Brett Who? … Thursday Cup O’Super Bowl

From Dallas, Texas

The questions fly fast and furious at the Super Bowl if one happens to be a starting quarterback in the game. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers has found that out this week.

“Aaron, have you called Brett Favre or has he called you to talk about the expectations for the Super Bowl?”

“No,” answered Rodgers.

Next question.

Rodgers didn’t smile or frown when asked the question or when he gave the answer. But it was telling that after several days of answering questions, the Packers quarterback has made mention of several important conversations he’s had over the last year or so with a host of other quarterbacks.

Guys like Bart Starr, Steve Young and Kurt Warner, but not the man he replaced in Packers green and gold.

On Starr – “Bart has been incredible to me, in the last three years especially, with the e-mails and conversations that I’ve been able to share with him. He’s an incredible man and a guy I’d love to model my career after.”

On Young – “I reached out to Steve when I became a starter. I wanted to talk to a lot of guys who’d been there and had success in the NFL. Steve obviously had a very similar career being a guy who followed a legend. He’s been great. Steve has been a great guy to lean on and he’s made time for me and somebody who I really appreciate.”

On Warner – “He talked about this week, how there’s going to be a bunch of different things pulling at you – stuff like this (media session), your family once they get in. There’s going to be a lot of different things that could disrupt your week if you let them, but he said just focus on keeping your preparation the same.”

Rodgers did not move into the starting lineup after being chosen in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft out of the University of California. He rode the pines under Favre for three seasons.

Through it all, they maintained a business-like atmosphere. Favre was unwilling to warmly embrace the upstart and open up his vault for all the tricks and information he acquired over his storied career.

“We had a great relationship, a working relationship, and I enjoyed the time we got to spend together,” is how Rodgers described their time together.

That Favre was reticent to embrace Rodgers is more than just Favre being a grumpy Gus. It says a lot about how Favre viewed his understudy’s ability to play the game at a high level and unseat him.

Essentially, that’s what happened in 2008 when Favre retired for the hundredth time, but then wanted to return. The Packers under GM Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy had moved on and established Rodgers as the team’s starter.

Thus began a soap opera that inflamed many different passions within the land of cheese and brats – Favre was God … Thompson was an idiot … Favre was washed up … Thompson was shrewd … Favre was an ungrateful cry-baby … Thompson was vengeful … Rodgers was just some California boy.

It’s a passion play that’s died down to a mere whimper these days, but likely will become loud again should Rodgers and the Packers fail to beat the Steelers in Super Bowl 45. This is where advice from Steve Young comes in very handy. The story of the 49ers and their quarterbacks Joe Montana and Young had many of the same plot twists as the Packers.

Rodgers understands the parallels but won’t get roped into the game of déjà vu all over again.

“I think there’s obviously some correlations that people are going to take depending on how we do,” said Rodgers. “I’m just focused on this season. It would be a fulfillment of a long, up and down, adverse season with a great ending.”

As his counterpart with the Steelers is showing over his career, the standards for greatness have more to do with passing yards and completion percentage for a quarterback. There’s the matter of victories, division titles, appearances in the playoffs and championships. Is measuring a quarterback by Super Bowl’s won a fair way to evaluate the player?

“I don’t know, I think Dan Marino would have a problem with that,” Rodgers said. “I think he’s one of the greatest of all time – he didn’t win his opportunity. You have to be blessed with not only ability and opportunity but supporting cast as well. No quarterback has ever won a game by himself. I’m fortunate to be in a situation where we have an incredible defense, great coaching staff, solid guys on offense and I’m hopeful we’ll all put our best foot forward on Sunday.”

What Rodgers knows is that evaluations of him will be made in direct comparison to Favre. The old man got a Super Bowl at the end of the 1996 season. Rodgers gets his chance on Sunday.

Did Rodgers learn anything from his time as Favre’s understudy? Without a doubt, the old dog taught the new dog tricks even if he didn’t want to. There was one thing more important than the others.

“I think consistency,” Rodgers said of Favre’s greatest gift. “The best players in this league are consistent week-in and week-out, and that’s something I’ve tried to do. It’s important to be consistent not only with your preparation each week, but with your personality and trying to be the same guy every day in practice that you are on the field on Sundays.”


ASSOCIATED PRESS – named Patriots coach Bill Belichick coach of the year in balloting by 50 media voters. Belichick received 30 votes, finishing ahead of the Buccaneers head man Raheem Morris with 11.5 votes. Chiefs head coach Todd Haley was third with 4.5 votes. Atlanta’s Mike Smith, Philadelphia’s Andy Reid, Chicago’s Lovie Smith and St. Louis’ Steve Spagnuolo each received one vote.

EAGLES – named offensive line coach Juan Castillo as defensive coordinator; named Howard Mudd as offensive line coach.

3 Responses to “Brett Who? … Thursday Cup O’Super Bowl”

  • February 3, 2011  - cupp says:

    How do you get half a vote?

  • February 3, 2011  - Graig says:

    How did the Eagles get Howard Mudd to coach their line?

  • February 3, 2011  - BigJimInWisconsin says:

    Packers coach McCarthy got how many votes?

    And Belichick got 30 votes for what? Coaching and losing the All-star game?

    Go CHIEFS!

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