Monday, February 7, 2011

Aaron Rodgers is just NOW elite? Really?

Now that the Green Bay Packers have won football’s ultimate prize, I have heard sentiments from many that this cements Aaron Rodgers as one of the league’s elite quarterbacks. And to those sentiments I have to ask, where have you been hiding the last three years? And why is it that a TEAM accomplishment defines what an individual does? Fact of the matter is, Rodgers had elite numbers, and elite ability long before the clock read :00 on Sunday night. People become too wrapped up in championships and comparing people from that standpoint. How many people does it take to win a championship? How about sticking to comparing individuals.

ESPN’s Michael Smith had a great quote on twitter on the other day that pretty much sums up how I feel on the matter of Rodgers’ greatness. “In a team sport I do not define a player's greatness by how many championships his TEAM has won. I WATCH a player and determine if hes great,” Sometimes people become a prisoner to the “rings” argument. While it is certainly relevant, I think it’s far down the list of tools to determine a player’s greatness. Individual productiona and the good old “eye test” should be the biggest determining factors.

Back to Rodgers, in my eyes he’s been elite for the last two years. Here are his last three years (first three years starting in the league, mind you):

2008: 63.6% completion percentage 4038 yards 7.5 YPA 28 TD 13 INT 93.8 QB rating
2009: 64.7% completion percentage 4434 yards 8.2 YPA 30 TD 7 INT 103.2 QB rating
2010: 65.7% completion percentage 3922 yards 8.3 YPA 28 TD 11 INT 101.2 QB rating

We all saw what we did in the postseason this year, and even last year in a losing effort. I can understand not wanting to jump the gun in 2008 when he first came on the scene because many players, regardless of the sport, flame out after a really good initial year. But after putting up 86 touchdowns and 31 interceptions, there are still people out there who needed MORE to be able to call this man an elite quarterback? Really?

As far as his ability, there is nothing Rodgers can’t do. He has excellent pocket presence, he has one of the strongest arms in the sport, he is mobile, he has arguably the quickest release in the sport, is one of the most accurate QBs in the game and is cerebral on top of that. I completely understand not wanting to crown someone too early before they have accomplished too much but Rodgers three year stretch is top of the line comparatively speaking in the history of the league yet NOW he’s elite because his TEAM won a Superbowl? Really? I just believe too many people put far too much stock into team success and thus far late to the punch bowl in situations like this, where a player has been playing at an elite level for three years.

I'm not saying he's the best QB in the league (though I believe it can be argued that he is), or that he'll be the best quarterback ever or anything of the sort. I'm just saying that looking at what he brings to the table, he's been near the top of the league for a couple of years. His last three years are no accident. I personally rank him right there with Peyton Manning as the two best quarterbacks in the league. I'd probably give Manning a slight edge, but it's close. And when it comes to natural passing ability, Rodgers is as gifted a passer as the NFL has to offer.

I hope Rodgers stays healthy and continues on his already torrid pace, and rewrites some of the history books. He’s exciting to watch as he, in my eyes, is the game’s most gifted passer regardless of what his team just accomplished in winning Superbowl 45.


laustan said...

Arranged to get particularly frantic on the grounds that there's truly not an exact method for ordering folks. There's a gathering of "tip top" quarterbacks up top (my gathering just elements four of them, yet it can fluctuate reliant on your inclinations), there's another gathering of quarterbacks who have demonstrated they can win directly beneath that, there's an incredible harvest of "youthful firearms," there's a major slew of veteran quarterbacks stuck in limbo as far as their future as establishment folks, and there's even a glob of youthful "set up or quiets down" quarterbacks.
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