Aaron Rodgers is missing that “ingredient” that separates the gods from the merely iconic. On ESPN’s “First Take,” Chris “Mad Dog” Russo said comparing Rodgers to Michael Jordan is akin to blasphemy. He believes Rodgers is a good quarterback but doesn’t have the thing that Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Rafael Nadal have. What is that thing? Who knows, and it’s likely Russo doesn’t either.
“We all know he’s great. But Rodgers is missing that ingredient as I’ve said a thousand times, that Brady has,” Russo said. “He’s missing that when the going gets tough, I’m going to figure out a way to win this freaking game.”
.@MadDogUnleashed didn't hold back on Aaron Rodgers 😳
"We all know he's great. But Rodgers is missing that ingredient as I've said a thousand times, that Brady has." pic.twitter.com/kj6JLe8msI
— First Take (@FirstTake) August 24, 2022
Russo went on to focus on Aaron Rodgers’ 11-10 postseason record and went as far as calling him, “Jared Goff in the postseason,” which sent his co-hosts into a frenzy.
We all understand what Russo is referring to, but that is such a reductive way to look at sports. Especially the ultimate team sport, football.
For years the NFL has overhyped the quarterback position to a point that has gotten in the way of reasonable discourse about the game. Quarterbacks receive far too much credit for team success and far too much blame for team failure as a whole.
Yes, quarterbacks are the highest-paid players on the team and thus regarded as the most important. But correlation does not imply causality.
If you have a poor performing quarterback it is very likely your offense will suffer. But what does a quarterback have to do with defense and special teams? Two areas of the game he is never on the field for.
But if that same poor quarterback has an excellent offensive line, running game, and top-end receivers, how bad is your offense?
There are so many additional variables in football. Coaches love to preach “Eleven as one” as a mentality.
Russo’s comparison of Rodgers to Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Rafael Nadal are misguided. Nadal and Woods play individual sports, winning and losing is entirely on them. And even then, they have opponents and in the case of Woods, a course to deal with.
Basketball is not a fair comparison either because in a game with only five players on a side, one man like Michael Jordan, can have an outsized impact on a team’s performance on both ends of the floor.
Brady is the only comp that is fair, and because he has seven Super Bowl titles to Rodgers’ one that means Brady has that “it” factor? How many times were Brady’s teams better than Rodgers’ teams? If Brady is so much better why was he unable to defeat Eli Manning and the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI?
Do you see? These kind of one-to-one comparisons don’t necessarily work in football. Too many variables.
Is Rodgers condescending, arrogant and generally unlikeable? There are many who agree with that sentiment.
Is personal animosity why so many people are down on Rodgers, or is it simply his performance?
Rodgers is a 10-time Pro Bowl plaer, five-time All-Pro, four-time MVP, four-time passer rating leader, and two-time touchdown leader. He was first or second in every relevant quarterback stat last year.
But because his team hasn’t won enough he’s somehow lesser. His postseason numbers are in line with what he does in the regular season, but somehow that has only led to one Super Bowl, and as the quarterback he gets the blame for that.
If Rodgers and Brady had switched places and the former played in New England for all those years and the latter in Green Bay, what would this conversation be like?