With my grandpa Jerry D’Arcy, there was no debate.
Bart Starr was the greatest quarterback of all time. End of discussion.
If you disagreed with that assessment, you just didn’t know what the hell you were talking about, and you were not worth speaking to.
Starr led the Green Bay Packers to three straight NFL titles, including the first two Super Bowls. No other quarterback in NFL history has won back-to-back-to-back championships.
That wasn’t the only reason why my grandpa praised Starr, though.
“He always hit his receivers in the numbers,” my grandpa would say.
Never would you see one of Starr’s receivers jump to catch the ball or take a big because of where the quarterback put it. Starr, who probably also had the greatest name in the history of football, always put the ball in the right spot.
Watching Joe Montana, Dan Marino and John Elway did not change my grandpa’s opinion. Neither did Brett Favre.
Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to a Super Bowl title in February of 2011, a little less than four months before my grandpa died at the age of 93. My grandpa probably wasn’t aware of that Super Bowl win, but it wouldn’t have mattered.
Rodgers could not hold a candle to the late Starr, an iconic player beloved by fans of every NFL team.
By the time Favre came around, my grandpa didn’t really care a lot about football. He liked that Favre beat the Chicago Bears all the time because my grandpa liked to tease me about that.
But he would have never liked Rodgers. I am pretty sure he would have been turned off by the quarterback who lied to the media, league and teammates about his COVID vaccination status.
I know he would have despised the look-at-me cryptic messages from his appearances on The Pat McAfee Show. He would not have liked the narcissistic, fake indecision that has held the team hostage each of the last few offseasons.
He most definitely would have called B.S. when Rodgers said he is “debatably the best player in franchise history.”
When I heard that soundbite from Rodgers, I immediately thought of my grandpa. As much as I have always disliked the Packers, to put it mildly, I was offended on my grandpa’s behalf.
Statistically speaking, Rodgers is light years ahead of Starr, but there really is no comparing the two.
The game is completely different now. In Starr’s days, the Packers’ most famous play was the power sweep.
In 1961, Starr attempted a career-high 295 passes. Rodgers almost always threw twice that many in a season.
Starr also played in a time when tackling the quarterback and guarding receivers was still legal.
I have long contended that Dan Marino would pass for 1 million yards in today’s NFL.
The big difference is that Starr always came through in big games. He never lost a playoff game in Lambeau Field. Rodgers suffered four playoff losses on the not-so-frozen tundra.
Because of Starr, Green Bay is called “Title Town.” Rodgers has turned into “Meville.”
That Rodgers felt the need to make such a claim when announcing his decision to play for the New York Jets is just really sad, and it says so much about the quarterback.
Obviously, Rodgers is one of the best Packers of all time. Only an idiot would say otherwise.
As a Bears fan, I know exactly how great Rodgers has been. I have seen him single handedly destroy the Chicago francize, and that his not hyperbole.
His talent is unmatched, but he is severely lacking in the class department.
During the 2021 season, Rodgers famously swore to the cameras as he told Bears fans that he owns them. That said more about Rodgers than it did about the clown Bears fan giving him the double birds at the time of the comment.
Truly great players should not have to tell you they are great. They let their play do their talking for them.
Walter Payton once said, “When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you.”
Whether it was doing the victory belt, yelling at fans, trash talking on podcasts or pointing the finger at teammates, Rodgers has spent way too much time telling everyone about his personal greatness. He is closer to a professional wrestling heel than he is the classy Starr, who is one of 28 Packers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Rodgers will surely be No. 29, but he will be the first inductee to have claimed to be the best.
He will also be the first Packer Hall of Famer that Packers fans were glad to see get out of town. Every diehard Packers fan I know is glad that it appears Rodgers’ days in Green Bay are over, and they will not miss him.
They are all saying, “Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out.”
It appears Rodgers wore out his welcome in Title Town, even though he claims that “nobody has bled green and gold” like he has.
Apparently, Rodgers never heard of Vince Lombardi or Curley Lambeau.
Ricky Henderson once famously said “I am the greatest” after he broke Lou Brock’s stolen base record. We all laughed at it because it sounded funny to hear a player say that.
We also laughed because we knew Ricky wasn’t really trying to be that arrogant. It was just the absent-minded Ricky being Ricky.
Rodgers is not absent minded. Everything he says is a calculated way of saying, “Look at me.”
When his team wasn’t winning enough, Rodgers blamed his teammates. He said he didn’t have enough weapons.
Then, Rodgers signed a three-year $150 million contract. That meant the Packers could not afford to keep star receiver Davante Adams.
Had Rodgers somehow tried to make ends meet for three years and, say, $100 million — plus his money from those hideously annoying State Farm commercials — the quarterback would not be starved for weapons.
Tom Brady, who lack’s Rodgers’ talent but has seven times the Super Bowl rings, was constantly reworking his contract so his team had more money to pay his teammates.
Sure, Brady cheated business owners by taking $1 million for the Payroll Protection Program during the COVID pandemic, but he is willing to sacrifice for the good of the team.
Brady made sure his teammates all received the COVID vaccine because he knew keeping players on the field enhanced the Buccaneers’ chance of winning the Super Bowl. Rodgers lied to his teammates about it, then missed time with COVID.
While Rodgers talks about winning MVPs, Brady won Super Bowls.
Yes, Rodgers is debatably the greatest Packer of all time. He is in the conversation as being the best quarterback in NFL history. Even if his offseason talk makes Favre’s long departure from Green Bay look like an Irish goodbye, Rodgers will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Nobody with a brain will ever argue that.
When it comes to class and legacy, however, Rodgers plays Alex Rodriguez to Bart Starr’s Derek Jeter. He might own the Bears, but he will never own the hearts of football fans like Starr will forever.
That is something that is not open for debate.
— Bill Foley, who will have to be committed to a mental instituting if Jordan Love turns out to be another Green Bay Hall of Fame quarterback, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74. Listen to the ButteCast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.