Colin Cowherd is usually a dangerous listen in terms of sports expertise. Mostly because the guy is inconsistent with his takes and misfires quite a bit with his declarations about certain players and teams. However, to be fair he sometimes brings certain subjects up that are hard to ignore. His latest was fascinating: how Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre’s career paths are remarkably similar.
It sounds crazy at first thought. In terms of personality and playing style, the two couldn’t be more different. Favre was the more freestyling cowboy who took boatloads of chances. Rodgers protects the football better than any QB in NFL history and may be the most accurate ever. Not to mention his personality is decidedly more passive.
So how in the world can he compare the two? If one were to step back from the personalities and playing styles and simply looked at the accomplishments, it gets downright eerie. One side-by-side display Cowherd had really hit home.
Wow. The list is nearly identical, and it doesn’t end there. Upon going through a further examination of their careers after that first 10-year window, the parallels keep going. Here are a few examples of why.
Favre may have not missed any games during the latter half of his run in Green Bay, but make no mistake. He played hurt quite often, dealing with everything from broken fingers to concussions and elbow problems. While he still has that magical rocket right arm, it was clear the hits were beginning to take a toll on him.
Rodgers is experiencing that reality too. He can still move well but at 35 his body isn’t holding up to the poundings like it used to. He’s already broken his collarbone twice, dealt with a knee injury for much of the first half of 2018 and then exited the loss on Sunday with a groin issue. It’s hard not to say that maybe the beatings have affected his once precision play.
Troubling personal life
Favre was never a stranger to off-the-field issues. They’ve followed him for years, even during the peak of his career. He landed in rehab before the 1996 season due to a Vicodin addiction. A few years in 2003 later he was blindsided by the death of his father from a heart attack.
The next year his brother-in-law was killed in an ATV accident and his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then in 2005, his Mississippi home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The guy went through a lot. Rodgers is enduring much of the same.
He had a notoriously ugly falling out with his family. Much of it revolves around reports of him bailing on a close friend’s wedding, missing his grandfather’s funeral, and the family accusing his former girlfriend Olivia Munn of using him to further her own career. It hasn’t been pretty and something Rodgers has desperately tried to prevent from going public.
A decline in the elite level of play
While Favre was an outright superstar through the first half of his run in Green Bay, the same can’t really be said for the second half. Through the first eight seasons, he had 30,894 yards passing with 235 touchdowns and 139 interceptions. Over the final eight seasons, the numbers were 30,761 yards, 207 touchdowns, 147 interceptions, and an 84.32 rating.
Rodgers has shown similar problems. Over his first six seasons as a starter, he went for 23868 yards, 187 touchdowns, and 51 interceptions for a 105.57 rating. In his past five seasons, he’s gone for 18,279 yards, 148 touchdowns, and 28 interceptions. Good for a 101.03 rating. The decline isn’t steep but by his standards, it’d definitely noticeable.
Rodgers is missing on plays that two years ago he would’ve hit in his sleep.
Parting ways with a coach who got the most from him
Favre said one of the biggest regrets of his NFL career was the day that Mike Holmgren left the Green Bay Packers as their head coach. He felt even back then that things might never be the same for him in terms of top-tier play. Time proved him correct. Favre was never close to his the form he displayed under Holmgren with anybody else.
The same may end up being said of Rodgers and former head coach Mike McCarthy. The two were together for a long time and had a ton of success together. Eventually, it became clear that Rodgers was tired of his style and the way he conducted offense as a play caller.
However, is it a coincidence that the first game Rodgers has against the Bears without McCarthy ends up being the worst of his NFL career? Something worth thinking about. So is this. Upon hitting his 35th birthday in 2004, Favre would go 3-9 against Chicago the remainder of his career. Rodgers turned 35 this year and is already 1-1.