Packers trade Aaron Rodgers to New York Jets: 10 best moments of QB’s legendary career in Green Bay

Packers trade Aaron Rodgers to New York Jets: 10 best moments of QB’s legendary career in Green Bay

Now that Aaron Rodgers’ time in Green Bay has come to a close with the Packers trading the veteran to the New York Jets as he requested, his tenure with the Green and Gold can be evaluated in its entirety. Rodgers’ run as the Packers quarterback and Brett Favre’s successor was a predominantly joyous football rollercoaster: filled with the incredible ups of thrilling comeback wins, jaw-dropping throws and a Super Bowl title, as well as the occasional lows of some crushing postseason defeats.

Four NFL MVPs (second-most all time), the highest touchdown-to-interception ratio all time (4.52, 475 passing touchdowns to 105 interceptions), the two highest single-season passer ratings in NFL history (122.5 in 2011 and 121.5 in 2020), the most touchdown passes in Green Bay Packers history (475) and a Super Bowl XLV MVP for bringing the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay at the end of the 2010 season.

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In 18 seasons as a Green Bay Packer, 15 of them as the team’s starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers left plenty of electrifying memories for fans of the team and football itself. Tom Brady is the only quarterback with more seasons spent with the same team than Rodgers (20 with the New England Patriots from 2000-19).

“I’ve been there 18 years and have so much love for the organization and Green Bay, 18 years – that’s a teenager,” Aaron Rodgers said March 1 on the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast.”

As the Packers prepare to transition to Jordan Love as the team’s new starting quarterback – after Aaron Rodgers was traded to the New York Jets on Monday – here’s a look back at the future first ballot Hall of Famer’s 10 best moments in Titletown. Best moments don’t necessarily equate to Rodgers’ best statistical games, but rather the most impactful ones that people will remember for years to come.

NOTE: The number in parenthesis denotes the season in which the game was played, not the year.

10. Week 5 (2017)

Significance: Rodgers led a scoring drive after getting the ball back with 1:13 left and one timeout. He threw the game-winning, 12-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left in a 35-31 win in Dallas.

Rodgers’ stat line: 19 for 29 passing, 221 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 122.9 passer rating

Rodgers led the Packers to eight wins in 10 starts against the Dallas Cowboys, including two memorable NFC divisional round playoff victories. Still, this regular-season game-winning drive will be one of the wins that will stand the test of time, partly thanks to a Snapchat post that became a meme. The Green Bay fan below showcased a strong show of faith in Rodgers’ ability to lead another game-sealing drive against Dallas, and he didn’t disappoint.

The Cowboys regained the lead late, 31-28, on an 11-yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Dak Prescott, but that would be the last time Dallas felt comfortable that afternoon. Rodgers completed his first two passes of the drive for 28 yards, and the Packers crossed midfield on a 15-yard scamper by running back Aaron Jones.

Following the usage of Green Bay’s final timeout, Rodgers sprinted out of the arms of the Cowboys’ pass rush and scrambled to convert a third-and-8 from the Dallas 30 with 21 seconds to go. Two plays later, Rodgers went to ol’ reliable – a back-shoulder fade to Davante Adams – for the game-winning touchdown with 11 seconds on the clock.

9. NFC wild-card round (2016)

Significance: Rodgers threw a 42-yard Hail Mary touchdown before halftime of a 38-13 playoff blowout of the New York Giants.

Rodgers’ stat line: 25 for 40 passing, 362 yards, 4 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 125.2 passer rating

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A 38-13 opening-round playoff win isn’t super memorable in totality. However, one play from this game – the final play of the first half -will be shown when Rodgers is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

The Packers led a defensive slugfest, 7-6, with six seconds to play in the second quarter at the Giants’ 42-yard line. Rodgers rolled out to the right, took a couple steps up and launched the football on a line just to the left of the middle of the end zone that landed perfectly in wide receiver Randall Cobb’s bread basket. Touchdown Green Bay. That would be the first of three scoring strikes from Rodgers to Cobb that day.

The first-half Hail Mary will be a long-lasting memory representative of Rodgers’ signature deep-passing accuracy.

8. Week 1 (2018)

Significance: Rodgers led a 20-point comeback vs. the Bears despite a knee injury to spoil Khalil Mack’s Bears debut.

Rodgers’ stat line: 20 for 30 passing, 286 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 130.7 passer rating

The Bears acquired All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack from the Raiders eight days before Week 1 at Lambeau Field against the Packers, and he looked like an all-time great in this game, registering a sack, a pick-six, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. One of his quarterback pressures came as Rodgers crumpled to the ground with 9:21 left in the first half, down 10-0 following a knee injury that caused the Packers’ leader to be carted off the field. By the time Rodgers returned in the second half, Green Bay trailed 20-0.

After his first drive back ended with a 42-yard Mason Crosby field goal, Rodgers finished the game with three consecutive touchdown passes: a 39-yard bomb to Geronimo Allison, a 12-yard toss to Davante Adams and the game-winning, 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown on third-and-10 to Cobb with 2:13 to go.

“I won’t forget this game for a long, long time,” NBC Sports color commentator Cris Collinsworth said on the broadcast. “This is one heroic, special moment in the career of Aaron Rodgers.”

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7. NFC divisional round (2015)

Significance: Rodgers completed two Hail Marys on the same drive, including a 41-yard touchdown pass to force OT in a 26-20 playoff defeat at the Arizona Cardinals after never touching the football in overtime.

Rodgers’ stat line: 25 for 40 passing, 362 yards, 4 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 125.2 passer rating

Trailing, 20-13, and facing fourth-and-20 on the Packers’ 4-yard line with 55 seconds left to play, Green Bay’s playoff life looked as good as dead. Then, Rodgers did his trademark spin around to the left after being flushed out of the pocket by Cardinals pass rushers and unloaded a line-drive laser down the left sideline to Jeff Janis for a 60-yard completion.

Game on. Fast forward to five seconds left to play with the Packers on the Arizona 41-yard line, and Rodgers did it again. He spun to his left, just like he did three plays earlier, and then rainbowed a heave to the end zone that magically hit Janis once again in between two Cardinals defenders for the game-tying Hail Mary touchdown pass. One drive, two Hail Mary’s. A Hail Mary isn’t an official statistic – it’s more like you know one when you see one – but it’s hard to recall any other quarterback with two of those types of throws on the same drive in that critical of a moment.

This memory would be higher on Rodgers’ all-time list if he had been able to touch the ball in overtime. The Packers defense surrendered a touchdown after Green Bay lost the coin toss, putting Rodgers in the Josh Allen vs. the Kansas City Chiefs playoff situation from the 2021 season – six years prior to that game that led to the NFL’s overtime rules changing.

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6. NFC divisional round (2016)

Significance: Rodgers tossed a jaw-dropping sideline pass to TE Jared Cook to set up Mason Crosby’s game-winning field goal to eliminate top-seeded Dallas Cowboys on the road.

Rodgers’ stat line: 28 for 43 passing, 355 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 96.6 passer rating

Rodgers, facing third-and-20 on his own 33 with 12 seconds remaining in a 31-31 game, spun left, uncorked a bullet down the left sideline and perfectly hit tight end Jared Cook in the numbers so he could toe tap before falling out of bounds with three seconds remaining in the game. The completion was so improbable that then-Fox Sports’ play-by-play announcer Joe Buck initially called the pass incomplete before realizing Rodgers made the impossible come to fruition with that completion. Kicker Mason Crosby drilled the 51-yard field goal to complete the upset. The Packers advanced to the NFC Championship game for the second time in three seasons after a divisional round victory against the Cowboys.

5. Week 17 (2013)

Significance: Rodgers returned from a seven-game absence due to a broken collarbone and then dragged the Packers back into the playoffs with a 48-yard Hail Mary touchdown on fourth-and-8 in Chicago.

Rodgers’ stat line: 25 for 39 passing, 318 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 85.2 passer rating

Rodgers returned from a broken collarbone that caused him to miss seven games in the regular-season finale, a de facto playoff game, with an NFC North title and the Packers’ playoff life on the line. Facing fourth-and-eight just past midfield with 46 seconds left and trailing, 28-27, Rodgers rolled out to the left to avoid a siege of Bears blitzers, which included future Hall of Famer Julius Peppers, to hit wide receiver Randall Cobb for a 48-yard game-winning touchdown with 38 seconds left in the game. A stunning play for anyone, let alone someone whose collarbone was definitely less than fully put together. It was another chapter in Rodgers’ domination of the Chicago Bears.

4. Week 10 (2014)

Significance: Rodgers tied a career high with six passing touchdowns – all in the first half – in a 55-14 Week 10 win over the Bears.

Rodgers’ stat line: 18 for 27 passing, 315 yards, 6 touchdowns (tied career high), 0 interceptions, 145.8 passer rating

This one is as high as it is because Rodgers took personal pride in beating the Chicago Bears. He said as much when being interviewed by noted Bears fan Dan Katz, aka “Big Cat” of Barstool Sports prior to the 2022 season.

“Do you actually relish in the fact that you beat the Bears the way you do every single year?” Katz asked on the “Pardon My Take” podcast. Rodgers replied with a smirk and said, “Yes, because it’s a great sports town. If we were beating up on a town that doesn’t have a great sports history, it’s like just another win. But, Chicago is Chicago. You got 100 years of Bears football almost, you have the Chicago Bulls; I grew up a Bulls fan. … We could watch Cubs baseball on WGN with Harry Caray. That was iconic. That and Bulls basketball.”

Rodgers hit five different players for his six touchdowns that night, including touchdown passes of 40 and 73 yards to wide receiver Jordy Nelson, a player Rodgers had a telepathic connection with. Rodgers’ 24-5 regular-season record against the Bears is the best by any starting quarterback since at least 1950, and his 64 passing touchdowns are also the most against Chicago, four more than Brett Favre’s 60. No one beats up on the Chicago Bears like Aaron Rodgers.

3. NFC divisional round (2010)

Significance: Rodgers played the most efficient playoff game of career, powering the sixth-seeded Packers past the top-seeded Falcons, 48-21.

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Rodgers’ stat line: 31 for 36 passing, 366 yards, 3 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 136.8 passer rating (highest of postseason career); seven-yard rushing touchdown

The 2010 Green Bay Packers snuck into the playoffs and narrowly escaped the Philadelphia Eagles in Round 1 with a 21-16 win after Tramon Williams intercepted Michael Vick in the end zone with 44 seconds left in the game. Coming off the first playoff win of his career, Rodgers faced off against the NFC’s top-seeded Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome in Round 2. The crowd was raucous, but the third-year starting quarterback silenced it over and over again with the football almost never touching the ground as Rodgers completed 31 of 36 passes. That game solidified that he had the chops to go on the road and win big in the playoffs, something that was quite handy during that Super Bowl XLV run in which the sixth-seeded Packers had to play away from home in every game.

2. Week 13 (2015)

Significance: Rodgers led the Packers back from a 20-0 deficit in Detroit against the Lions, completing a Hail Mary to tight end Richard Rodgers to give Green Bay the 27-23 victory with no time remaining on “Thursday Night Football.”

Rodgers’ stat line: 24 for 36 passing, 273 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 96.2 passer rating; 17-yard rushing touchdown

This is far from Aaron Rodgers’ best statistical game, but this is the greatest comeback in his storied career. While Rodgers always carried an air of inevitability against the Bears, this game didn’t feel like the Packers had much of a chance. The game had more of “too little time and too many points to overcome” kind of vibe. Green Bay regained possession of the ball down 23-21 on its own 21 with 23 seconds to play and no timeouts, a scenario that seemed simply hopeless. After back-to-back incompletions and a Lions facemask penalty, the Packers had one last play from their own 39.

Rodgers danced to his left and stiff-armed a pass rusher before running all the way to the right and skyrocketing a pass to the front of the end zone that landed directly into tight end Richard Rodgers’ hands for the miraculous, game-winning 61-yard touchdown. This was Rodgers’ best Harry Houdini impression, truly snatching a victory from the jaws of defeat.

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1. Super Bowl XLV

Significance: Rodgers led the Green and Gold back to Super Bowl glory with a 31-25 Super Bowl XLV win over Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu and the Steelers’ No. 1 defense.

Rodgers’ stat line: 24 for 39 passing, 304 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 111.5 passer rating

Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers entered Super Bowl XLV facing a Pittsburgh Steelers team armed with Hall of Fame safety Troy Polamalu, the 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and the NFL’s top scoring defense that allowed 14.5 points per game. The Steelers were aiming for their third Super Bowl victory in six years, but Rodgers’ Packers had other ideas.

He whistled passes just out of reach of Pittsburgh defenders all night long, including a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Greg Jennings that sailed just past the helmet of safety Ryan Clark and just in front of Polamalu. Rodgers conquered the NFL’s most powerful defense and the entire league, returning the Vince Lombardi Trophy home.

Rodgers’ 15 seasons running the Packers offense provided some of the most breathtaking, jaw-dropping throws and victories in NFL history – something fans of the Green and Gold will appreciate for years to come.