Thursday, July 3, 2008

Taking Over for a Legend

While NFL players and coaches are currently sneaking in their last vacations before Training Camp starts later this month, recently retired QB Brett Favre is already getting tired of all the free time. Instead, there have been rumors coming from just about everyone within 5 feet of the star quarterback on a potential return to the gridiron. It was just a few months ago that former 1st round QB Aaron Rodgers had been handed the keys to a young and talented Packers team. Now it seems he can't buy a break from the media hoopla that has transpired around Lord Favre.

Former NFL GM and current NFL Network Analyst Michael Lombardi breaks down the Favre situation in Green Bay and mentions Tampa Bay or Minnesota as possible destinations if the Packers decide to stay the course with Rodgers (To check that out click here).

It is always extremely difficult to take over for a QB that was proved to be a winner and legend among fans (in this case a Super Bowl, 3 MVP awards and 16 years worth of starting games), here is a look at how a few others fared in Aaron Rodgers shoes:

Joe Montana vs. Steve Young (San Francisco 49ers) "Joe Cool" had won 4 Super Bowl Championships, turned the 49ers franchise into the 'Team of the 80s' and won over more fans in San Francisco than the Grateful Dead ever could. After playing in spot starts here and there for an injured Montana, Young came in and played well enough to warrant consideration as the next in line to start at QB for the 49ers if/when the time ever came. Following an injury in the 1990 NFC Championship against the Giants, forcing Montana to miss the 1991 season, Young got his chance to start.

It was a rough start for Young. Midway through the season, the 49ers found themselves struggling with a 4-4 record. In the ninth game of the season, Young suffered a knee injury and was replaced by third string QB Steve Bono. After a loss in that game, Bono led the 49ers to five consecutive victories until injuring himself, allowing Young to return in Week 15 to finish the year. Despite missing five games, Young still finished the season with an NFL best 101.8 passer rating and threw for 2,517 yards and 17 touchdowns with only 8 interceptions. Hardly a good year in 49ers standards, Young was often booed and felt loads of pressure coming from its spoiled fans, never living up to the standards set earlier by Montana. (Young would later go on to win 2 MVP awards, a Super Bowl victory and be inducted into the Hall of Fame).

John Elway vs. Brian Griese (Denver Broncos) After already having appeared in 3 previous Super Bowl appearances, QB John Elway finished his career by winning back-to-back Championships in 1997 and 1998. After playing for 15 seasons in the league, Elway is considered as one of the best QB's to ever grace the game holding a slew of passing records, an MVP award and earning a reputation as being a clutch player and leader of comeback victories. He was viewed by media and fans as the Denver Broncos franchise.

While everyone knew it was Elway's time to hang up the cleats, in 1999 the starting job was passed down to QB Brian Griese, the son of ex-NFL QB Bob Griese (Dolphins). Griese would struggle in his 1st year at the helm posting a 75.6 passer rating while throwing for 3032 yards 14TD and 14INT; leading Denver to a 6-10 record and missing the playoffs. Despite a Pro Bowl season in 2000, after four seasons as the starting QB, Griese had yet to establish himself as one of the elite quarterbacks of the league; this due to injuries, subpar arm strength and a penchant for interceptions. He was replaced by QB Jake Plummer in 2002 and has since bounced around the league to different teams (Dolphins, Buccs, Bears, and back to the Buccs).

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