Two storylines, each with different narratives and one overarching fact, that the NFL needs better PR right now.
This week, Thursday Night Football sees the Green Bay Packers heading to the desert to the red-hot Arizona Cardinals. The epic showdown between the NFC North and NFC West teams is also a battle of youth vs. experience.
Best Of The NFC
The quarterback storyline often overtakes the team narrative in football, but rightfully so when talking about Aaron Rodgers and Kyler Murray. The game has NFC championship implications and potential Super Bowl dreams attached.
It is also the first Tim the two have ever faced each other.
Rodgers is a veteran who understands how to read a defense like no other and is an expert at the short passing game. After a soap opera style love-hate start to the preseason, where many didn’t believe Rodgers would show up to training camp, he did, ending the summer speculations.
However, after losing all three preseason games, including a scoreless 19-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills, the narrative of a sad Rodgers persisted.
Then came the season opener where Jameis Winston and the New Orleans Saints molly whopped Rodgers for a disappointing 38-3 start. The critics began to squeal, and life looked bleak for the Lambeau faithful.
That’s A Baaaad Man!
But as said throughout his entire football career, Aaron Rodgers is a bad man. Since then, the Pack has been a healthy 6-0, coming off their most recent victory over the Washington Football Team at home.
Through six games, Rodgers has 15 touchdowns, 1,710 passing yards, and only three interceptions. It is a drastic departure from the preseason drama between the executives and Rodgers, where separation was imminent.
Now Rodgers is “still in Green Bay and having the time of my life,” as he said recently on the “Pat McAfee Show.”
Rising Star In The Desert
He now faces a rising star in Kyler Murray, who is having a perfect season so far.
Leading the only undefeated team in the NFL, the 24-year-old Heisman Trophy winner is in his second season in the NFL and already showing his brilliance.
Murray has taken his game to a higher level this season, shining above his peers. Murray has been an accurate passer since his entrance into the league in 2018.
In a league where Lamar Jackson has defined the new era of a big-armed running quarterback, Murray has etched his unique brand of QBing into the league.
The former Oklahoma QB has transitioned fine into the NFL, becoming NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He also recorded numerous Cardinals franchise rookie passing records.
Murray even made the 2020 Pro Bowl in only his second season. The faceoff between him and Rodgers will be must-see TV.
In Need Of A Distraction
This showdown comes on the heels of the NFL’s PR nightmares. The email scandal created by Jon Gruden gave the world a peek behind the veil of what can be perceived as a good old boy system.
In addition, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has taken an “L” in the court of public opinion over not releasing more info on the Washington Football Team sexual misconduct investigation.
With owners like Las Vegas Raiders’ Mark Davis calling for more transparency, the NFL hasn’t had the best month.
This game will keep the fans busy and the public with bated breath as two of the game’s top gunslingers will face off for an epic showdown.