The Green Bay Packers have been the best team in the NFC since Week 1. With a victory on Sunday over the Chicago Bears, Green Bay will clinch the top seed in the conference and a first-round bye heading into the playoffs. They've been led, as they have for the last decade, by Aaron Rodgers in the midst of yet another MVP-caliber season.
Rodgers has already cemented himself as one of the five best quarterbacks to step foot on a football field. In terms of sheer talent, he might be the absolute best. He has the ring, the numbers, and the accolades to be considered one of the best to play the game.
Where he falls in those all-time rankings, though, is a matter of much debate. The ease in which he can throw the ball 60 yards and make the game look as easy as anybody ever has is one thing, but he doesn't have the statistical dominance of Peyton Manning or the Super Bowl count of Tom Brady, to name a few examples. Another MVP season that ends in a championship would certainly change that conversation, wouldn't it?
Domonique Foxworth thinks so, and in that vein believes this may be the most important postseason of Rodgers' career as far as it pertains to his legacy.
It's a touch of exaggeration, of course; all good television has that. The most important postseason of Rodgers' career probably already happened when he won his first title in 2010 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With one ring on his hand to silence anyone's arguments about his ability to win The Big One, everything else for Rodgers is just gravy.
But talking about legacy and all-time rankings is part of the fun with sports. After a certain point it becomes not so fun (see: Skip Bayless on LeBron James and Michael Jordan), but in small doses it's part of the entertainment package. As Foxworth notes, once a player is firmly established as a Hall of Fame talent, we can't help but (unfairly) compare them to their peers on that pantheon.
So, if Rodgers wins another ring following an MVP year, how much higher does that boost his stock? He has had a remarkable season, throwing for 4,059 yards with 44 touchdowns and only five interceptions with one game to go. The issue, of course, is that Rodgers has posted remarkable statistical seasons before and failed to even make it to the Super Bowl, much less win it. Several times.
It would be a big letdown if the Packers didn't at least get to Tampa this year. Rodgers has one of the best receivers in the league at his disposal in Davonte Adams and a talented supporting cast around him, whether it's in the trenches or in the backfield. The defense, so often a weak spot in Green Bay, is at least fine, even if it isn't dominant by any stretch of the imagination. The Packers are a complete team and Rodgers is leading the charge.
To do this all at age 37 would be remarkable too. Yes, every quarterback is playing until they're old nowadays, but the numbers Rodgers is putting up is still ridiculous. Top it all off with a championship, and there's a very good argument to be made that it's the best season of his career to date.
Will this be the most important January of Rodgers' football life? Maybe not. But it could be legacy-altering. It will be fun to watch.