With Aaron Rodgers now officially traded to the Jets, I felt compelled to commemorate the end of his era in Green Bay—something I did for his predecessor.
It feels impossible to fully honor Rodgers’ on-the-field legacy given his endless highlights and memorable moments over the last 15 years. But I’m with Mike Spofford at Packers.com, who attempted to summarize his overarching memories of Rodgers:
Just the jaw-dropping plays in big moments that I’ll never forget having witnessed, the ones that upon reflection remind you that the extraordinary, no matter how frequent, is never ordinary. Third-and-10 to Jennings in the Super Bowl, fourth-and-8 from the 48 in Chicago, off one leg (and back foot) to his namesake in the Dez game, the Hail Marys in Detroit and Arizona, the last-minute deep-middle heave to Jordy on a frozen Soldier Field, Cook on the sideline in Dallas, the diving Jamaal at Arrowhead, back-to-back to Adams to set up Crosby in San Fran, … the list feels interminable, and for that we’re all blessed.
I too witnessed all of these plays (on TV at least), but the Super Bowl XLV run will remain at the top for me. I was a year out of college and have vivid memories of watching each of the playoff games against the Eagles, Falcons, Bears, and Steelers. Adding those to similar memories from 14 years before, when I saw the Packers win Super Bowl XXXI, means I’ve been a blessed fan indeed.
I’ve half-joked with non-Packers fans that once Rodgers retired or left the Packers I would also retire from Packers fandom, just knowing that I’ve been insanely lucky rooting for a team with 30 years of sustained success and two all-timers at quarterback and that the bill will surely come due for that prolonged luck—so I might as well quit while I’m ahead.
I’m not gonna fully quit. But I am going to put these decades of dominance and my enjoyment of it into a metaphorical capsule that I can appreciate forever.