Monday, January 31, 2011
Rodgers' road much different than Favre's
By Alvin Anol
As Aaron Rodgers continues his journey out of Brett Favre's shadow, what might await him are even more comparisons to the legendary quarterback if the Green Bay Packers are victorious in Super Bowl XLV.
In 1996, Favre won his lone Super Bowl (XXXI) in his sixth season. On Sunday, the Packers will be competing in the Super Bowl in Rodgers’ sixth season. Coincidental as that is, their roads to the Super Bowl could not have been more different.
In 1996, Favre was the centerpiece of an offensive juggernaut that led the league in scoring and was fifth in total offense. He went on to win the second of three consecutive MVP awards -- the only player in NFL history to win the award three years in a row.
Like Favre, Rodgers has become the focus of the Packers attack. He accounted for nearly 75 percent of Green Bay's total offense and was the team’s second-leading rusher. While Favre was en route to winning his second straight MVP award in his sixth season, Rodgers has just begun to establish himself as one of the league’s top signal-callers.
At 13-3, the 1996 Packers earned the NFC’s top seed, and reached the Super Bowl by winning two home games by an average of 19.0 points.
Rodgers and company had a much more difficult road. As the sixth seed in this year’s playoffs, the Packers are just the fourth team in the Super Bowl era to win three road games to reach the Super Bowl. (They’ll try and join the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers as the second six-seed to win the Super Bowl.)
Favre’s numbers in the 1996 postseason were respectable, but not overwhelming, due in large part to his team establishing sizable leads. In three postseason games, he accounted for six touchdowns (five passing, one rushing) and had a passer rating of 107.5.
Rodgers, however, has been a singular force. He’s thrown six touchdowns and run for two more, completing 71 percent of his passes with a 109.2 passer rating -- all with a game left to play.
Their playoff runs aren’t entirely devoid of similarity, as each had the support of a stingy defense. The 1996 squad allowed the fewest points in in the NFL, and allowed just 16.0 points per game in the postseason. This season, Green Bay finished second in scoring defense and has allowed just 17.0 points per game in the playoffs.
Also in 1996, Favre and the Packers beat the AFC's No. 2 seed, the New England Patriots, indoors in the Superdome. Rodgers has a chance to do the exact same thing on Sunday if the Packers can beat the No. 2 seed Steelers, indoors at Cowboys Stadium.
That's one comparison Rodgers would like nothing more than to share with Favre.