This whole thing about Aaron Rodgers playing quarterback as perfect as anybody could play it the past two months is genuine, turning in another dramatic performance that becomes deeply ingrained in our national psyche because it captures our attention and devotion. Believe what you want, listen to fans and TV analysts rave about him defying the odds, making sensational plays with his feet and arm and doing amazing things that other quarterbacks can’t even emulate, because nobody can slow down Rodgers, much less stop him from sustaining a new level of excellence.
Anyone who thinks he’s not the best thing going in the league is mistaken, or biased, or even just a bitter Cowboys fan who is still not over the fact that Rodgers broke every Dallas fans’ heart with his clutch throw, delivering an artful masterpiece and garnering national attention, especially from those who’ve been intrigued by the Packers’ late-season dominance. He is often heralded as a Hail Mary specialist and the next big star, lauded for mastering the art of the deep ball during which he has become more famous than ever in Green Bay, where he’s loved by Cheesehead fans who’ve shown admiration for a public figure.
He was playing like a kid in the schoolyard, wheeling out of pressure, pirouetting to his left and putting his quick feet to good use, which gave him more than enough time to buy time and extend the play. With 12 seconds remaining, giving the gunslinger a little bit too much time to conjure up a miracle — something he does too well because of his cannon arm that allows him to heave a prayer or a high-arching throw — Rodgers threw a rocket up in the air and hit his intended target. Jared Cook tiptoed the sideline with both feet inbounds to secure a 36-yard catch that set up a clutch, game-winning field goal by Mason Crosby.
What a long, trying season it has been for Rodgers and company, but somehow and amazingly, after stumbling to a 4-6 start, the Leader of the Pack pulled the team together and built team camaraderie in the Packers locker room, where his teammates were indeed convinced that they could make the postseason. Sure enough, the Packers are here and moving on to the NFC Championship game, in large part because of a skilled quarterback who is playing at the highest level in recent memory.
Rodgers, already a five-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl winner, has reached the pinnacle of sustainability when he’s arguably said to be the greatest QB of this generation. It’s a beautiful day in Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood — Lambeau Field — where he has craved his legacy onto the wall of Packers legends, and someday, he’ll wear a mustard Hall of Fame jacket in Canton, Ohio, a place where his name will truly live on forever once it’s all said and done. The formula for winning has much to do with Rodgers’ functional brain and strong-armed body, making him the most complete quarterback and the league’s deadliest, soon to be the league’s most wanted once he shreds and slaughters every opponent’s defense through the air.
It appeared the Packers were going to run away with it, but they needed a game-changing, drama-filled, action scene late from Rodgers for a signature 34-31 victory over the top-seeded Cowboys in Arlington. The Packers opened up with a nice, comfortable lead before blowing an 18-point, second-half advantage, allowing the Cowboys to gain momentum and turn what was pedestrian into a thriller. He is a star quarterback with solid numbers and represents an iconic franchise, one that has won a number of Super Bowls, one of them with Rodgers and another one with the help of his predecessor Brett Favre, a Hall of Famer and a lifelong legend who holds a place in Packers lore.
It’s never good to dismiss a Packers team that has won eight straight, aiming now to run the table in these playoffs, set to travel to Atlanta to play host to a very good Falcons team that’s loaded with talent and offensive weapons, including quarterback Matt Ryan, who has caused enough headaches for opposing teams. The only guy Rodgers misses, of course, is explosive wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who is out with a rib injury, even though Nelson has been hopeful for a return next weekend for the title game. But, in all, Rodgers has a throwing arm that makes middling receivers look good and fires bullets to Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison and Davante Adams, who left the game briefly on Sunday after an ugly ankle injury.
As he becomes undisputedly the game’s best player — almost perfect and absolutely intelligent — with no one having an answer for a quarterback who is unstoppable and untamed, there is no one playing the game better than Rodgers himself. Crafty and cunning, he was dynamic as usual, putting up monster numbers by throwing for 356 yards and two touchdowns. This was a victory that gave birth to perfection in which he showed that he’s an all-round player, a playmaker and a vocal leader of a franchise in good shape.
A game is never over if Rodgers is on the field. He’s simply the best, and there’s no denying that. He’s proved it time and time again, continuing to blow us away with his astonishing performances, and with him around, the NFL playoffs are that much more spectacular and exciting, leaving us breathless and craving for more epic finishes.
If he keeps this up, he’d rank up there with the Joe Montanas, the Tom Bradys and the Peyton Mannings of the world. There’s no disputing, however, that he’s the best in the business.