  5. Comparisons of a team,individual player.offense,defense,special teams etc are all well and good to a point if only to make the adrenaline flow more rapid to heighten hope.

    The monkey on the back needs to be shed,as Steve Young once proclaimed finally doing so,and the Packers have endured to date two monkeys riding atop their backs.One,San Francisco has self imploded,assumed at least by what has been likened to the Exodus and the other,number two being Seattle,a team that has myself at times,hearing Adrian scream from atop the stairs and down to Rocky,”You Can’t Win” as he decided to fight the ogre named Drago or to the Packers and their fans,the Seahawks.

    Week 2 this season will afford a huge opportunity to at least show a possibility of shedding the monkey in part,by winning in Green bay and bolstering confidence that the likely second meeting in January 2016 will have the same result wherever played.Failing to achieve this win in week 2 will make comparisons such as in the article irrelevant,except that neither Favre or Rodgers won a Super Bowl in their age years of going from 31 to 32.

    The slow start that has been subject of another article where the Packers have gone 1-2 the last few years which could be of no consequence this season if it comes about again come September as long as the one win is against the monkey that rides on our back.Another loss could have season long haunts of viewing death of hopes again. 🙂

  6. We remember the names with nostalgia sometimes. As to the WRs, Freeman was almost done. Schroeder was arguably better, but not tougher. Corey Bradford was okay and ended up catching 31 passes for a 17 yd average. This is what Wolf meant when he said Favre needed better WRs. I’d guess Richard Rodgers is already a better receiver than Bubba Franks, but Bubba was at least a decent if not great blocker and Bubba had the all-important knack for finding the end zone (9 TDs that year). Martin was a young TE and didn’t do much. I’d take the 2015 over 2001 WRs and TEs, and it is not real close.

    Ahman Green was a better runner with break away speed and better receiver than Lacy was last year. Levens was still pretty good but it was his last year in GB. He was a better receiver than Starks, better blocker, and it is close in terms of pure runner. I’d probably take Levens over Starks. I’d say that Henderson was better than Kuhn, in terms of receiving and run blocking, maybe not about pass protection. I’d take 2001 over 2015, but it is close.

    Clifton would become a franchise LOT, but he was coming off his rookie yr. in 2001. This is pre-injury Clifton who was a really good run blocker, not the guy we remember who was elite in pass protection and so-so run blocker. Wahle was good (but he would get better) and Rivera was close to elite. Flanagan was not the starter in 2000 but he ended up being pretty good. Tauscher was surprisingly effective. I’d say the OLs were close but I am not sure. I think I like 2015 OL better (at OC, RG). Favre had a pretty good regular season (32 TDs, 15 Ints, 21 sacks), but I’ll take Aaron Rodgers over Favre, especially in the postseason.

    No reason to do the defense. 2001 was better than 2015 is likely to be. I would be happy if 2015’s defense ranked anywhere in the teens.

  7. It’s interesting to compare teams. But, that 2001 squad was decimated at the WR position by the time we got to that Rams game. They had been working with smoke and mirrors for weeks. Weaknesses get exposed in the playoffs and Favre forced throws when he had no one open. It’s probably why Sherman moved to a run heavy offense in 2002 and 03.

    P.S. The offensive skill positions aren’t comparable at all. I guess you would take the 2001 RB group over our current one, but only by a bit. But at WR? Antonio Freeman is the only one who would make out team this year and he would be fighting Davonte for WR3 playing time.

    1. I am sure Favre appreciates your support 13trophies. I recall that none of those interceptions were actually on Favre. They were all caused by the receivers running the wrong routes.

  8. Always have thought Brett got a bit of a bad shake as regards that Rams game. If i recall right, possibly all 6 of those interceptions were accurate, if not precisely good passes. I say that because of course Brett threw the ball really hard at times. My memory just has alot of deflections and that sort of thing as regards that day. And of course once you get significantly behind against the Rams offense of the time, in their building, you’re probably going to have to start throwing the ball.

    1. Yep Ray, I went over the film of that game in my basement. All 6, I repeat ALL 6 of those interceptions were again not on Brett but on the receivers for running the wrong routes. Brett Favre is not responsible in my book though it will say it in the record books. The receivers should be ashamed of themselves for not being prepared and making Brett look bad. At least Brett never took responsibility for the int’s afterwards in the post game interviews. The great ones never do.

      1. Cool Ted. Yeah I have a stupid amount of vhs tape from that entire Brett era too. Though significant beatings like that got taped over. I would swear I remember direct strikes, (very possibly thrown too hard, not sure)bouncing off of guys. As I recall it was a competent, not awesome, group of receivers around that time. In fairness the Rams were REALLY good at the time, but likely it should have been alot closer. I am certain it was a really entertaining season as pretty much every one since 92 has been so, no harm really.

        1. ” I would swear I remember direct strikes,”

          Yep again Ray, you are correct. Brett did throw direct strikes but they were to the other team as the communication was off due to wrong routes. Two of them did bounce off Ram’s defenders which the Packers receivers did catch luckily. All in all a rough outing by the Packer’s receivers. I may also add the Packer’s receivers did a piss poor job of tackling the corners and safeties that game as two pinpoint accurarate passes of Bretts were returned for td’s. Is it any wonder Brett left that game in St. Louis and returned home in his private jet until the following season. He was steamed at the receivers no doubt.

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