Aaron Rodgers: His Rise to Superstardom

Oct 14, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) passes against the Houston Texans during the third quarter at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

Aaron Rodgers wasn’t always such a star throughout his life. He wasn’t heavily recruited coming out of high school; in fact, the only Division 1 football opportunity Rodgers had was to walk on at the University of Illinois. To get to know the real Aaron Rodgers you have to go all the way back to 1983.

On Dec. 2, 1983, Aaron Rodgers was born to Darla and Ed Rodgers. He was the second of three children in the Rodgers household. Rodgers grew up idolizing the San Francisco 49ers because he was from northern California. He learned the game of football from his father, who was an offensive lineman in college and even played semi-pro football.

In high school, Rodgers attended Pleasant Valley, which is located in Rodgers’s hometown of Chico, Calif. Rodgers only started two seasons at Pleasant Valley. In his senior season, Rodgers threw for a school record 2,303 yards. Rodgers was not only a star on the field, but he was also a star in the classroom. Rodgers was an “A” student achieving a 3.6 GPA in high school and also scored a 1300 on his SAT.

Rodgers graduated in 2002, and to his dismay wasn’t offered a scholarship to play football anywhere. Rodgers decided to stay in Chico and attend Butte Community College, which is about 25 miles from his home. It was at Butte that Rodgers finally got noticed by some of the larger division 1 schools. Rodgers threw 26 touchdowns his freshman season and led Butte to second place in the national rankings.

His remarkable freshman season caught the eye of one particular coach, Jeff Tedford, who happened to be the head coach at the University of California-Berkley. The irony behind Rogers being recruited by Cal was that Tedford wasn’t there to recruit Rodgers. Instead he was scouting a teammate of Rodgers, tight end Garrett Cross. However, once Tedford saw Rodgers throw a couple passes his focus quickly turned to Rodgers.

Rodgers arrived at Cal University in 2003 with three years of eligibility left. By the fifth game of the 2003 season, Rodgers had become the starting quarterback. In 2004, as a junior, Rodgers led Cal to a 10-1 record and a top-five ranking in the BCS rankings.

Cal missed out on the Rose Bowl and instead entered the Holiday Bowl in which they lost to Texas Tech 45-31. The tough loss hit Rodgers hard and he decided to skip his senior season and enter the 2005 NFL Draft.

Rodgers was set to be a first round pick and possibly No. 1 overall to his favorite childhood team, the 49ers. By all accounts the 49ers were going to choose between Rodgers, or quarterback Alex Smith out of the University of Utah.

All the experts predicted that the 49ers would take Rodgers. However, they elected to go with Smith instead. Rodgers continued to fall in the draft until finally the Green Bay Packers took him with the 24th pick in the first round.

Rodgers wasn’t very excited about coming to Green Bay at first because legendary quarterback Brett Favre was still in the prime of his career. Rodgers rode the bench and learned from Favre until 2008 when Favre threw a game-losing interception in the NFC Championship game against the Giants that ended his tenure with the Packers. However, Favre came out of retirement and the Packers decided to trade him to the New York Jets and give Rodgers the starting gig.

Rodgers became the starter for the Packers in 2008. Packer’s fans booed and screamed at Rodgers not approving of the Packer’s decision to let Favre go. In 2008 the Packers struggled, winning just six games. However, Rodgers was solid throwing for over 4,000 yards with 28 touchdowns and just 13 interceptions.

In 2009, Rodgers led the Packers to an 11-5 record and a playoff appearance, the first of his career. The Packers took on the Arizona Cardinals in the wild card round in Arizona. The Packers would eventually lose the game in overtime when Rodgers was sacked and fumbled. Cardinal’s linebacker Karlos Dansby picked the ball out of the air and scored, which ended the game.

Rodgers would have his ultimate revenge in the NFL in the 2010-11 season. Injuries plagued the Packers early and they barely sneaked into the playoffs. The Packers won their final two games of the regular season and in the playoffs won at Philadelphia, at Atlanta and at Chicago to make it to Super Bowl XLV in Dallas.

The 2010 playoff run was one the greatest in NFL history. Rodgers and the Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 to win the Super Bowl; Rodgers was the MVP.

Rodgers went on to win the MVP of the regular season in the 2011-2012 season throwing for a video-game-like 4,600 yards, 45 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions. Rodgers lead the Packers to a franchise best 15-1 record, however, they were one-and-done in the playoffs.

Rodgers has become the steal of the 2005 NFL Draft for the Packers, and in the process has become arguably the best quarterback in the NFL.

The Packers got off to a slow start in the 2012 season, but are looking to hit their stride as of late winning two straight games on their way to a record of 4-3.

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