The best Packers team in the Aaron Rodgers era came in 2014.
Since taking over as the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers in 2008, Aaron Rodgers has been a part of some great teams. But what if I told you the best team he’s been on didn’t win the Super Bowl?
The immediate assumption would be the 2010 Packers, who Rodgers won his lone Super Bowl with. In reality, the this team barely made the playoffs. They were the sixth seed in the NFC when they made that championship run.
Another team that comes to mind is the 2011 Packers that went 15-1 during the regular season. However, despite the record, they weren’t a complete team. Green Bay that season had the worst passing defense. Even with the highest-scoring offense, they lacked balance, as they had the 24th ranked rushing offense. These weaknesses led to an embarrassing loss to the New York Giants in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The best and most complete team during Rodgers’ era was the 2014 team.
Why the 2014 Packers?
For starters, the 2014 Packers had a great regular season. They finished as the two seed in the NFC with a record of 12-4, which was tied for the best record in the NFL.
In order to have the best team during Rodgers’ era, you need the best Rodgers. That season, Rodgers won his second MVP with a stat line of 38 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Alongside Rodgers was a great rushing attack. Eddie Lacy had a second straight great year with over 1,000 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.
Talent-wise, the weapons surrounding Rodgers were stellar. Opposed to now when the Packers need more playmakers, the 2014 team had an abundance of them.
At receiver, there was the tandem of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. The third option being Davante Adams in his rookie season. Both Nelson and Cobb were in the top 11 for receiving yards, while Nelson was also ranked third in touchdowns that season.
With these weapons at Rodgers’ disposal, Green Bay had a top-10 passing offense and the highest-scoring offense averaging 30.4 points per game.
Meanwhile, on defense, the Packers were very opportunistic. Green Bay was plus-14 in turnover differential, which led the league. They were also top-10 in passing yards allowed per game. Green Bay possessed a pass rush that forced 41 sacks, tying for ninth that season.
The only reason the 2014 Packers aren’t highlighted is because they didn’t win the Super Bowl. As we know, this fanbase is only satisfied with championships. However, the 2014 Packers’ playoff run won’t ever be forgotten.
In the divisional round, the Packers played the Cowboys and won 26-21. This was the controversial “Dez caught it game” which changed NFL catching rules in years to come.
Upon winning that game, Green Bay played the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game. This game caused great heartbreak for all Packers fans.
Leading 22-19 with just over a minute remaining, Green Bay needed to recover an onside to advance to the Super Bowl. Tight end Brandon Bostick botched the onside kick allowing Seattle to recover the football. Eventually, the Packers would go on to lose the game in overtime.
Had the Packers won the NFC Championship they would’ve faced the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. The world would’ve finally gotten the Aaron Rodgers versus Tom Brady, the Super Bowl matchup they wanted.
With a win, Green Bay would have five Super Bowls as a franchise, with Rodgers having captured his second.
The 2014 Packers had all the makings of a championship roster. An MVP quarterback in Rodgers, with playmakers on the outside and in the backfield for him to work with. A defense that was elite at creating turnovers. Furthermore, a Super Bowl-winning coach in Mike McCarthy on the sideline.
Since 2014, the Packers haven’t come close to making it to the Super Bowl. In their two NFC Championship appearances since 2014, they’ve lost by an average of 20 points.