They could not be more opposites.
One is a future Hall-of-Famer from a one stop light town on the bayou in Mississippi. The other a young kid from Berkley in California.
One knew his time was coming as he played behind an injury plagued QB on a team that had experienced 25 years of mostly lost seasons of failure.
The other wondered if his time would ever come as he played behind the most durable QB in NFL history on a team that had only one losing season over the last 16 campaigns.
One led a comeback win in his first real game action and won the hearts of the most passionate fan base in sports nearly instantly.
The other found himself being picked apart and criticized for every bad play by the majority of that same fan base.
Should one decide to come out of retirement and play for the Minnesota Vikings this fall, we could very well see the biggest "battle of the generations" since Joe Louis came out of retirement to battle the young Rocky Marciano.
And, as mentioned earlier, the teams and their leaders could not be more opposites.
The problem for Aaron Rodgers is that he has done everything right...except lead TD drives on his last possession in games.
In these days of Perez Hilton actually having relevance, Aaron Rodgers simply is too good. Fans seemed to love a young Brett Favre and the tales of his heavy drinking, womanizing, pill popping...and...fourth quarter comebacks.
These same fans have ostracized Rodgers despite 4,000+ yards passing, 28 TD passes, and a sparkling QB rating in his 1st season as a starter. There is no doubt that Aaron Rodgers has faced more scrutiny than any player in NFL history that has had the unenviable task of replacing a legend.
However, the best thing that could possibly happen for Aaron Rodgers is for Brett Favre to do the one thing that makes Packer fans skin crawl...and that is for old No. 4 to bring his achy breaky arm to the hideous Metrodome for one last "winner take all" grudge match against his hated former GM...and that same GM's "horse," Aaron Rodgers.
It is the "only" way that Rodgers can get his due respect. Should old No. 4 don the ugly purple uniform, Rodgers can slay the ghost and prove once and for all that Ted Thompson made the proper choice in dismissing No. 4 from Packer active duty and elevating the young kid.
When young Favre would get carried out of a Madison bar after drinking himself silly, fans smiled and shook their head and reminisced about how he was following in the footsteps of Lombardi legends Hornung and McGee. I have a feeling if Rodgers did the same thing, fans would not react in the same positive way.
If Rodgers wins a Super Bowl, fans will like him, but he must win two to truly get fans to love him. When Favre admitted an addiction to drugs, fans sympathized and felt it was a result of his sheer passion for the game. If Rodgers went to re-hab, you can bet the fan reaction would not be the same.
Nope...There is but one way for Aaron Rodgers and this young Packer team to break free from "Favre-vader" and be free...and that is for No. 4 to have his shoulder X-rays look good for Brad Childress and Co. and have Favre return.
It is a risky proposition...for if the Vikings would win the NFC North...Packer nation would be divided like the Union was during the Civil War...or worse. Even if Favre plays poorly but Vikes ride the best running back in the NFL to a 9-7 record...if that wins the NFC North, the damage will have been done.
BUT...Should young Rodgers lead the young Packers to an NFC North crown over a Favre led Vikings...it would give closure to all this madness. It would be...unprecedented.
Steve Young never got a chance to duel Joe Montana...Troy Aikman never dueled Roger Staubach...Big Ben never dueled Terry Bradshaw.
So I would bet that deep inside his California surfing heart, Rodgers probably hopes old No. 4 returns.
All those QB meetings when Rodgers was in his first and second seasons when the hero No. 4 would ignore him...the interviews last season when old No. 4 boasted over how we all know who would win the starting job if only terrible Ted Thompson would allow him to return to Titletown...Rodgers would get a chance to have the last laugh.
And as a Packer fan for nearly four decades, I'd laugh with him. But as classy and good as Aaron Rodgers is...we would never get to hear his laugh, for he would save it for a private moment away from all this madness.
I only hope the "Anti-Favre" gets his chance.
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