Record chase puts Packers’ Rodgers in nostalgic mood
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is feeling nostalgic and cherishing every moment as he moves closer to breaking the franchise record for career touchdown passes.
His 442 touchdown passes put him in a tie with Brett Favre, his Hall of Fame predecessor. Rodgers can overtake Favre on Saturday when the Packers (11-3) host the Cleveland Browns (7-7).
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Rodgers and Favre exchanged text messages after Rodgers reached No. 442 in a 31-30 victory Sunday at Baltimore. The gist of Favre’s message was to enjoy the ride because it goes so fast and ends before you realize it.
The 38-year-old Rodgers had offered a similar message to his teammates Sunday as he told them to appreciate clinching a third straight NFC North title.
As Rodgers reflected on Favre’s text message during a Zoom session with reporters on Tuesday, he quoted from the series finale of “The Office,” when Andy Bernard says that “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”
“I’ve often thought a lot about that (and was) reminded by Favre-y’s comment but to just enjoy these times,” Rodgers said. “Because these are the good old days and you never know when they’re going to be done, and it goes by so quickly.”
This isn’t Rodgers’ first reference to “The Office” this season. The reigning MVP was wearing a T-shirt referencing “The Office” when he arrived for training camp this summer, ending his standoff with team management that threatened to end his Packers tenure before he’d have a chance to break the record.
While Rodgers’ future in Green Bay beyond this season remains uncertain, he is putting together an MVP-caliber performance in his 17th year with the team as the Packers chase their first Super Bowl berth since their 2010 championship season.
After getting picked off twice and failing to reach the end zone in a 38-3 season-opening loss to New Orleans, Rodgers has thrown 30 touchdown passes and only two interceptions in the 13 games since.
He has thrown 13 touchdown passes without an interception over his past four games despite playing with a fractured left pinky toe that has limited his practice time.
Rodgers has thrown 442 touchdown passes while getting intercepted just 93 times. For comparison’s sake, Favre had 286 interceptions to go along with his 442 touchdown passes during his 16 seasons in Green Bay.
“I think he’s the ultimate multi-tasker in terms of just being able to play the position at obviously the highest of levels, but also take in so much information at the same time I’m giving him a play call,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said.
“It’s one of the more impressive things I’ve ever seen, just the way he’s able to go out there and perform and how the game is almost in slow motion for him.”
Rodgers’ predecessor is equally impressed.
“Aaron’s going to shatter every record out there if he continues to play because he’s just, he’s better now than he’s ever been and shows no signs of slowing down,” F avre said Monday on his SiriusXM Radio show, “The SiriusXM Blitz with Brett Favre and Bruce Murray.”
Favre threw 508 touchdown passes, but that total includes 22 with the New York Jets in 2008 and 44 for the Minnesota Vikings from 2009-10. Rodgers has spent his entire career in Green Bay thus far, backing up Favre for three seasons before taking over as the starter in 2008.
The two of them have become good friends.
“There will be times where we have a lot of contact and times not as much, just depends on what we’re doing,” Rodgers said.
“We’re both busy, busy people. But I have a lot of love for Favre-y and again a lot of gratitude for the time I got to spend watching him. Not a lot of the young quarterbacks are blessed with the opportunity to go to a team with a first-ballot Hall of Famer in the same room and to get to watch and learn for three years.”
Rodgers said he was recently asked whether he believed his career might have turned out differently if he had started as a rookie rather than watching Favre for three seasons.
“And the obvious competitor in you and the confidence and the ego says of course, of course, I definitely would’ve turned out this way,” Rodgers said.
“But I think the human element and the observer and the gratitude is understanding that things happen the way they happened to allow me to get in this position. And a lot of that is being able to sit behind Brett and watch one of the greatest players, competitors, quarterbacks of all time do it for three years and then figure out how to do it on my own.”
NOTES: LaFleur said he doesn’t expect offensive tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) or cornerback Jaire Alexander (shoulder) to play Saturday. He also doesn’t expect outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (back) to return to practice this week.
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