Sometimes when a player goes through a period where he may not be at the top of his game, the internet really tends to overreact. Whether it’s one of the top players in the NBA missing a whole season due to injury or one of the top Olympians having a slight decline where they win 5 gold medals instead of 10, fans tend to criticize an athlete to an extent where that athlete’s talent-based reputation plummets to the Earth’s crust for no fault of their own.
This phenomenon is exactly what’s going on with Aaron Rodgers, or as I like to call it, the “Aaron Rodgers Effect.”Ever since Rodgers’ 2017 campaign was over midseason because of a season-ending shoulder injury, fans expected MVP-level play from the Super Bowl 45 Most Valuable Player, and in 2018, the Packers had a significant overall regression, especially compared to the expectations they had coming into the season. While yes, Rodgers did not have his best season in 2018, he was nowhere close to responsible for the dismal performance of Green Bay as a team.
Oh, and I may have forgotten the fact that even after Bears pass rushers Khalil Mack and Roy Robertson-Harris fell on Rodgers, the Packers STILL came back from a 20-0 deficit Week 1 against Chicago. As soon as Rodgers left that game, backup quarterback DeShone Kizer was thrown into the fire and Khalil Mack became Khalil Mack rather quickly, forcing a fumble and taking an interception to the end zone off a poorly-run screen pass. As soon as Rodgers came back from injury, the Packers played arguably their best half of football for the entire season, overcoming that deficit to win in the end.
This is exactly why Rodgers is still the face of the NFL. This is exactly why he’s one of the most consistent MVP frontrunners in NFL history. His presence alone has bailed the Packers out of so many terrible games, and his ability to empower the Packers to consistent double-digit win seasons despite the poor roster management around him by the Packers front office in past seasons echoes his unbelievable will to carry this team on his back.
He is just so much more talented than everyone else in the entire league, and honestly, watching social media users give quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, and Andrew Luck the recognition of “elite” while ignoring the elite play of Rodgers before and during injury as well as horrible supporting talent just irritates me.
How can one of the greatest quarterbacks to have ever played the game be removed from the elite tier even while he’s in his prime? With McCarthy running the show in 2018, Rodgers still had his signature comebacks against the 49ers, Jets, and the aforementioned Bears, reminding the NFL world that he was still there. Awful coaching or not, he’s still the most skilled player in all of football.
Bad defense or not, he’s still been a 2-time NFL Most Valuable Player. It’s honestly sickening that people are choosing to ignore the MVP-play of one of the most prolific players to have ever played this sport, only because poor coaching and injury have ruined his past two seasons. Sports fans in general need to do better because the defamation of a superstar icon this prominent in sports cannot be tolerated, and I for one am tired of it. Aaron Rodgers is and will be the icon for the National Football League until he retires, and there’s no debating that.