On April 23, 2005, the course of the Green Bay Packers franchise drastically changed when they shockingly selected QB Aaron Rodgers 24th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft.
This was a move that was highly criticized at the time considering they had future Hall-of-Famer and three-time MVP Brett Favre at the position.
In the 2005 season, in which Favre turned 36 years old, he struggled mightily as he threw a league-leading 29 interceptions compared to 20 touchdowns. Moreover, the team finished with a lousy 4-12 record. In the aftermath of this disappointing season, Favre openly contemplated retirement.
However, later in the offseason, Favre went back on earlier comments that the 2006 season would be his last and announced that he had not ruled out playing past the season.
Once again, Favre and the Packers had a middling season, as he finished the campaign with 18 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, and an 8-8 record while the team missed out on the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
With Rodgers sitting behind him and the animosity between the two intensifying, there was continued media and fan speculation that Favre would retire and be succeeded by Rodgers.
Yet, despite the uncertainty of whether Favre would return lingering throughout much of the offseason, Favre came back for the 2007 season.
Favre’s bounce-back season
With most of the distractions and speculation behind him, Favre had a vintage season in 2007, as he finished second in MVP voting and led the team to a 13-3 record.
However, after they were upset by the eventual Super Bowl-champion New York Giants in the NFC Championship, the writing was on the wall that Favre would either retire, or that his time as a Packer was coming to an unceremonious ending.
Caught in a familiar dilemma
Fast forward 15 years, and the Packers find themselves in an eerily similar position; led by a first-ballot Hall-of-Fame quarterback with diminishing abilities and who continues to seriously consider retirement each and every offseason.
The similarities are even more magnified when you consider that this is coming after the Packers surprisingly selected a young developmental quarterback high in the draft, who has been sitting and learning behind the incumbent for three seasons to this point.
While the tail-end of Rodgers’ and Favre’s careers are not completely identical, as Rodgers was plagued by injury and inconsistent this past season coming off back-to-back MVP seasons right after QB Jordan Love was drafted 26th overall in 2020, it is quite outstanding how similar Rodgers and Favre have become, both in terms of play style and in their constant public uncertainties regarding their playing futures.
As Rodgers continues to contemplate retirement, the Packers once again find themselves in a precarious position. Just like the case with Favre in 2008, it may be in the team’s best interest to move on from their longtime franchise stalwart at QB to properly assess whether the team has developed a long-term solution at the position.
What happens next?
This has become an especially difficult situation to navigate because, just like how Rodgers showed flashes of brilliance in a 2007 relief appearance against the Cowboys, Love showed significant improvement in his poise and accuracy in a relief performance against the Eagles this past season.
As such, it may finally be time to resist any temptation to run it back with Rodgers, and to give Love a full offseason and season as the unquestioned starter. As we all know, it worked out pretty well last time for the team.
Given their personal history with one another and the parallels between them that have developed over the last several years, it would be a very fitting end to his illustrious Packers career if Rodgers, just like Favre 15 years ago, got traded to the New York Jets, who are considered to be one of his top options should he and the Packers decide to part ways.