It’s a shame really, because from a purely aesthetic perspective I’ve always loved to watch Rodgers — advanced stats say he’s the best QB of all time, although such analyses are subject to endless statistical caveats.
So why hasn’t he won more? Part of it is that he had a terrible head coach for the vast majority of his career — the preternatural blockhead Mike McCarthy, who was subsequently hired to screw up the enormous talent base he inherited in Dallas, because Jerry Jones believes in the MAGA version of the Meritocracy I suppose. (Does everything have to be about politics now? Yes Ben — yes it does).
Part of it is that there’s just a lot of luck in sports as in life in general: Rodgers’s teams have made the conference championship game five times, i.e., in more than one third of the seasons in which he’s quarterbacked the team, and they lost a couple of tossup games at that point that they easily could have won.
And after all lots of undeniably all-time great quarterbacks have won less than Rodgers has — for example Drew Brees made three conference championship games in the course of winning his one Super Bowl ring, Dan Marino also made three conference championship games and didn’t win a Super Bowl, Peyton Manning won “only” one Super Bowl until his final season, when as a shadow of his former self he got another because of a really great defense and a whole lot of luck etc.
Maybe the fact that Rodgers is an egomaniacal walking case of Dunning Kruger syndrome, who seems to have a genius for alienating people who were formerly close to him, reflects some weakness on his part in terms of the sacred “intangibles” involved in Leading a Team with Leadership, so worshipped by sports journalists, and supposedly so crucial in determining victory, that by definition can’t be measured by any statistical analysis. (Why do you think they call them intangibles anyway?)
I’m going to do a post an alternate history of Tom Brady, that will explore this mystery further, but for now I will sip the wine of schadenfreude that last night decanted: this was, I think, the first time in my life that I rooted so hard, for purely political reasons, against a great athlete that I’ve always admired as an athlete.
For me a strange little fly in the chardonnay of my enjoyment of last night’s game is that I’m dedicating the book I’m publishing this fall on the psychology of fandom to William Ian Miller. Miller is a great scholar and mentor who despises everything about Trump and Trumpism as intensely as it’s possible to despise those things, while loving the Green Bay Packers with the pure unadulterated love of a man who spent his boyhood in Green Bay, back in the days of Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr.
Sorry Bill, but I guess you had to take this one for the team.