Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback… ever
Yeah, I said it. Bring it on. Read me the NFL record book, aka Peyton Manning’s biography. Make it about jewelry, how the 31-year-old QB has just one ring and miles to go if he’s going to catch Tom Brady or Joe Montana.
Say he isn’t even the best to put on a Packer uniform. I’m standing by my claim.
If you saw Mr. Discount Double Check’s performance against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football, then you saw in a nutshell why I think he’s the most complete signal caller of all-time. His stat line of five touchdowns, 24-35 passing, 33 yards and a quarterback rating of 138.5 says a lot, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Rodgers is deadly accurate whether he’s standing in the pocket or on the move. He’s so quick and mobile, with feet that never stop hopping, it’s almost impossible to bring him down. Even when there is pressure in his face, he has a lightning quick trigger and a Spidey-sense presence that allows him to throw ridiculous fade-away bullets right into his receiver’s chest.
It’s like watching Madden, except in real life. Wait… isn’t that the point of Madden?
It can be argued that in this day and age, performances like this happen all the time around the league. Even a rookie like Marcus Mariota can throw for four TDs and no picks in a game. After all, we are currently living in the era of iPhones and inflated passing numbers.
With Rodgers though, it’s almost assured that we’re going to see sky-high numerical dominance every single time he steps on the field. That’s why his QB rating of 106.8 is the highest in the history of the NFL and the only one above 100 (Tony Romo and Peyton Manning are distant runner-ups at 97.6 and 97.3, respectively).
I’m not saying he’s the greatest quarterback ever. That’s obviously a boringly impossible-to-prove statement to make.
But in terms of the accuracy, the mobility, the numbers, the consistency and the overall feeling of helplessness that he gives to opposing defenses, I don’t think there’s another quarterback in any situation that I would ever take over him.
Sure, Brady is the ultimate winner. Sure, Peyton is the ultimate robot. And, yes, our parents once watched Dan Marino and Joe Montana and will never change their minds about who the best ever is.
In the end, whether he’s on my fantasy team or the team I root for, I’m picking Brett Favre’s patient former backup to lead me to victory, and I don’t think there’s anyone in the NFC that can stop him.
The Cardinals Are For Real
After Week Three of last year, I put the Arizona Cardinals’ chances of winning the Super Bowl at zero. The reason? Quarterback Carson Palmer had torn his ACL for the second time in his career.
Even without Palmer in the lineup, the Cardinals proved just how good they were by starting off 9-1 and making the playoffs with third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley heading the offense.
Fast forward to now. Arizona is 3-0 with the most points in the league and the third-fewest points allowed.
What stood out to me most while watching what could be the beginning of the end for Colin Kaepernick in the Cards’ 47-7 demolition of the 49ers on Sunday was just how ruthless Arizona Head Coach Bruce Arians is. Despite going into the half leading 31-7, Arians’ message to his team was simply this: “Step on their throats.”
This isn’t to be confused with the message that Sean Payton has for his New Orleans Saints to literally step on their opponents’ throats. This is more in the scoreboard sense. #bountyjokes
All humor aside, I don’t know about you, but if I were a six-foot, 230-pound athlete with a super strong frame, lightning speed and physically violent capabilities, then Arians is the kind of guy that I would want to play for. Unfortunately for me, I’m about 60 pounds shy of being that.
Now I’m not 100 percent sure what goes on behind the scenes with the New England Patriots other than cheating, but I’m guessing Bill Belichick is sending the same kind of message to his players as they put 40 and 50 burgers up on teams, regardless if it’s in the rain or snow. That’s just one of the many reasons why he’s won four Super Bowls.
Right now, the Cardinals have it all: an excellent coaching staff, a tenacious defense with playmakers all around, an offense that seems to be drinking water from the fountain of youth, not to mention their supply of young studs like Michael Floyd, John Brown and Andre Ellington.
If the Cardinals can stay healthy, they are the favorites to make it to the NFC Championship alongside Green Bay. They have the right mindset to do it.
If there’s anything that the 2009 runner-up Cardinals, led by old dog Kurt Warner, or the 2007 and 2012 New York Giants have taught us, it’s that it just takes one solid run in January to make it to the greatest show on turf, America style.
Carson Palmer, just watch your knees and get Larry Fitzgerald that ring already. Twelve seasons in Arizona? The man has suffered through enough.
A version of this article appeared on page 9 of October 1, 2015’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.