Look I get it, its the Super Bowl. Super Bowl 45 (XLV) played in Jerrah's World, Cowboys Stadium, to be exact. The conversation for the last week and a half has revolved around the greatness of the two quarterbacks, the two men who will lead their team in to battle in 72 hours.
One, the Ben Aura, Ben R. Kelly, Mr. "I roll 7's", Big Ben aka Ben Roethlisberger.
The other, the crowned prince of Cheesehead nation, Mr. "I want that belt", A-Rodg, Heir Rodgers, Aaron Rodgers.
The game will hinge directly on the performance of #7 and #12. Their legacies are on the line, and there are two quarterbacks from their franchise who's legacy directly hangs over what they do for their team.
The ghosts of Terry Paxton Bradshaw and Brett Lorenzo Favre are real, and to deny that they don't exist is just plain foolish.
Paxton Bradshaw is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. The winner of four super bowls, two super bowl MVPs, winner of the NFL MVP award in 1978, member of the all-decade team for the 1970's, the man is revered in most circles as a legend. Yet, the man is never brought up as being one of the "greatest" quarterbacks of all-time, and maybe deservedly so.
Bradshaw's career numbers are admittedly pedestrian. When you look at his TDs (212) compared to interceptions (210) and look at his QB Rating (70.9) its hard to figure out how in the hell was he able to be a leader of men to win all those rings. Plus, Terry's personal relationship with Pittsburgh is one of more intriguing ones I've ever seen. Ever since he retired from the Steelers back in 1984, the man's never returned to the Steel City. He remembers the boos he received in the first five years of his career.
Conversely, its interesting to see the varying opinions people have about the other greatest QB in Steelers history, Big Ben. Hell, just look at how our panelists varied in opinion on how good #7 is in our annual top ten quarterbacks list. From one man considering Big Ben the best quarterback in the league, to one woman (who might be a Steelers hater) considers Ben R. Kelly the #9 QB in the league.
That's astounding....and we haven't even brought up Ben R. Kelly's egregious past.
In contrast, the mythology of Lorenzo Favre at one point was on the level of Chuck Norris or Jim Brown. The man could walk on water, cure blindness with one touch of the hand, and throw 60-yard lasers down the field with a single bound. The all-time leader in literally every single passing statistic, both positive and negative, the man could almost make you think wearing Wrangler jeans were actually cool. Here's what's real with Lorenzo Favre and what's false:
- Lorenzo is a Super Bowl champion
- Lorenzo is a 3-time NFL MVP
- Lorenzo is an 11-time Pro Bowler
- Lorenzo was the best quarterback of the 1990's
- Lorenzo lost more big games than he won
- Lorenzo's consecutive starts streak lasted one year too long
- Lorenzo's addiction to alcohol and drugs might have cost Green Bay a Super Bowl
- Lorenzo gave Green Bay roughly 3249857 heart attacks
Lorenzo Favre will always be beloved by Kenny and me here on this site, yet it'd be foolish to say that some of his actions (multiple retirements, toying with Green Bay's emotions, playing for the Jets, playing for the Vikings, playing for "The Streak", etc.) didn't tarnish his legacy in some circles. So to see the lovefest that has happened with Aaron Rodgers in the last 6 months has been riveting.
Simply put, Aaron Rodgers story is the real. The man was looked over by almost the entire NFL (including the San Francisco 49ers who drafted Alex Smith #1....fail) in the draft, the man was the understudy to Lorenzo for three seasons, and yet the man has emerged as a top flight NFL quarterback. Yes, we have spoke ad nauseum about the pre-crowning of #12, yet the reality is if the man comes out on Sunday night and wins Super Bowl 45, his legacy is poised to POTENTIALLY overtake Favre with only a lengthy successful career waiting ahead of him for the next ten years.
Think about it, after a year to figure out playing the game at full speed (2008), #12 has taken the Packers to the playoffs (2009), and now they are NFC Champions (2010) and one win away from bringing ring #4 to the city of cheese.
For Roethlisberger and Rodgers, I admire the way they've handled playing behind the legacies of all-time great quarterbacks. However, their legacies have the chance to be even better. Win on Sunday, and your fanbase will have no choice but to love you for eternity.
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!