These days, Aaron Rodgers is the main man in Green Bay. It wasn’t always like that, however. During the 1950s and 1960s, Bart Starr stood tall under center; in the 1990s and 2000s, Brett Favre was running the show. The latter quarterback, of course, was the starter when Aaron Rodgers first came to town.
Despite their time as teammates, neither Rodgers nor Favre has said a great deal about their working relationship. The current Packers quarterback, however, recently shed some light on the situation.
Aaron Rodgers road to Green Bay
While Aaron Rodgers currently rules the roost in Green Bay, his career almost failed to get off the ground. While the quarterback posted big numbers in high school, most Division 1 schools considered him too small to slot in under center. After declining a walk-on spot at the University of Illinois, Rodgers almost gave up on football; he decided to attend Butte Community College, looking a way to stay on the gridiron.
Rodgers had a strong freshman season, however, and the University of California took notice. The quarterback would transfer and, after riding the bench for a few games, stepped into the Golden Bears’ starting role. While Rodgers played well during his first Division 1 season, he truly burst onto the scene as a junior. After leading Cal to 10-1 record, he entered for the NFL draft; things didn’t go smoothly, though. On draft night, he famously sat in the green room until the Green Bay Packers called his name.
Rogers began his NFL career backing up Brett Farve; that situation would turn out to be anything but ordinary.
Possible tensions between Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers
Ordinarily, a starting quarterback and his back-up have a supportive, collaborative relationship. Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, however, did things a bit differently.
After Rodgers was drafted, Favre said it wasn’t his job to get the new quarterback ready for the NFL. Before long, a narrative formed that the incumbent starter was refusing to mentor Rodgers. In reality, there was probably more of a generation gap than anything else, but the younger quarterback still had to wait his turn; Favre considered retirement for a couple of seasons before calling it quits, only to try to mount a comeback. He, of course, was eventually traded to the New York Jets.
During the summer of 2019, the veteran gunslinger finally revealed how he felt about his young protegee; while they weren’t actively at each other’s throats, there was apparently some tension in the camp.
“I would say (we were) strong enemies,” Favre explained on WTMJ. “I wanted to play my tail off, and so did he, especially when we played against each other. I thought we got along really well when he was young and then we went about our way. Obviously, he has paved his own way and then some. He stands alone in the league today as the best player in my opinion. I’m OK with that.”
Favre is still ‘a dear friend’
Aaron Rodgers has echoed Favre’s sentiments. While the two might have met in a difficult situation, the pair always felt a mutual respect for each other.
“I love Brett, I always had a great appreciation for him but we were caught in the middle of a power struggle that unfortunately broke apart Brett and the Packers and Brett and myself,” Rodgers explained on The Pat McAfee Show. He also offered further clarification in a recent Reddit AMA.
“I’ve had a lot of things to motivate me over the years, and that was definitely not one of them,” Rodgers wrote when asked if he used Favre’s refusal to mentor him as a motivating factor. “He was a huge motivator for me, because after Joe M and Steve Y retired, Favre was my favorite. He was a great guy to watch for 3 years, and he’s a dear friend, so glad to have been able to be his teammate for those years.”
At the end of the day, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers are both Green Bay Packers legends. And, now that they’re no longer competing for the same job, they’re also friends.