The Green Bay Packers and their all-world quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, lost one more time Sunday to the San Francisco 49ers – after which Rodgers made the comment that he has been in the league for nine years and would like to play nine more.
However, he also intimated that with each passing season of not winning a championship, the chances for doing so tend to diminish. In other words, the window is closing – and it may be closing faster than he or Packers fans want to realize.
Rodgers, who in 2010 won his first and only Super Bowl, was confident at that time that the Packers would be back in the big game more than once before he left the game.
Well, that was four years ago.
Rodgers, who continues to play at a high level is considered one of, if not the best quarterback in the league.
However, the NFL is a fickle league. Winners are usually the teams that happen to get hot at just the right moment (see Packers of 2010); winners are also determined by a minimum of injuries and a little bit of luck.
The luck ran out on the 2013 Packers on Sunday and unless the team makes strides in improving these key areas – the backup quarterback, the offensive line, the defensive line, and the defensive backfield – the Packers may be seeing another championship drought for the foreseeable future.
Packers GM Ted Thompson has made attempts to shore up the defense and offensive line through the draft over the past few years. He’s hit on some players (Mike Daniels, Micah Hyde), but has also swung and missed on others (Derek Sherrod – though his injury has kept him off the field; M.D. Jennings, Davon House, and Jerron McMillian). Some will say they are questioning the skill level of Morgan Burnett after he was considered the second coming of Nick Collins and given a big contract extension at the beginning of this season. However, after missing the first four games of the regular season due to injury, Burnett never seemed to get back to the level where everyone expected him to play. That may change next year, but that in itself is problematic.
But back to Rodgers.
He wants to win and has the contract in place now to make sure he doesn’t go anywhere for the next four or five seasons.
That’s all well and good, but Packers management clearly has to do a better job of putting players in place around Rodgers that are going to perform at that championship level. Packers fans expect a quality product placed on the field – on both sides of the ball. Granted, the Packers fell apart when Rodgers went down this season, but that’s the type of thing that good teams with competent management overcome. While the Packers did eventually overcome a winless month of November with a couple of miracle wins in early December and a rousing finish against Chicago to win the NFC North Division for the third straight year, it wasn’t enough to extend their playoff push.
They once again lost to the San Francisco 49ers who will now move on to play Carolina next weekend while the Packers watch. Like the Packers of the 1990s trying to beat the Dallas Cowboys, it seems the rivalry with the Niners is reaching that level and won’t be resolved until management does something to turn around the level of play at several positions.
If the Packers can bring about improvement at the positions around Rodgers, the next nine years that he wants to stick around are going to be difficult and frustrating ones for Aaron Rodgers. And to put it bluntly – he’s too great of a talent to see the best years of his career go by without winning at least one more Super Bowl.