As of the time of this writing, rumors continue to circulate that the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets are close to finalizing a trade that will send Aaron Rodgers to the Jets. Whether that ultimately happens or not, one thing is certain, Rodgers’ has secured his legacy as an all-time great Packer.
Rodgers started 223 games for the Packers since taking over as the team’s starting quarterback in 2008 and has a regular season record of 147-75-1 as a starter. He’s thrown for 59,055 yards and 475 touchdowns while throwing only 105 interceptions and his career quarterback rating is 103.6.
There is no doubt that Rodgers will be a first ballot Hall of Famer and he will be considered one of the most talented and effective quarterbacks in the history of the game.
Rodgers won four league MVPs with the Packers, was named to the Pro Bowl 10 times and All Pro four times. He was also the MVP of Super Bowl XLV.
He has led the Packers to one Super Bowl title and five NFC Championship Games. The Packers made the playoffs 11 times in his 15 seasons as the team’s starter and twice when they missed the postseason, Rodgers missed significant parts of the season due to injuries.
His playoff stats are a 12-10 record in 22 games while passing for 5,894 yards, 45 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while having a quarterback rating of 100.1.
The relationship between Rodgers and the Packers front office has not always been smooth and both sides are partially responsible for that fact. And while these breakdowns in communication and issues with attitudes on both sides have caused tension that may ultimately lead to a split, it won’t have a long-term impact on what Rodgers meant to the team once a few years pass.
The divorce between the Packers and Brett Favre was undoubtedly messier than what is happening with Rodgers. Favre retired and unretired several times and made each situation into a drama.
What was worse to Packers fans at the time, Favre ended up playing for the division rival Minnesota Vikings and faced the Packers twice per year while leading the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game in 2009.
Despite fans feeling Favre betrayed them by playing for the Vikings and the boos he received for several years after that, the organization and Favre mended ways before the Kiln, Mississippi native was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Fans welcomed Favre back with open arms during his jersey retirement ceremony and he is now remembered fondly for his on the field contributions for the Packers.
Right now, the Packers fan base is divided about Rodgers. Some fans are frustrated by some of the things Rodgers did or didn’t do off the field or what they perceive as his selfish or diva-like attitude. Others think the team continuously let Rodgers down by not using enough high draft picks on wide receivers and other weapons to help him win a second Super Bowl.
If Rodgers goes to the Jets or any other team, it will certainly feel strange for the Packers fans and at first, probably for Rodgers as well. But after AR-12 retires and a few years go by, the memories Rodgers created for Packers fans will linger and the disputes and spats over OTAs or draft picks or contract negotiations will fade.
Packers fans will recall Rodgers dominating the Atlanta Falcons in the 2010 playoffs, his MVP performance in the Super Bowl against the Steelers and the sight of Rodgers eluding the rush and heaving a Hail Mary downfield to Richard Rodgers to beat the Lions on the final play of the game at Ford Field. Rodgers telling Bears fans “I still own you” or telling Packers fans and the media to “R-E-L-A-X” after the team got off to a slow start and then leading the team to the playoffs with a late season run.
With Rodgers as the Packers starting quarterback, the team always had a chance to win not just the game they were playing but to win a championship. His excellent play at quarterback made the team perennial contenders for 15 years.
Regardless of whether he retires, continues to play for the Packers in 2023 or is traded before the season starts, Rodgers’ legacy in Green Bay is secure. He is an all-time great Packer and will be the next Packers player to have his jersey number retired.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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