Packers Nation, you were waiting for a moment like this.
You waited eight excruciating weeks while your MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers waited, not always so patiently for his broken left collarbone to heal. With an opportunity to salvage a disappointing season Rodgers returned to again take on the Chicago Bears in the Windy City for all the marbles in the NFC North.
True to form, Rodgers delivered in dramatic fashion. On fourth and eight with under a minute to go Rodgers connected on a 48-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Randall Cobb to give the Packers a victory and their third consecutive NFC North title.
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports photograph
With the touchdown completion to Cobb the pressure that has been mounting across Packers Nation since Bears defensive lineman Shea McClellin slammed Rodgers to the Lambeau Field turf on Monday Night Football last Nov. 4 was released. Packers Nation screamed, yelled, jumped, danced and slapped high fives. It felt really good. It felt damn good; it had been a long time coming.
Aaron Rodgers is one of those rare players that can single-handedly change the outcome of football games. It may seem like magic at times, but in reality it is one part raw talent, one part preparation and one part focus.
Rodgers’ ability to make all the throws and keep the mistakes to a minimum allows him to control the ball and the flow of the game. His understanding of the Packers’ offense and awareness of how the opposition attempts to defend against him is a testament to his preparation.
His focus on the field is second to none. Look no further than Jarrett Boykin’s fumble recovery for a touchdown Sunday. Rodgers was right there with Boykin seemingly playing coy to not bring the Bears attention to a ball still live and an opportunity for the taking for Green Bay.
Aaron Rodgers passes during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Green Bay won 33-28. Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sport
Like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, both elite quarterbacks on teams with less than stellar defenses, Aaron Rodgers gives the Packers a realistic opportunity to make a prolonged playoff run and a possible Super Bowl berth.
This Green Bay football team is not a powerhouse like the Seattle Seahawks or even this coming week’s opponent, the San Francisco 49ers. But having Aaron Rodgers under center gives the Packers a realistic opportunity to win.
It is the tangible and intangible qualities that separate and allow Aaron Rodgers to rise above the other players on the field. Back in November, the day that Rodgers went down against the Bears Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote a piece in which he explored what would happen to the Packers if Rodgers went down for a better portion of the season. McGinn believed the Packers could still finish 11-5 and be a top three playoff seed in the NFC. Later that same day the unthinkable happen and we all now know the difference Rodgers makes.
Maybe I’m looking at things through a Green & Gold lens, but I feel confident that an Aaron Rodgers-led Green Bay team can defeat the 49ers this coming Sunday. He is of a handful of athletes that can raise the play of those around him. His presence is inspirational and I would be concerned if I were a 49ers fan.
Packers Nation had a few victory celebrations taken away from them this season and we’re looking to make up for lost time.