|Aaron Rodgers displays his new concussion-proof headgear|
Here are a few nuggets just to put his day into perspective:
1) A perfect passer rating is 158.3. The only quarterback to get a perfect score this year (at least, according to Wikipedia, my source of all factual information) was Tom Brady against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Rodgers out-performed Brady by 60+ yards, but had a slightly lower completion percentage. If James Jones hadn’t dropped two passes in his hands, maybe Rodgers could have gotten a perfect rating today.
2) According to the Journal-Sentinel, Rodgers’ 404 passing yards were the most by any Packers quarterback, including one Mr. Favre, in the regular season since Lynn Dickey’s 418-yard performance against Tampa Bay in 1980. I repeat, Lynn Dickey! Of course, NFL historians cannot actually confirm that Tampa Bay had a team in 1980, so the record may actually go back longer than that.
3) According to the Fox announcers (though you have to take everything they say with a grain of salt since neither of them can pronounce the city of Green Bay properly), this is the first time the Giants have given up over 500 yards of total offense in a game since 1980. The Giants came in as one of the best defenses in the NFL and the Packers punched them in the mouth.
The performance by Rodgers further solidified his reputation among Packers fans, but his equally impressive play caller today, Mike McCarthy, still doesn't get much love. The rap on the 2010 Packers is that they “can’t win close games.” All 6 Packer losses were by 4 points or fewer, two in over-time. And over the last five years, McCarthy’s Packers are 10-16 in games decided by 6 points or less. The flip side of that statistic is that when the Packers win, they beat the crap out of teams. Green Bay’s +141 points differential this year is second only to New England (174) and significantly better than any other NFC team (see chart of the top 10 teams below).
Gruden nor Cowher have ever been credibly mentioned as candidates in Green Bay, that there are literally dozens of teams desperate for a head coach, and that we’d be firing a coach who has consistently won. Even if you then still think that it’s time to make a change, are you really prepared to enter at least a year or two of rebuilding under a new administration?
Living in the Bay Area, I’m constantly reminded how different things could be in Green Bay. Every day on local talk radio, the giant debate of the Smiths (as in "who sucks more, Alex or Troy?") rages. Fans call in imploring the Yorks to fire Singletary – which they finally did today. The 49ers once proud dynasty hasn’t been to the post-season since 2002. That’s what a troubled franchise looks like. In spite of our frustrations and near misses this season, the Packers are nowhere near that - even if the season hasn't lived up to our high expectations.
Troy Aikman suggested during today’s broadcast that McCarthy should be in the conversation for Coach of the Year. That may be over-stating it. Let's make the playoffs first. But at the very least today’s performance was some sweet redemption for the loss to the Giants in the NFC Championship game three years ago. And if they can play like that next week and carry the momentum over into a playoff run, McCarthy just might win over the doubters the way Rodgers has.