Now that Aaron Rodgers is off to his own Super Bowl, the Packers quarterback can begin to carve out his own legend separate and distinct from Brett Favre’s, the last quarterback to take Green Bay this far.
But it will be harder to stop the comparisons between Rodgers and the man who won the title in 1996 in his first of two consecutive appearances, simply because the similarities are so striking.
Start with toughness. Favre never had much regard for his body as he flung it relentlessly at people like Warren Sapp and Richard Dent. Rodgers, likewise, showed that same devil-may-care quality as he continued to get up from huge hits — despite missing games with two concussions this year. The NFL’s fifth-most-accurate passer might have had concussion No. 3 on Sunday had he not been wearing the league’s newer, safer headgear during the Bears' Julius Peppers’ dangerous helmet-to-helmet slam.
Mostly, though, the story of both men is one of off-field patience. Favre didn’t make his legend until Atlanta traded the then backup to Green Bay for a first-round pick in 1992. Once he got his chance after starter Don Majkowski was injured that year, he never let go. Rodgers bided his time for three seasons as Favre’s backup and, like his predecessor, proved an instant hit.
Only Rodgers had to weather the fans’ apprehensions that he could adequately replace Favre as he was doing it.
Those doubts are gone now, though Rodgers said they never bothered him in the first place.
“I’m not interested in the whole validation stuff,” Rodgers said after the NFC Championship game. “That’s for the media. I just want to win football games.”
If he wins next Sunday in Dallas, Rodgers can add check off one more category on the list of comparisons with Favre: Super Bowl champion.