Aaron Rodgers has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL since he took over the starting job for the Packers in 2008. He has reached the top of the mountain by winning a Super Bowl and multiple MVP awards, and he also experienced the lowest of lows by suffering a serious shoulder injury in 2013, which is the last thing you want to see for a quarterback. Aaron has seen it all in his long career and there’s still more to come for the face of the Packers franchise. To see how he’s gotten here and what has led to his success let’s take a look back on the legendary career of Aaron Rodgers.
Going back to his high school days Rodgers played very well for Pleasant Valley High School starting for 2 years and throwing for over 4,421 yards. He also set the school record for yards in a season with 2,466 yards, single game records for touchdowns with 6, and all purpose yards with 440. However he did not draw much interest from D1 college football programs, he wanted to walk on and play for Florida St. but was not accepted to the school. Rodgers decided to attend Butte community college, which he honors by recognizing them as his college during Sunday night football introductions.
At Butte, Rodgers lit up the field throwing for 26 touchdowns while leading the team to a 10-1 record while also having them ranked number 2 nationally. After 1 very solid season at Butte he was offered a full scholarship to attend the University of California at Berkeley. In 2003 After 5 games on the bench Aaron took the reigns of the golden bears offense and didn’t look back leading the team to a 7-3 record which included an upset of #3 USC, although Rodgers left the game due to injury.
Rodgers was extremely effective in his first year having a 1.43% interception rate which set a record for Cal. 2004 was even better for Rodgers, as he lead the team to a 10-1 record with their only loss being to #1 USC. Rodgers threw for 2,566 yards and 24 touchdowns and after a loss to Texas Tech in the holiday bowl he decided to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
Rodgers fully expected to be drafted number 1 by his hometown team, the San Francisco 49ers. However, the 9ers drafted Alex Smith out of Utah and Rodgers fell all the way to #24 to the Green Bay Packers to be the legendary Brett Farves replacement. This slip in the draft lit a fire under Rodgers as he really believed he should have been drafted much earlier. Rodgers signed with the Packers for 5 years and going into it he knew he was going to be Favre’s backup, and he used that opportunity to run the scout team and practiced extremely hard to show the coaches he was dedicated. Rodgers continued to impress Packers coaches; working extremely hard as the backup from 2005-2007 and after Farves departure in 2008 it was finally his time to take over the Packers.
Rodgers wasted no time establishing himself as a top tier NFL quarterback passing for 4,038 yards 28 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions. However the success of him didn’t translate to the team as a whole and unfortunately they finished 6-10 missing the playoffs. However Rodgers cashed in on his personal success signing a 6 year $65 million dollar contract at the end of the season.
In 2009 Rodgers built on his first season once again passing for over 4000 yards, leading the team to an 11-5 record and a wildcard berth. In the wildcard game Rodgers played very well throwing for 423 yards 4 tds and 1 pick. Unfortunately for the Packers, the cardinals won 51-45 in the highest scoring playoff game in NFL history ending a great season for Rodgers and co. Aaron reached the Pro bowl for the first time starting for the NFC completing 15/19 for 197 and 2 scores.
2010 and 2011 were great years for the Packers and Rodgers. In 2010, Rodgers played very well leading the team to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth. In the playoffs was where Rodgers really enjoyed success; beating Philly in the wildcard, upsetting the #1 falcons in the divisional round, and beat their rival bears in the NFC championship to clinch an NFC title.
In the Super Bowl, Rodgers showed how great he truly was completing 24/39 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns leading the team to a 31-25 victory and earning himself Super Bowl MVP. Rodgers became only the 3rd player to pass for over 1,000 yards in the playoffs finishing with 1,094 (4th most all time) he also threw 9 TD passes, ran for 2 rushing scores, and only threw 2 picks. This combined with solid regular season success earned him the #11 ranking on the top 100 players in the NFL.
In 2011, the success continued starting off the season 13-0 only losing one game the rest of the regular season to the Chiefs. Rodgers played out of his mind during the regular season throwing for over 4,500 yards 45 tds and only 6 interceptions. This regular season explosion earned A-rod his first NFL MVP award as he had the best season by far for any player in 2011. The regular season success was spoiled by a very hot Giants team who beat the pack 37-20 ending their 15-1 seasons. Rodgers earned himself the #1 spot on the top 100 NFL players list and he also was first team all pro.
2012-2013 were up and down for Rodgers as both seasons he led them to a playoff berth but losing in the divisional round in 2012 and wildcard round in 2013. Rodgers earned a pro bowl appearance in 2012 and was on his way to another solid season in 2013 before fracturing his collarbone, knocking him out for most of the season. He did return week 17 defeating the bears and clinching the north, just showing how truly determined he is. Unfortunately he was not able to build on a great week 17 and struggled in the divisional round vs the 49ers and they ended up losing 23-20.
In 2014, he once again lit up the competition throwing for a total of 4,381 yards 38 TDS to only 5 picks. The Packers went 12-4 and clinched a first round bye. The Packers beat the Cowboys in the divisional matchup 26-21 with Rodgers playing extremely well throwing for 316 yards 3tds and didn’t turn the ball over. The Packers were upset in the NFC championship by a solid Seahawks team in a great game that came down to overtime. Rodgers earned his second NFL MVP award beating out Tony Romo who also had a very solid season.
2015 was a down year for Rodgers stats wise as he didn’t eclipse 4000 yards and only completed 60% of his passes. However he played well enough to push the packers to the playoffs and earn a wildcard victory but unfortunately they lost a close game to the cardinals in the divisional round. Rodgers still earned a pro bowl appearance as he didn’t have a bad season by any stretch just not the best compared to his usual standards.
Once again to start the 2016 season Rodgers struggled to be his usual accurate self completing only 60% of his passes through the first 5 games of the season. Rodgers stepped it up shortly after that though and after the team started 4-6 he was confident that his team would “run the table.” They did exactly that, going 6-0 down the stretch and clinching an NFC north title. They started off the playoffs extremely hot defeating the giants and then cowboys with Rodgers throwing for over 350 yards and 2 tds both games. The falcons defeated the packers in the NFC championship ending what was a great second half of the season for Rodgers.
2017-2018 were rough years for both Rodgers and the packers. In 2017 Rodgers suffered a fractured collarbone once again. He needed 13 screws put in his shoulder and he still returned to the field and played a great game vs Carolina late in the season but it was all for not as once they were eliminated from playoff contention he went back on the IR. In 2018, Rodgers earned himself a new contract for 4 years worth $134 million. The defense in 2018 however was horrible and even though Rodgers played relatively well throughout the whole season they failed to clinch a playoff spot. Rodgers threw for 4400 yards, 25 tds and only 2 interceptions in an extremely efficient season.
In 2019 Rodgers found success with new head coach Matt LaFleur. Rodgers flourished in the new offense throwing for 4,000 yards 26 tds and 4 interceptions clinching a first round bye in the playoffs. Rodgers and co knocked out the Seahawks in round one defeating them 28-23. Rodgers played decently in the NFC championship but it wasn’t enough to beat a very good 49ers team as they lost 37-20. Rodgers threw for 326 and 2 tds but he also tossed 2 costly interceptions.
Now in 2020 once again Rodgers is playing well and has the Packers in prime position to “run the table” like he loves to say. Rodgers has been through it all in his career as this article shows there’s not really a scenario that he hasn’t faced. He was doubted out of high school and proved people wrong there, he was doubted by 23 teams in the NFL draft, and he proved them wrong there. Rodgers feeds off people doubting him and will use it to make himself stronger. It will be interesting to see how the rest of this season goes but one thing is for certain; don’t count out A-rod he’s a “baaaaaaaaad man.”