If the reports are true, it’s time to close the book on the Green Bay Packers. After last offseason’s dust-up with management, Aaron Rodgers allegedly wanted nothing to do with the franchise before he came back to play this year; whether that’s still the case remains to be seen. Regardless, what we do know is that an organization that had two generational talents at the position over almost the previous three decades has only two Super Bowls to show for it. That is a failure. I am fully aware winning a Super Bowl isn’t easy. I’m not blaming Brett Favre or Rodgers. I place blame solely on the organization. These days everyone is so focused on the fact that the Packers have won in the past that they fail to see what could’ve and should’ve been.
Everyone loves Rodgers for what he can do on the football field. No one blames him for the product on the field; rightfully so, as he does what he needs to do to win football games. Regular season success and postseason success separate the greats from the legends. The past three seasons, Rodgers has been an NFL MVP candidate. He won the award last season and probably will do so again this year. Yet even with Rodgers’ great play, the Packers lost in the divisional round of the 2021 NFL Playoffs.
In 2019, the Packers went 13-3 lock up the NFC’s top seed with both a stellar offense and defense. When it came time for the postseason, the San Francisco 49ers put up 37 points and 285 rushing yards to knock Green Bay out of the playoffs. In 2020, Green Bay went 13-3 and earned the top seed in the NFC again, thanks to the league’s best offense. They made it to the NFC Championship Game, only to fall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady. In 2021, they went 13-4 and earned the NFC’s #1 seed due to a top ten offense and top ten defense. They were expected to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, yet things went the same as previous years. This season, they were knocked out of the Divisional Round in another loss to the 49ers. That put Aaron Rodgers 0-4 against the 49ers in the postseason in what could end up being the end of his time in Green Bay.
No matter how great the quarterback is, he still needs help. Football is a team game. When you have a generational talent like Rodgers at the most important position in football, you need to get him help. Everyone loves to say all Rodgers does is complain because he has had top offensive lines and top defenses, but it’s not about what you have, it’s about what you don’t have.
Every NFL team is trying to get better while the Packers seemed to be trying to piss off Rodgers in years past. All the Packers have done since Brain Gutekunst was promoted to general manager in 2018 is create progressively worse rosters that yield the same results. For example, after their loss to the 49ers in 2019, they saw their leading tackler, Blake Martinez, and All-Pro right tackle Brian Bulaga depart in free agency. After their loss to Tom Brady in 2020, Green Bay lost arguably the best center in the NFL in Corey Linsley and replaced him with rookie Josh Myers. Their only attempt to get Rodgers better weapons was to sign Devin Funchess and draft A.J. Dillon, Now they face the risk of losing Rodgers.
The Packers’ salary cap was mismanaged during this time as well. They made decisions like re-signing Aaron Jones to an enormous contract after drafting Dillon in the second round. Decisions like that hurt Green Bay’s ability to keep their offensive line intact and limited Rodgers’s wide receiver options.
That’s not even the worst part. The Packers drafted Jordan Love with their first round pick in 2019. Rodgers needs weapons, you say? Nonsense. Let’s draft his replacement while Rodgers is under contract for three more seasons. The Packers could’ve drafted Tee Higgins, a 1,000 yard wide receiver thriving with the Cincinnati Bengals, or Michael Pittman Jr., who is shining in Indianapolis as a big target with good hands. They could’ve drafted Laviska Shenault Jr., who is stuck playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars yet still putting up better numbers then Marquez Valdez-Scantling. The Packers could’ve drafted Chase Claypool. Even if the Packers didn’t want a receiver, they could have selected linebacker Patrick Queen; Queen could have anchored their front seven for years to come. Gutekunst weighed the options of pushing for a Super Bowl or building for a future three years away; he chose the latter. The future has arrived, and now they get to face the consequences of their own actions.
The Packers are going to crumble to mediocrity the moment Rodgers walks out of Green Bay. During their fall, they will realize how good they had it with him under center. Some teams have never had a quarterback close to Rodgers’ level; if they had, they probably would’ve treated him better then Green Bay did these last few years. The amount of pressure on Jordan Love to succeed will be higher then any young quarterback out there. If Love flops, everyone will look to him as the reason for the Packers’ downfall. But it won’t be Love’s fault.
The Packers had some good times. Now it’s time to face the bad if Rodgers leaves.