Coming off back-to-back down years by his lofty standards, Aaron Rodgers entered the 2020 NFL season with a point to prove. After all, the Green Bay Packers surprised everyone by trading up to select Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft. The move raised obvious questions about Rodgers’ future in Green Bay.
But for the eight-time Pro Bowler, dealing with haters and doubts comes with the territory of being one of the league’s biggest stars. In the midst of an MVP-caliber campaign, Rodgers just pulled the ultimate flex to silence his haters with a dose of reality.
Aaron Rodgers entered the season with questions about his future
Since taking over for Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers has become one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. In his third season as a starter, he led the Packers to their first Super Bowl title since 1996. Over the last decade, the California native has racked up prolific numbers, won two NFL MVP awards, and cemented his status as a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
However, after throwing for a league-high 40 touchdowns in 2016, Rodgers has not come close to hitting that mark again. Injuries limited the talented quarterback to just seven games in 2017. And while he played all 16 games in 2018, Rodgers finished the year with just 25 touchdowns and a career-worst 54.4 QBR. Green Bay went 6-9-1 and missed the playoffs for the second straight season.
From a statistical standpoint, Rodgers put up almost the exact same numbers last season as he did in 2018. In his age-36 campaign, the Packers QB threw only 26 touchdowns and finished the year with a QBR of 55.6.
With speculation swirling about Rodgers’ long-term outlook, Green Bay added another layer to that narrative by selecting Love in April. That only turned up the pressure on the aging quarterback to prove he still has something left in the tank.
The Packers star is an early favorite to win NFL MVP honors
After watching his team draft his possible successor, Aaron Rodgers entered the season with somewhat of a murky future. But so far, he has made the Packers look silly for spending a premium draft pick on a quarterback.
In Green Bay’s season-opening win against the Minnesota Vikings, Rodgers torched Mike Zimmer’s defense to the tune of 364 passing yards and four touchdowns. Rodgers threw two more TDs in a 42-21 route of the Detroit Lions.
In Week 3, the 37-year-old dueled off against 41-year-old Drew Brees. Both quarterbacks made a number of big throws, but Rodgers got the last laugh. Green Bay remained undefeated thanks to three touchdown passes from No. 12.
Facing a winless Atlanta Falcons team on Monday Night Football, the Packers’ star quarterback strengthened his MVP candidacy. Rodgers completed 27-of-33 attempts for 327 yards and four touchdowns in a 30-16 victory.
Through four games, he has completed 70.5% of his passes for 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Needless to say, Rodgers looks like his old self, and the Packers look like the team to beat in the NFC.
Rodgers silences his haters with a savage dose of reality
For Aaron Rodgers, dealing with haters and doubters is nothing new. Don’t forget that he famously fell to the 24th pick in the 2005 NFL draft due to concerns about his ability to play quarterback at the next level. Of course, the former Super Bowl MVP has done more than enough to prove those doubters wrong.
Yet, Rodgers still faces criticism for his 2018 and 2019 campaigns that did not measure up, at least statistically, to the rest of his career. But during Tuesday’s appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, the MVP candidate pulled the ultimate flex to silence his haters with a dose of reality.
“I sometimes laugh when people talk about down years for me because a lot of times down years for me are career years for most quarterbacks,” Rodgers said.
His response elicited a wild reaction from McAfee, who told Rodgers he was so happy the quarterback made that statement.
Of course, Rodgers delivered the perfect response to McAfee’s comment.
“It’s just the facts, bro.”
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.