What makes the “who’s the quarterback of all-time?” debate so much fun is that the question has no answer. You can argue that Peyton Manning is the greatest QB that ever played because he has the best stats. You would be equally correct to argue that Joe Montana is the best because he went 4-0 in the Super Bowl. All answers are equal parts correct and incorrect.
Aaron Rodgers is creeping into the “Greatest of All Time” conversation, and rightfully so. He’s been nearly impeccable since taking over for Brett Favre in 2008, and he essentially willed the Green Bay Packers to the NFC Title game after a 4-6 start to this season. Despite his impressive body of work (and what he may yet accomplish) it’s unlikely Rodgers will ever be the undisputed GOAT because there are simply too many variables to considers when making this argument. However, after Sunday’s Divisional Playoff win against the Dallas Cowboys I think we can all agree that Rodgers is the most terrifying boogeyman the NFL has ever seen.
The Packers-Cowboys game should have gone to overtime. The Packers faced a 3rd and 20(!) from their own 32-yard line and only 12 seconds remained in the 4th quarter. Rodgers made a remarkable throw and Jared Cook made a remarkable catch, which set up Mason Crosby’s game winning field goal as time expired. This was an incredible sequence of events that most quarterbacks can only dream of, yet is was the second time it happened to the Packers this season.
The Packers faced a similar scenario late in their Week 15 game against the Chicago Bears. The Packers also blew a large 4th quarter lead and the game was also ticketed to overtime. But on 3rd and 11 with 36 second left, Rodgers hit sure-handed Jordy Nelson for a 60-yard bomb that set up the game-winning field goal as time expired. In each game the Packers needed a miracle play to avoid OT, and that’s exactly what Rodgers delivered.
There was also the Hail Mary that sent last season’s playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals into overtime. Or the Hail Mary on an untimed down that defeated the Detroit Lions. Or the bomb to Randall Cobb against the Bears to win the NFC North in 2o13. Or the…well, you get the idea. The point it: it’s not rare for quarterbacks to be capable of leading game-winning drives, but what Rodgers has been doing is on another level. It’s one thing to lead a team on a successful two-minute drill. It’s a completely different thing to be able to throw a 60-yard Hail Mary while falling backwards.
You can take any one of the plays described above and identify a quarterback capable of making that throw. Russell Wilson, for example, has the escapability to make the throw to Cobb that sank the Bears. Identifying a quarterback capable of making ALL of those throws is another story. Rodgers is both capable and accomplished in this respect.
So does this make Aaron Rodgers the best quarterback the NFL has ever seen? Not necessarily. But if you the opposing team and the game is on the line, Aaron Rodgers is the last quarterback you want to see taking the field. He is the Boogeyman.