Super Bowl XLV will surely be remembered a lot of things, but one of the most interesting narratives is that of a quarterback who's finally stepped out of his predecessor's long (well, maybe just average-sized) shadow—it's taken three years as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, but Aaron Rodgers is finally the face of the Green Bay Packers, and not just a youngster to be compared to Brett Favre. So let's compare him to Brett Favre again! Because Rodgers just so happens to be the same age Favre was when he and the Packers pasted the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.â†µ
At 27 Favre found himself with something of a head start on Rodgers. He'd become the starting quarterback for good at 23, making 13 starts that year, and already had two MVP seasons under his belt. Rodgers found himself behind Favre until he was 25, but from 25-27 they were both outstanding. Favre led the NFL in touchdowns all three years, with 38, 39, and 35, and found himself blocked on the leaderboard in other areas only by the astounding post-30 run of Steve Young, who was remarkably efficient.
Rodgers doesn't have the gaudy touchdown marks, but by adjusted yards per pass attempt he's been about as effective as peak Favre over the last two seasons, finishing with marks of 8.7 and 8.4 in 2009 and 2010—third and fifth in the league. Even when you adjust for a league that's gotten pass-heavier by the year, Rodgers has put together a Favrian run. Of course, now he just needs to do it on-and-off until he's 40.â†µ
Pity poor Ben Roethlisberger: Unless the XFL is reopened at some point in his early 30s, he'll never be able to exit the shadow of his own illustrious predecessor, Tommy Maddox.