Will Love Selection Spur Rodgers in GB?
The Green Bay Packers dropped a huge hint over the future of quarterback Aaron Rodgers by picking Jordan Love in the 2020 Draft. The 36-year-old has been outstanding during his 12-year run as the starting quarterback, inheriting the position in difficult circumstances from Hall of Famer Brett Favre. He ensured that the Packers would remain one of the NFL’s most competitive teams, bringing another Vince Lombardi Trophy back to the Titletown with their triumph in the 2010 season.
However, Rodgers and the Packers have been frustrated in their bid to add further crowns to their name over the last decade. They’ve endured agonising losses in the playoffs, including three defeats in the NFC Championship Game – none more painful that their demise at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks in the 2014 campaign.
Matt LaFleur was hired to replace Mike McCarthy after the franchise stagnated in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. LaFleur enjoyed an excellent opening term, winning the NFC North with a 13-3 record, while advancing to the NFC Championship Game to take on the San Francisco 49ers. At Levi’s Stadium, the Packers were overwhelmed by Kyle Shanahan’s side, slumping to a 37-20 defeat that was not as close as the scoreline suggested. A lack of offensive talent outside of Rodgers, Davante Adams and Aaron Jones was a highlighted issue that the Packers needed to correct for another assault on the NFC in the 2020 campaign. The hierarchy had other ideas...
Many predicted that the Packers would use their first-round pick in the 2020 Draft on an offensive player. When they moved up to the 26th selection in a trade with the Miami Dolphins it appeared they were targeting a player to complement Rodgers alongside Adams and Jones in their offense. General manager Brian Gutekunst stunned the league and every fan and pundit spectating the selection process by using their first-round pick on quarterback Jordan Love. Love was touted to be taken within the opening 32 picks, but the Packers were seemingly low on a list of teams that would require his services with Rodgers still in the prime of his career.
There was an air of familiarity about the selection given that Favre was 36 when the Packers selected Rodgers in 2005. History has repeated itself, although Rodgers was considered a stronger prospect emerging from the college ranks than Love. The Packers will be pinning their hopes that lightning can strike twice and Love is the next Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback to lead the team’s charge for titles for the next 15 years. It will not help Rodgers and their quest to return to the Super Bowl for the first time in 10 years in the next campaign.
The competition in the NFC will only increase with the addition of Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 49ers are not going anywhere, while the New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys will be in contention in the conference. As a result, it will be worth shopping around before betting on the Packers next season. There should be value to be found betting on them outright on the moneyline or even following their progress with in-play betting on a weekly basis when the season begins in September.
Time is running out
Rodgers has let his frustration known about his side’s failure to reach the Super Bowl since he and his team-mates beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Dallas in February 2011. It appeared as though Green Bay were on course to become the next dynasty in the NFL, but the deficiencies on defense in the early part of the decade, which then transferred to the offensive side of the ball in later years have denied the franchise the opportunity to add another Lombardi Trophy to the cabinet.
The 36-year-old was operating at the peak of his powers after the Super Bowl win, earning the MVP award twice in the 2011 and 2014 seasons. However, Rodgers’ play has declined somewhat even if his statistics have been exemplary. There has not been the magic of old from the quarterback to conjure game-winning moments. He has been working with mediocre talent outside of elite years from Adams and Jordy Nelson. It has been enough during the regular season, but come the playoffs Rodgers and company have fallen short.
Green Bay passed up the opportunity to surround Rodgers with a top-tier wideout in 2020. However, the decision to draft Love could spur on the 36-year-old to rediscover his peak as one of his contemporaries did in 2014. Brady and the Patriots had gone 10 years without a title, and their selection of Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 Draft put the pressure on TB12. The rest is history as Brady won three out of the next six Super Bowls to cement his legacy before his move to the Buccaneers. The Packers and Rodgers can only hope to emulate that swansong – then the selection of Love would have paid dividends not only for the future, but also the present.