ARod is Alpha

Anatomy of a Play, Green Bay Packers, Greg Smith, Inside the Game

We live in an era of great quarterbacking, where a completion percentage under 60 is pedestrian, and a sub-90 passer rating gets you labeled a “game manager”.

It wasn’t long ago those numbers were elite.

In the 80’s and 90’s, only the best QBs played with that kind of precision and efficiency.  Joe Montana, Steve Young, Brett Favre, and Kurt Warner were like some kind of rare and beautiful bird.

Joe Montana, 1985 (AP)

They threw lots of completions and touchdowns without throwing many incompletions or interceptions.  At the time, it was awesome to watch.  Looking back now, it’s evident those guys were teaching everyone how the position should be played.

Today’s quarterbacks grew up watching and modeling their games after those passers, and are better as a result.  The best QBs nowadays put up numbers that dwarf Montana’s.

Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have been the best 21st century quarterbacks, and each of them has had their record-breaking, jaw-dropping, fantasy-football-God season:

Manning’s ‘04:
67.6% complete, 4,557 yards, 49 TDs, 10 INTS, 121.1 rating

Brady’s ‘07:
68.9% complete, 4,806 yards, 50 TDs, 8 INTs, 117.2 rating

But over the course of last year’s playoffs and the beginning of this year, Aaron Rodgers has not only butted his way into the Manning/Brady conversation, he has separated himself.

Rodgers ‘11 season (projected at current pace):
73% complete, 5300 yards, 48 TDs, 8 INTS, 124.6 rating

Aaron Rodgers (AP)

ARod’s level of play is so amazing that he’s got me thinking he might be the greatest quarterback of all time.  And I’m not alone.  Broncos Head Coach John Fox said after Sunday’s loss to Green Bay:

“He’s playing as well as any quarterback I’ve seen in the league.  And this is my 23rd season.”

Whether Rodgers is playing better than Montana, Young, Favre, Warner, Manning, or Brady ever did is debatable… But considering he is the reigning Super Bowl MVP, racking up historic numbers, and just entering his prime, it’s tough to argue Rodgers isn’t the best quarterback in today’s NFL.

UPDATED:  Above, Baldy’s “Anatomy of a Play” for two of Aaron Rodgers touchdowns.

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