Aaron Rodgers isn’t being coy about how much success he hopes to achieve with his new Green Bay Packers head coach.
Ahead of Sunday’s NFC Championship game, Rodgers spoke with The Athletic’s Jason Wilde about his strong relationship with rookie coach Matt LaFleur and the prospect of them reaching the Super Bowl in their first season together in Green Bay. They also discussed the legendary pairing of head coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback John Elway that yielded back-to-back Super Bowl titles for the Denver Broncos in 1997 and 1998 before Elway retired.
“I appreciate the history of the game,” Rodgers said about the Broncos’ dynamic duo, via Wilde’s article. “But I still feel like, they won two Super Bowls, but John played only four seasons with Mike.
“I’m hoping to get more than that with Matt.”
Rodgers has previously said he wants to play into his 40s and only just turned 36 in December. He is also signed to a contract that could last through the 2023 season if the Packers opt to continue with their two-time MVP quarterback. Rodgers didn’t have the chart-bursting season some have come to expect from him in other previous campaigns, but he still tied for the fewest interceptions (4) in the regular season with 4,002 passing yards (11th) and 26 touchdowns (T-8th).
Rodgers was also solid for the Packers in their divisional playoff victory over the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday, completing 16 of 27 passes for 243 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions behind sturdy protection from his offensive line. To get the job done against the San Francisco 49ers this weekend, though, he might need to pull out another signature performance.
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Rodgers Reiterates Packers Only Needed to ‘Reload’
It’s been almost three years since Rodgers was asked about what major changes the Packers would need to undergo in order to recapture some of their former glory. Questions about rebuilding came immediately following the Packers’ deflating 44-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, but Rodgers said he didn’t think it would take nearly as much.
“I don’t think we need to rebuild. We need to reload,” Rodgers said, via USA Today. “We have a lot of players who are young who are big contributors for us. We just need to reload a bit this offseason.”
Two offseasons later, the Packers are standing at the doorstep of the most important game of the year after a 13-win regular season, which predictably has some circling back to Rodgers’ comments. Not that he is interested in accepting praise for what he feels others inside the organization deserve, especially Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst.
“I said after the year (against Atlanta) I didn’t think we needed to start over, we just needed to reload,” Rodgers told reporters Friday when asked about how he reacted to the news of last offseason’s big-name acquisitions, including Za’Darius and Preston Smith. “And that’s what I felt on that day. I just felt like Brian was saying, ‘Let’s go all-in and win this thing this year.’ So it gives you a lot of confidence, especially being an older player, knowing how the years are obviously numbers. But … I just feel like the window reopened with those signings, with the midseason acquisitions.”
While the window won’t shut even if the Packers can’t win Sunday in California, there is no time like the present, in a battle of the NFC’s Nos. 1 and 2, to cash in on the resurgence with a trip to Miami.