Packers: Next two games could define Aaron Rodgers’ legacy

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

After the clock hit triple zeroes against the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers found themselves back in the NFC Championship Game.

This will be Green Bay’s fourth NFC Championship Game appearance since 2014 — and the first time Green Bay will host the title game since 2007. Over the seasons, Rodgers has done all he can to provide the organization with a home championship game, but, alas, it was never meant to be.

Until 2020.

With just two games between the Packers and returning the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay, Rodgers has a chance to fulfill a special ending to a special season.

No doubt it will take a team effort to take down Tom Brady this Sunday and the eventual AFC champion, but for a quarterback who is now 37 and only one Super Bowl to his name, the time is now for Rodgers to add to his legacy.

And nothing adds to a quarterback’s legacy more than winning the Super Bowl.

Aaron Rodgers and heartbreak city

To say Rodgers and the Packers have suffered some of the worst heartbreaking losses in playoff history is nothing short of an understatement. From the overtime losses to Seattle and Arizona in back-to-back seasons and getting blown out in the last two NFC Championship Games, Green Bay has seen successful seasons end in excruciating exits.

While New Orleans is also no stranger to a number of gut-wrenching losses, Green Bay definitely takes the cake this past decade. The “Run The Table” season in 2016 saw one of the hottest teams in football deliver an epic playoff performance in Dallas, only to see Atlanta run wild the following week.

We’ve seen MVP-like performances from Rodgers in a number of seasons such as 2011, ’14, ’17, and ’19, but they all share the same fate: losing in the playoffs when the world’s the limit.

There’s more room to add to Rodgers’ legacy

Rodgers could retire today and have a direct path to the Hall of Fame with just one Super Bowl title and potentially three MVP trophies to his name. But the goal of all 32 teams — whether rebuilding or contender — is to win the Super Bowl.

Just not to win the Super Bowl once.

Unfortunately, that has been the calling card of many great quarterbacks that either won a single championship or never sniffed the Super Bowl, at all.

Do you think Tom Brady would trade in his other five Super Bowl trophies for just the contempt of winning his first? No.

Many have hailed Rodgers as the greatest thrower of the football. And while the many absurd throws, touchdown passes, and Hail Mary’s have cemented that honor upon him, he craves more accolades.

For as many excellent Packers teams he’s had around him, it’s mind-boggling that it took 12 years to secure an NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field. A number of players have come and gone donning the green and yellow, but it’s been No. 12 who’s been the most consistent.

Bart Starr provided the first two Super Bowl championships, while Brett Favre would add another one and appearing in a Super Bowl the next season. The NFC is as tough as they come, but going 10 seasons between potential Super Bowl berths is a tough pill to swallow.

What a Super Bowl win this season would mean

There’s a lot riding on these next two games for the legacy of Aaron Rodgers. Matt LaFleur has done one hell of a job in revitalizing Rodgers after a messy divorce with former head coach Mike McCarthy.

When a new coach and a new system come into the fold, everyone has to buy in with what they’re selling. How does back-to-back 13-3 records and a chance, a chance, to advance to the Super Bowl sound?

Rodgers has fully committed himself to LaFleur’s coaching and it’s resulted in a golden opportunity for Rodgers — who appears to be the odds-on favorite to win league MVP.

It started with beating the No. 1 defense and it’ll have to go through Brady — the most accomplished playoff quarterback in history — to reach Super Bowl LV. Rodgers’ right arm has propelled Davante Adams to 18 touchdowns this season, earned Aaron Jones a major payday and motivated a Mike Pettine defense that hasn’t surrendered 20-plus points in over a month now.

Winning one Super Bowl is a dream many quarterbacks envision coming into the NFL. For Rodgers, one is good, but a second championship goes a long way in establishing Rodgers as one of the all-time greats to ever play this game.

The legacy is firmly in Rodgers’ hands when he takes the field on Sunday against Brady and Tampa Bay and only Rodgers can make its light shine brighter.

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