I started watching football in 1978 or 1979, when I'd have been 7 or 8 years old. I've watched a lot of great QBs. The Packers have always been my team, but growing up in Wisconsin, at a time when the Packers sucked, I followed other teams, too. I was a big fan of Roger Staubach's. Loved watching Dan Marino and Dan Fouts, and in the early 80s, I became a big time fan of Joe Montana.
I've watched enough football to last two lifetimes. I've seen so many of the greats. The game has changed-rules have made it easier for the quarterback now. They get all kinds of rules to protect them. Receivers, too. Imagine, for a second, if Dan Marino played now, with all these rules making passing the football easier than it's ever been before. He might throw 60 TD passes in a season.
But one thing has never changed. A great quarterback would be great in any era. They have the smarts, and can make all the throws. So, when I hear or read people dissing Aaron Rodgers as "overrated", I have to laugh, shaking my head. Ignorance, or jealousy, is coloring their opinion. And, I like to link this pass play. It is, in my opinion, the best throw I've ever seen.
3rd and 10 at the Packers 25 yard line. 5:59 left in Super Bowl XLV, and the Packers cling to a 3 point lead, 28-25 over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers finished the season with the #1 defense in the NFL, and the Packers, who were up 21-3 at one point, have lost the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Charles Woodson, and the Packers' all-time leading receiver, Donald Driver.
The pressure in the moment had to be absolutely overwhelming. Millions of Packer fans around the world...sitting on the edge of their seats, or on their knees, praying that Saint Vince would deliver a little bit of magic for the green and gold.
No praying was needed, though. Because Aaron Rodgers was under center.
Then, he did this:
Rodgers hit Greg Jennings for a 31 yard strike to the middle of the field with an absolutely perfect pass. Jennings knows the degree of difficulty.
"Oh my God!!!"
If the pass is even an inch in any other direction, Ike Taylor knocks the ball away, intercepts it, or Jennings doesn't catch it in stride. It bounces harmlessly off of Taylor's fingertips into Jennings' hands.
Seven years later, we've come to expect this from Aaron Rodgers. He makes the impossible throws, tosses that fit into the tiniest of spaces, the way Brett Favre did. But, he has the sense not to force the ball the way #4 did.
I've seen some amazing tosses in my life. But this will be at the top of my list for a long time. Given the pressure of the moment, what a conversion would mean for the game, and the franchise, and the ball that Rodgers delivered--it simply cannot be any better than that.
So, guys, what's the best pass you've ever seen?