Aaron Rodgers Bound for Canton With Super Bowl Victory


Feb 7, 2011

Aaron Rodgers Bound for Canton With Super Bowl Victory There's a difference between greatness in the regular season and playoffs, a meticulously defined line that separates the spectacular from the immortal.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers made the leap into that hallowed ground Sunday night when he led the Packers to a 31-25 victory against the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. Rodgers, the 27-year-old Super Bowl MVP, completed 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Despite losing trusted wide receiver Donald Driver to a first-half ankle injury — Driver joined tight end Jermichael Finley and running back Ryan Grant among Rodgers' fallen weapons — and helplessly watching his targets drop pass after pass in the third quarter, Rodgers stayed on point and kept Green Bay one step ahead of the Steelers throughout the game.

Rodgers was clutch in the fourth quarter, completing three of four third-down passes for 81 yards, and the Packers compiled 10 points on those two drives to stay in control of the game. He was effective despite Green Bay's complete unwillingness to establish the run — James Starks had just 11 carries for 52 yards — and the Steelers did everything they could to tee off with their powerful pass rush.

Yet, the California kid showed his cool to pick up the Pack, and he was promoted to a higher class among the game's great quarterbacks. After sitting behind Brett Favre for three years, Rodgers put together a three-pack of phenomenal seasons to help Green Bay rebuild quickly from a transitional period.

It's the stuff Rodgers accomplished during this playoff run that helped him arrive as one of the best, though. In four wins, Rodgers completed 90 of 132 passes (68.2 percent) for 1,094 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for two touchdowns.

As a result, Rodgers became the 29th quarterback to win a Super Bowl and the 19th to win MVP honors — something Favre never accomplished. It also puts him in line to earn some space in Canton. Of the 14 retired quarterbacks who won Super Bowl MVP, nine are in the Hall of Fame, and one more (Kurt Warner) could be on his way. Of the five active quarterbacks who have been named Super Bowl MVP, including Rodgers, three — Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees — are locks for the Hall of Fame.

There were stretches in the third quarter when Rodgers couldn't get the Packers on track, but his ability to resuscitate them in the fourth quarter turned the Packers into world champions. As a result, the six-year veteran and third-year starter thrust himself into greatness.

Regardless of Sunday's outcome, Rodgers' future was set up for plenty of success, but by beating the Steelers and bringing the Lombardi Trophy home to Green Bay, he'll be eternalized as a Packers icon. He officially arrived on the NFL landscape with this win, and he set himself up for a Hall of Fame enshrinement when his career comes to a close.

Is Aaron Rodgers now a Hall of Famer? Leave your thoughts below.

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