Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in football right now. There's no other way around it. It's a claim that has long been reserved for Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, or even Drew Brees, but no more. The NFL's best quarterback does his work in the land of cheese.
What do you want from Rodgers that Brady or Manning doesn't have right now? He has the stats. He has the ring. He has the fundamentals. He has the intangibles. He has the look.
Rodgers is slowly starting to gain more and more recognition nationally for his undeniable talents. Winning the Super Bowl and the game's MVP had a lot to do with that, but the easy retort to that is, so what? Anyone can do it once.
That's the thing. Rodgers proved early on in his career as starting quarterback for the Packers that he was a darn good quarterback. Then, he started to show everyone that he's an incredibly prolific quarterback, something backed up by stats and the eye test. Then, he won the Super Bowl, something no one can take from him.
To say he's backed up the hype and expectations would be an understatement. He enters this weekend's clash with the Rams having completed an unheard of 71 percent of his passes. That's absurd, but you can take it even further. Pro Football Focus pointed out earlier this week that Rodgers has completed 80.5 percent of his "aimed throws," or throws that weren't thrown away, spiked, dropped, etc. He'll surpass the 2,000-yard plateau this weekend in all likelihood. He's thrown 14 touchdowns and only two picks.
Stats are for losers, you say? Fine. Have you seen Aaron Rodgers throw the football? Watching the Packers play the Falcons on Sunday night, there were a handful of passes that Rodgers threw that were jaw-droppers. He's gone on record saying he's a confident guy, and watching him throw the football is proof enough of that. He throws the quick pass with pinpoint accuracy and stretches the field with arguably the best deep ball in football right now. It's fun to watch Rodgers throw the ball and it's not in the Brett Favre "Is he going to implode or explode?" fun type of way.
Rodgers also brings an added element that signal-callers like Brady and Manning can't offer. Those two, and the vast majority of NFL quarterbacks, struggle to move outside the pocket. Rodgers thrives on his ability to move around in and out of the pocket. He throws with the same accuracy on the run as he does standing in the pocket. And it's a good thing he can move. His offensive line continues to fall apart around him with injuries to tackles Chad Clifton and Bryan Bulaga just the beginning.
Don't discount Rodgers' age either. He is just entering his prime where some of the other elites, while playing at a high level still, are closer to the end than the beginning. Rodgers is the guy you want to build your team around not only today, but for the next decade as well.
People like Favre would like to believe that Rodgers is armed with an incredible supporting cast, and that is true. But isn't every great quarterback? Favre himself had Sterling Sharpe, Robert Brooks, Antonio Freeman and so on. Brady had Randy Moss and now he has Wes Welker. Manning had Marvin Harrison and then he had Reggie Wayne. It's all about what you do with those weapons, and no one is doing more with what he has right now than Rodgers.
Of course, this is all subject to change. We could be looking at a scenario in February where it's Brady turning in a remarkable performance to win his fourth Super Bowl ring. If that's the case, you probably have to call him the best in the game. These types of debates are fluid that way.
Yet, if Brady and the Pats (or anyone in the AFC for that matter) come out on the losing end in the Super Bowl, there's a pretty solid chance it's to Rodgers and the Packers. If that's the case, Rodgers will only cement his claim as he what he has become: the best quarterback in the NFL.