All it took was some public recognition for quarterback Aaron Rodgers for sports columnist Skip Bayless to fire up his hot-take machine and revisit a classic debate: Rodgers versus Brett Favre.
Bayless has been riled up since last week, when Rodgers was named to the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade Team over Drew Brees, joining Tom Brady as the only other quarterback on the list. But what really set him off was watching ESPN’s replay of the 2009 Vikings-Packers Monday Night Football game, which was Favre’s first game against the Packers since leaving Green Bay.
Bayless told Fox Sports’ Undisputed on Tuesday,
I watched Brett Favre from the start and I watched him to the finish and I’ve watched Aaron Rodgers all too much in his prime, which he is leaving as we speak. … (Brett Favre) was better as a young quarterback and he was much better as an older quarterback than Aaron Rodgers ever thought about being.
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Bayless Insists Rodgers is in Decline
Bayless built some of his case on how well Favre, at 40 years old, played during that game, with his four touchdown passes helping hoist the Vikings to victory. He also argued it helped show the contrast between him and Rodgers, who Bayless insisted “has been in decline for four years” with annual drops in his completion percentage and quarterback rating.
Aaron got to one Super Bowl ages ago, eons ago, a decade ago. Ten years ago, Aaron Rodgers got to his one and only Super Bowl — I’ll give you this, he won it. But since that 4-0 run as the road wild-card team against all odds to win that Super Bowl, Aaron Rodgers is 6-7 in the postseason and five of those six wins were pretty lucky.
Statistically, Bayless isn’t wrong. Rodgers has seen his completion percentage fall from 65.7% to 62.0% since the 2016 regular season, with similar drops in his QBR — from 73.8 to 50.4. But Bayless also neglects some aspects of Rodgers’ game that outrank Favre, including the massive gap between the quarterbacks’ interception rates over their careers.
Don’t forget: Favre threw four times as many interceptions in his 20-season career as Rodgers has thus far in his 15 NFL seasons. He also threw 19 in his final season before retiring, which matches the total number of picks Rodgers has thrown in the past three seasons combined.
NFL Draft Comments Don’t Hold Much Water
While Bayless isn’t spouting complete nonsense, one part of his argument undermined everything else he was trying to get across — and his name is Jordan Love.
Bayless spoke to the Packers’ pre-draft interest in the Utah State quarterback, saying he is aware the team has been in contact with one of Love’s former coaches now employed at Texas Tech. Reading between the lines, he is talking about Matt Wells, who spent six seasons as Utah State’s head coach before flipping to Texas Tech for the 2019 season.
“I think Green Bay is in the hunt for Jordan Love,” Bayless said. “They made the call to the Texas Tech coach that used to coach him at Utah State because they’re already looking for the Aaron Rodgers replacement.”
That’s an interesting angle for Bayless to take considering he is supporting Favre in this argument. If the Packers taking an interest in top quarterback prospects can be taken as an indictment of Rodgers’ abilities as a starter, the same thing could be said about Favre when Rodgers was picked in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft. Favre was not only younger than Rodgers is now, but he continued to play for another three seasons as Green Bay’s starter.
Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst left the door open on the possibility of the Packers drafting a quarterback this year when speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, but he also clarified the team evaluates all the top quarterback prospects each year — just to make sure they don’t pass on a good one if he happens to fall down the draft board and into their laps.