Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers won the MVP Award at Super Bowl XLV. The superstar quarterback threw for over 300 yards with three touchdowns and, most importantly, no interceptions.
Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback on the other side of the field, has two Super Bowl rings already in his career but, on this night, threw two costly interceptions that cost the Pittsburgh Steelers the game.
That was the difference on this night and is the main reason that Aaron Rodgers has finally stepped out of the shadow of Brett Favre.
Making a Name in College
Aaron Rodgers began his collegiate career at Butte Community College in Oroville, California. In his freshman season, he threw 28 touchdowns and led his team to a NorCal Conference Championship and a No. 2 national ranking with a 10-1 record.
While recruiting Butte College tight end Garrett Cross, Cal head coach Jeff Tedford noticed Rodgers and took interest. Rodgers was too small coming out of high school to garner attention from D1 schools but his work at the junior college was enough to make him an interesting prospect for Tedford.
“Seeing him in person, he was very impressive,” Tedford said. “He was very accurate, threw the ball well and had a tight spiral. It was a very pleasant surprise to find out he was very strong in other categories as well.”
In Rodgers first year at Cal, he won the starting quarterback job in week five of the season and helped lead California to a 7-3 record. In the Insight Bowl, he threw for 394 yards and earned MVP honors.
Things got even better the next year as Rodgers led California to a 10-1 record. Rodgers only loss of the regular season came against No. 1 USC, a game in which Rodgers tied the NCAA record with 23 consecutive completions. After California was shunned from a BCS Bowl appearance, they lost to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl and Rodgers announced he was leaving for the NFL.
Brett Favre’s Understudy
Aaron Rodgers was the first round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in the 2005 NFL Draft. Despite being a first round pick, it still seemed a disappointment as Rodgers slipped to the No. 24 pick and was chosen by a team with a future Hall of Fame quarterback already at the helm.
It seemed like the Packers were looking for Brett Favre’s eventual replacement, but the future was still four years away. The Packers went 4-12 in his first year with the team but Rodgers only played in one game while Favre struggled mightily.
Rodgers subbed for an injured Brett Favre against the New England Patriots during the 2006 season but broke his foot and missed the rest of the season. Favre, who had teased at retirement for two consecutive years, returned again in 2007 and rumors swirled that the Packers might consider trading Aaron Rodgers.
Favre finally retired in 2008, allowing Aaron Rodgers the chance to finally start for the Green Bay Packers. Brett Favre changed his mind once again but Green Bay finally cut the cord, trading him to the New York Jets.
Aaron Rodgers Finally Takes Over
For the first time since 1992, a quarterback not named Brett Favre started the season for the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers had a lot of pressure to live up to. Green Bay had two quarterbacks in their history that can be spoken of as the greatest of all-time: Brett Favre and Bart Starr. Rodgers needed to do something to prove he belonged.
In his first season leading the Green Bay Packers, the team posted a 6-10 record and missed the playoffs. While the team struggled, Rodgers never quit, playing through injuries and proving to the Blue Collar town that he was as tough as they come.
In Aaron Rodgers second season as Green Bay’s starting quarterback, he earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. The Packers rebounded from 2008 and finished the year 11-5, making the playoffs. In Rodgers first playoff game, he threw for over 400 yards with four touchdowns but lost in a shootout with Arizona.
Road to Glory
When talking about great Green Bay Packers quarterbacks, Brett Favre and Bart Starr are still predominantly mentioned but Aaron Rodgers proves he belongs on the list after his tremendous 2010 season. He finished the season as the FedEx NFL Player of the Year and led the Packers to their second straight playoff appearance.
This time no one would outgun Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers led the Packers to a hard fought win over Philadelphia in the Wild Card, threw for over 300 yards to beat No. 1 seed Atlanta in the Divisional Playoffs and then pounded out a tough win over the rival Chicago Bears to make it to the Super Bowl.
And as for the Super Bowl?
Aaron Rodgers threw for 304 yards with a touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson and two to Greg Jennings to lead the Green Bay Packers over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Aaron Rodgers was the third Green Bay Packers quarterback to win an MVP Award. Bart Starr won the Super Bowl MVP while Brett Favre was a multiple NFL MVP winner. Both are still spoken of when discussing the best quarterbacks of all-time but Rodgers is making his case for talk of the best Packer to ever play the position.
“You can stop it now,” veteran receiver Donald Driver said. “Aaron’s proved that he’s one of the best, if not the best, quarterback in this game today.”
And he has his first Super Bowl ring to prove it.
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