The Green Bay Packers vs. the Chicago Bears: A matchup that only comes twice a year and yet is one of the most highly anticipated rivalries in all of sports. Although the Packers have been the more valiant victors as of recently, it never phases fans on either side who look forward to this glorious head to head contest. While the Bears got the last laugh after they defeated the Packers in Green Bay during week nine of the regular season, it didn’t feel like the typical euphoric victory that usually comes with these physical and emotionally driven games. Specifically, the Packers were without their superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers who has proven to be the Achilles heel to the Bears every season. Without his immense talents and Impressive skill set, the Green Bay Packers are simply a mediocre franchise that lacks the proper direction and balance to succeed.
Ever since Rodgers became Green Bay’s starting quarterback in 2008, the Packers found immediate success with their young and confident passer. In his first year as a starter, Rodgers threw for over 4,000 yards and completed over 63% of his passes. However, what was even more impressive was Rodgers’ uncanny ability to avoid careless turnovers. Throughout his illustrious career, Rodgers has never thrown more than 13 interceptions in a season and hasn’t thrown double digit picks in a season since 2010. Essentially, Rodgers is the quintessential quarterback who can not only throw the ball to where it needs to be but who can also score consistently and quickly game in and game out.
While Green Bay will never forget what Brett Favre did for their organization, Rodgers unquestionably has evolved into something Favre could never quite achieve in his career. Despite Favre’s toughness and immensely impressive arm strength, he lacked the patience and overall accuracy that has made Aaron Rodgers one of the most coveted passers in the game. On top of that, Rodgers is much more swift in the pocket and can make miraculous plays on the move. Although Favre’s legacy will never be overshadowed, Rodgers has proven that he doesn’t need to match Favre’s prolific success in every way. Rather, he is content to craft his own unique legacy that is predicated on his innate abilities rather than trying to eclipse a memorable athlete who is almost completely different from him in terms of individual abilities.
Without Rodgers, the Packers are simply a stagnant and defeated organization that is unable to compete even against opponents that are decisively mediocre. Since Rodger’s untimely departure, the Packers have yet to win a game and have gone threw three other quarterbacks to try and find someone who can be even half the passer that Rodgers was. Similarly, when Peyton missed an entire season with the Colts, it was easy to tell that the Colts supreme success was predicated on Manning’s presence on the field. Not only was Manning an inspirational leader, he was an intelligent offensive weapon who knew the Colts offense inside and out. However, once Manning was out of commission, no one else could learn or understand the intricacies of what made the Colts offense tick. As long as Rodgers remains on the sideline, the Packers will continue to have issues with their ailing offense that can’t properly function without Rodger’s leadership, especially with the unfortunate injuries this ailing offense has sustained throughout the season.
While the Packers aren’t necessarily hopelessly done for the season, they’ll need Rodgers to return sooner rather than later if they hope to salvage what is left of their season. Despite the fact that the Packers are facing a disappointingly downtrodden Falcons team next week, they need to win this game handedly if they hope to make a late run for a playoff berth. With Rodgers under center, this Packers team will have the poise and guidance it so desperately needs to be back in the limelight of success.
In the end, the Packers have been unfairly subjected to a depressingly underwhelming season because their fearless leader is currently incapable of returning. While nearly every team has had to deal with it’s fair share of untimely injuries, the absence of Aaron Rodgers has hurt the Packers more than any loss that other teams have had to contend with. Although the Packers have an impressive rushing game, it is simply a one-dimensional form of attack that can only be successful with a quarterback that can consistently pass the ball. If Rodgers can fully recover from his injuries and return stronger than ever, the Packers have a chance to bounce back to reclaim a division that is theirs for the taking.