Aaron Rodgers is Overdue for a Super Bowl Ring
Aaron Rodgers received this years' NFL's Most Valuable Player Award for his regular season brilliance. Rodgers led the Packers to a 12-4 record, throwing for 4,381 yards 38 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions -- yawn. With a 3.96 career touchdown to interception ratio (best all time amongst NFL quarterbacks), his regular season performances have been nothing less than sensational since 2009. Though he is generally considered the best quarterback in football, Rodgers' consistency in the regular season has failed to carry over into the postseason. Never has it been so apparent that Rodgers needs a second Super Bowl ring to enhance his legacy.
For clarity purposes, I want to reiterate that I believe Aaron Rodgers that Rodgers is not only one of the best in the game today, but one of the best to ever play. In fact, I already wrote an article proclaiming Rodgers to be the greatest Packers quarterback ever. With that being said, many, including myself hold Rodgers to the highest of high standards, and believe he can join Peyton Manning as one of the greatest quarterbacks of the 21st Century. In order for that claim to have some validity, the Packers quarterback must improve upon his 2-4 playoff record since his last trip to the mountaintop.
Since his first and only Super Bowl victory (XLV), Rodgers has thrown for 139 touchdown passes and a mere 25 interceptions in the regular season, and has been named MVP twice. But his postseason numbers during that time period have been far from on par with his regular season statistics. This has held true every year since 2010.
Fresh off an MVP award, Rodgers faced the 9-7 New York Giants at Lambeau Field in the divisional round of the 2011-12 playoffs. The regular season's Most Valuable Player threw for 264 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception, and posted a quarterback rating of 78.5 in the home playoff loss.
Following the 2011-12 season, Rodgers and the Packers reached the playoffs again, this time facing the Joe Webb led Minnesota Vikings. In underwhelming fashion, Rodgers threw for 274 yards and a touchdown in the Packers' 24-10 win, but the following week they were yet again eliminated from the postseason, this time by the 49ers. Although it may have been difficult to keep up with Colin Kaepernick's 150 untouched running yards and San Francisco's 45 point performance, Rodgers' stellar regular season play failed yet again to manifest itself in the postseason.
The following year, Rodgers failed to throw for more than 200 yards in yet another one and done home playoff loss to the San Francisco. Although rather unimpressive, it's hard criticize Rodgers, given his performance the week before against the Bears which was essentially the NFC North Championship game at Soldier Field. Not to mention, Rodgers had just come off what looked to be a season ending collarbone injury.
This season, Rodgers looked as if he was going to flip the script of recent years, coming into the playoffs hot. He fought off an injury -- sort of -- and put up a masterful performance against the Dallas Cowboys. The 2014-15 MVP threw for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns to no interceptions, posting a staggering 125.4 quarterback rating at Lambeau. There was a catch, though. The next week, Seattle's Legion of Boom stifled Rodgers, as he put up an underwhelming 178 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 55.8 in yet another playoff loss.
Pictured Above: Aaron Rodgers has rowed, rowed, rowed his boat gently down the loser stream far too many times in the playoffs since 2011
It's easy to argue that Rodgers' Super Bowl title elevates him to a level in which he should not receive such harsh criticism, but his post-Super Bowl mediocrity speaks for itself. As mentioned previously, Rodgers must be held to a higher standard. It's been over four years since he played consistently well throughout the playoffs, and even in his 2010-11 Super Bowl run, he struggled mightily in the NFC Championship game. In order for Rodgers to truly cement his name in the history books as one of the top five or so quarterbacks to have ever played, which he certainly can, he must prove that he has what it takes to will his Packers to a Super Bowl trophy one more time. Harsh? Maybe. But Aaron Rodgers may very well be the most versatile quarterback to have ever played the game of football, and it's time he displayed his championship prowess on the biggest stage in sports again.