Legacy moment approaching for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

Zach Kruse
·4 min read

An opportunity to craft another legacy moment is approaching for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

In fact, Sunday’s trip to Chicago could mean a great deal to the final look of Rodgers’ legacy, especially in Green Bay.

All games against the Bears have added significance, but Sunday’s season finale provides an opportunity for the Packers to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC and set the path to the Super Bowl through Green Bay, and also an opportunity for Rodgers to clinch his third MVP, an important individual milestone.

With a win Sunday, Rodgers could take a big step towards playing in his second Super Bowl and a big step towards joining an exclusive group of players with three or more MVPs.

Only 12 quarterbacks have been the starter for two or more Super Bowl wins, and only five players have been MVP three or more times. Only two players – Peyton Manning and Tom Brady – have won at least two Super Bowls and at least three MVPs.

Legacy is important to all great players, whether they admit it publicly or not. Rodgers has never been shy about discussing the importance of his own legacy within the Packers franchise and the history of the game.

The importance of a win Sunday can’t be understated. Since becoming the starting quarterback in 2008, Rodgers and the Packers have played in four NFC title games. All four games were played in locations other than Green Bay, a fact Rodgers has mentioned repeatedly. By securing the No. 1 seed, the Packers would set up a scenario where one win would guarantee an NFC title game at Lambeau Field.

A long-awaited second Super Bowl appearance for Rodgers might ultimately depend on whether or not the Packers can secure the No. 1 seed, which includes a first-round bye and guaranteed home games during the postseason. As Rodgers knows well, nothing is certain and the challenge amplified when playing for a trip to the Super Bowl away from home.

Rodgers is no stranger to legacy moments against the Bears or at Soldier Field. He won his first NFC title game in Chicago. He hit Randall Cobb for the game-winning and division-clinching touchdown in Chicago in 2013. He threw six touchdowns in one half against the Bears in 2014. He came back and beat the Bears on one leg in the season opener in 2018. Games against the Bears have set the stage for many of Rodgers’ biggest professional accomplishments.

Sunday is setting a similar stage.

Rodgers is probably one strong performance away from a third MVP. He is, at least by betting standards, the heavy favorite over Patrick Mahomes entering Week 17. Mahomes didn’t play well in Week 16 and will be sitting on Sunday, leaving Rodgers in the spotlight during the finale. The Packers quarterback has created 47 touchdowns and owns the league’s best passer rating in 2020. By most statistical measures, Rodgers is the top choice, but voters can and will be swayed by what happens on Sunday at Soldier Field. Rodgers can all but clinch the MVP, but he can also lose it. Individually, the stakes are high.

One other factor to consider: Rodgers and his teammates are currently grieving the unexpected loss of Pro Bowl left tackle David Bakhtiari, who injured his knee during practice on Thursday and will miss the rest of the season. The impact of his injury threatens to torpedo Green Bay’s Super Bowl chances. On Sunday, Rodgers and the Packers have a chance to rally around the injury, win one for their injured teammate and build some confidence going into the playoffs without one of their best players.

Without much doubt, Rodgers understands the moment and what’s in front of him, both as a team and an individual. Who knows if he’ll ever have another shot like this again as the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. His future is unclear, and teams change rapidly year-to-year in the NFL. With a shrinking salary cap, this team will look much different next year. The Packers, with an elite offense and an ascending defense, are one of the few legit Super Bowl contenders. The window is open right now.

The legacy of Aaron Rodgers as a future Hall of Fame quarterback is already an incredible one, but the 37-year-old can write a few more thrilling chapters over the next month or so, starting Sunday in Chicago. A chance to clinch the No. 1 seed and another MVP is the legacy moment awaiting him at Soldier Field in the season finale.

List

Highlighting all potential playoff scenarios for Packers entering Week 17

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Tampa Bay
+155+4O 51.5
Green Bay
-182-4U 51.5