Aaron Rodgers (Tom Pennington/Getty)
Aaron Rodgers has completed the difficult task of replacing a legend in Green Bay, but he’s still answering questions about his predecessor. The media just can’t get enough of Favre, even if he is retired.
The unfortunate aspect of the Packers’ improbable Super Bowl run as a No. 6 seed is that the specter of Brett Favre remains. What makes Aaron Rodgers’ Super Bowl run bittersweet is that, despite being one of the league’s best quarterbacks all three years as a starter, when he appeared at Media Day Tuesday, he was peppered with questions about replacing Favre.
You can’t blame the media for jumping on the story angle, even though, at this point, the line of questioning is pretty lame since Favre is three years removed from being the Packers quarterback. The Packers have clearly moved on. Unfortunately, the curmudgeons in the media have found it much more difficult.
Replacing a QB legend with a young replacement has always been difficult. They have yet to do it in Denver and Miami and it’s been more than a decade since John Elway hung it up and almost as long since Dan Marino rode off into the sunset. It took Dallas years to replace Troy Aikman and it took an undrafted prospect like Tony Romo to finally get that accomplished.
What Rodgers has accomplished in replacing a legend is epic by just about any standard one would set. He has posted excellent passer ratings all three seasons and has played extremely well in the postseason when it is needed the most. The Packers knew they were going to alienate some of their fan base – if not the majority of it – by moving on and not allowing Favre to return from an announced retirement and handing the keys to the franchise to Rodgers. In hindsight, the Packers made the right move.
While Vikings fans aren’t happy to see their hated rivals in the Super Bowl, they have to tip their hat to Rodgers. The Vikings are in the position where they’re going to have to replace Favre at QB and that could easily be a struggle that takes a couple of years to accomplish. Rodgers was able to get the Packers to the playoffs in his second year as a starter and to the Super Bowl in the third – a Herculean accomplishment to say the least.
It seems clear the Packers have moved forward without Favre. Perhaps it’s time for the media to accept it and move on as well, allowing Rodgers to enjoy the spotlight instead of having to answer questions about the guy he replaced. With a win Sunday, Rodgers will bury all speculation about the decision and, after far too long, emerge from the long shadow cast by Favre and start building his own legacy in Green Bay.
If the Packers win Sunday’s Super Bowl, they will become just the third team to have three different quarterbacks win a Super Bowl game – Bart Starr won the first two Super Bowls and Favre won one as well. The other two teams? The Giants (Phil Simms, Jeff Hostetler, Eli Manning) and the Redskins (Joe Theismann, Doug Williams, Mark Rypien).
While almost assuredly unintentional, if Favre didn’t feel humbled enough by the Packers going to the Super Bowl while he was still playing, his longtime friend Donald Driver threw him under the bus Wednesday. When asked about the Packers’ loss in the 2007 NFC Championship Game, Driver told reporters that, had Favre thrown an accurate pass, he’s convinced the Packers would have won the game, and, after Favre left the team, he thought his chance to get to a Super Bowl might be over.
“I remember the ball was thrown behind me,” Driver said Wednesday. “I thought if he threw it outside, I would’ve gone for another 90-yard touchdown like I did earlier in the game. Unfortunately, it was behind me and got picked off. In that moment, you know it’s over. You drop your head, you go to the sideline and you think, ‘The kid can’t miss another field goal.’ He had missed so many that game.”
The kicker he spoke of, Lawrence Tynes, had missed two earlier field goals from almost automatic distances – 43 and 36 yards – including the 36-yard miss with no time left on the clock that sent the game to overtime in the first place. Like or not, the Packers hold a little resentment for Favre for the last pass he threw in an NFC Championship Game. In that respect, history repeated itself last year.
Perhaps one of the more humorous side notes of the Vikings stadium issue has become the sudden squawking point for the Timberwolves and St. Paul Saints, who both are looking for enhanced deals at their current digs in the latest Legislative session.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.