Aaron Rodgers

Greater than Great

From the Great Pumpkin to Alexander the Great to the Great One(Jackie Gleason-look him up you will thank me) as a society we obsess about greatness.

It is never more prevalent than in the sports world. The greatest slugger or a great center or in the NFL great quarterbacks.

Enter Tom Brady. In a fourteen years career he has thrown 392 regular season touchdowns and compiled a career passing rating of 96. Brady is the definition of a great quarterback. This most recent Super Bowl win was his fourth tying Joe Montana for the most ever.

This is where the problem comes in. Some feel the need to anoint him as the greatest quarterback ever.

Great is not enough? He has to be the greatest?

The first problem with this is simple: Super Bowl championships are not a quarterback statistic. It may seem like it when listening to the national media but there are actually 52 other players on those teams. Fifty-two other players along with a number of coaches, trainers and other men(and women) who all work together to led any given team to victory. The quarterback is only one part of the equation, not the entire equation.

The other problem is that naming any quarterback the greatest ever simply diminishes so many other incredible players. To say Tom Brady is greater than Joe Montana or Dan Marino or Bobby Layne only serves to disrespect all of them. It is purely subjective. There is no way to fairly compare playing in the different eras, just as it is difficult to judge who is the greatest quarterback today. While some may claim Brady others will champion Peyton Manning and personally I would pound the table for Aaron Rodgers.

Tom Brady is no greater today than he was the day before the Super Bowl. He is a great quarterback. Twenty years from now he will still be a great quarterback.

That should be enough.

Categories: Aaron Rodgers, Football, New England Patriots, NFL, Peyton Manning, Quarterbacks, Tom Brady | Tags: | 1 Comment

Championship Sunday

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After this Sunday there is one more game. The one that everyone is striving for. The Super Bowl. Players dream their entire lives of paying in the big one. But today. Today is when the legends are made. Today is the money round.

The Drive. The Catch. Those did not happen on Super Bowl Sunday. They happened in the Conference Championships.

The Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers are up first in Seattle. The Seahawks are fierce at home, the ’12th man’ not a small reason why. Few believe the Packers with a limping Aaron Rodgers have much of a chance. Then again, Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL today.

That is not the reason I believe the Packers will pull it out, no the Pack will win because of Eddie Lacy. I watch Lacy run and I do not see Eddie Lacy, I see ‘Sweetness’. Something about the way he moves and spins and throws himself into the end zone simply makes me think of the great Walter Payton. It is the presence of Eddie Lacy that will let Rodgers be Rodgers and lead his team to victory.
Green Bay 27-20

In the evening we have Andrew Luck versus Tom Brady. Some seem to want to connect this game to the Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots rivalry of the past. It simply does not fit. That was Peyton Manning against Brady, two titans facing off. The teams are different, the showdown is different. Now it is the a question of the changing of the guard. Andrew Luck is the future, clearly. The question is if the future is now?

Luck has been special during this years playoffs and he will need to be special again to upset the Patriots. The more important factor is the Colts defense. Last week they played phenomenal against the Denver Broncos and Mister Manning. Can they do it again? If they can prevent yards after catch today they can limit the Patriots offense. Outside of Rob Gronkowski there is not one receiver on the Patriots that should concern the Colts deep, but stopping Gronk is a tall order.
Indianapolis 37-31

No one can predict what will happen today. If they say they can they are liars.

Time to sit back and enjoy.

Categories: Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Denver Broncos, Eddie Lacy, Football, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, NFL, Peyton Manning, playoffs, Quarterbacks, Seattle Seahawks, Tom Brady | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hit the Road Jack.

Early Tuesday afternoon the Cleveland Brown announce that they were releasing running back Ben Tate, a few hours later the Pittsburgh Steelers released veteran running back LeGarrette Blount. Players get released during the season, it happens. What is surprising is veteran, proven players being released by two teams who are competing against each other for the AFC North division title.

While some will surely point to their releases as further evidence of the devaluing of the running back position, I do not feel that is the case. Both players have played well in the past, both are being outplayed by younger players. Second year player Le’veon Bell’s play has limited touches for Blount in the Steelers offense, while rookie Terrance West has replaced Tate as the starter in Cleveland. That does not mean these teams do not value their running backs, they just do not value Blount or Tate.

So why the release now.

Attitude.

Teams often put up with an attitude from their stars. You only have to look at the odd behavior sometimes seen from Marshawn Lynch for the Seattle Seahawks. The problem is if you are not that star you have a much shorter leash.

Both players had complained to some extent about their roles in their teams offenses of late, Blount even going as far as leaving the field before the end of the Steelers comeback win against the Tennessee Titans Monday night. At some point complaints become a distraction. Teams want passionate players, they do not want distractions. Distractions get let go.

This should be a warning sign for other players in the NFL and even more so for college players hoping for a career in the league. It has always been not-for-long that has never been more true than now. With the added focus on players behavior off the field of late, being part of the team is more important than ever.

While the league will always reward stars, divas who rock the boat may find the ride shorter than ever.

Categories: Aaron Rodgers, Cleveland Browns, Football, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Four Quarters: Miami Dolphins v. Green Bay Packers

Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald

Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald

Sunday morning I decided I would do things a little different this week. Instead of the usual review/preview I thought I would try to write about my thoughts as the game was going on. Quarter by quarter. So here goes…

Four Quarters: Green Bay Packers v. Miami Dolphins

First Quarter.

Green Bay started out with the ball. They moved down the field with ease. The Dolphins secondary were playing off the receivers and Aaron Rodgers made them pay with a touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson.

After a great return by rookie Jarvis Landry the Dolphins started in Green Bay territory. The Packers defense came to play forcing Miami to settle for a Caleb Sturgis. The score now sat at 7-3 Packers.

After blocking a punt the Dolphins once again had good, no make that great field position. Unfortunately even after getting the ball down to the Green Bay one yard line they could not find the end zone. Missing out on a scoring opportunity against a team like Green Bay is dangerous.

The good news as the quarter ended was that the defense had finally come to play, bad news was the running game was stuck in neutral.

Second Quarter.

Both teams defenses stood tall. The Packers struggled to move the ball and Aaron Rodgers began to feel the effect of the Dolphins pass rush. On the other side Green Bay forced Miami quarterback into two interceptions costing the Dolphins the opportunity to put points on the board.

I feel there are three types of interceptions: 1. The receiver simply fell down on his route, offense has no chance. 2. The defense just makes an incredible, highlight-reel kind of play. and 3. The quarterback had no business throwing that ball whatsoever. The first two are forgivable offenses, the third-well the third you want to kill the qb. In this case the defense simply made a great play on a contested ball. It could easily have gone the other way.

Needless to say the half ended with the Packers up 10-3

Third Quarter.

The Dolphins started the second half with the ball. Ryan Tannehill hoped to erase the memory of the first half quickly. On the second play of the drive he took it himself and ran 40 yards, surpassing the Dolphins rushing total of the first half. Watching this first drive you would never think that this was the same team from the first half. Jarvis Landry caught his first NFL touchdown pass to tie the game. Both teams would trade drives during this quarter leading to a tie game at 17-17 early in the fourth quarter.

Fourth Quarter.

Rodgers is not simply one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, he is THE best. On this afternoon Ryan Tannehill showed he could stand toe to toe with the best the NFL has to offer. This is something Tannehill’s critics should remember.

Sadly we tend to remember what we saw last.

What we saw last was Aaron Rodgers being Aaron Rodgers and the Dolphins defense falling apart when they were needed most. With a 24-20 lead the Dolphins failed to get a first down and gave the ball back to Rodgers with 2:04 left in the game. It would be just enough.

There was blame to go around on the last drive. Brent Grimes falling down while covering Jordy Nelson. Cortland Finnegan trying a very lackadaisical tackle of Davante Adams inside the ten yard line. Worst of all was the coverage by Philip Wheeler on the touchdown play. It is not that he got beat by the tight end for a touchdown that will happen. It was that he did not even try to engage Anthony Quarless until he was already in the end zone. By that point he had already lost. If he made contact before Quarless entered the end zone he may have had a chance. It was not to be.

A great comeback fell just six seconds short. All of the good things we saw in the second half came of naught. Time to move onto the Bears.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, NFL, Quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill, sports | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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