For weeks, it had been a possibility, a thought of something that could happen, if everything fell into place. A dream almost. And last night, it became official – Aaron Rodgers is back.
Nearly two months to the day that he broke his collarbone against the Vikings, and less than two months since he had 13 screws inserted into his clavicle, he posted on Instagram: ‘It’s been a long road from that day to this, but I’m happy to say I’ve been medically cleared to return. Thanks for all the love, support, prayers, and well wishes over the past 8 weeks and a big thank you to Dr McKenzie and our incredible training staff. #riseagain
So Packer fan is lit and everyone else in the NFC has to concerned. . Because the Packers aren’t dead. In fact, it’s the opposite. They’re still alive. And now they’re dangerous. Because as every packer fan will tell you, he’s done this before. Back in 2013, he broke his left collarbone, the team went 2-4-1 without him and he came back on the final day, needing a win to reach the playoffs, and he threw the game-winning touchdown in the final minute.
Rodgers playing again this season relied on two things: a speedy recovery and the Packers staying afloat in his absence. And they promptly lost the game he was injured in and then the next two, and four of their first five without him.
At that point, there was almost no point in thinking about Rodgers coming back. Shut him down completely; get him ready for next season. But you know that’s not what he was thinking. And the team gave him a chance by grinding out wins over Tampa and Cleveland in overtime.
And if you’re looking to rip a wild card spot in the NFC, now you have to deal with the pack. Rodgers and the Packers are the zombie that just won’t die. Rodgers is Freddie, Jason, Dracula, and the T-1000 all rolled into one. And now the monster you should’ve killed when you had a chance is back. The Packers weren’t supposed to be here. And Rodgers wasn’t supposed to be here. And now here they are. Here the bleep they are.
But as hard as it was to stay afloat until Rodgers could come back, that was the easy part. Now comes the even harder part – the last three games: at Carolina, home against Minnesota, and at Detroit. Three teams who are a combined 26-13 and are all ahead of Green Bay for a playoff spot. That is a murderer’s row of a schedule. The cliché is always that the playoffs really start before the playoffs, but the playoffs have already started for the Packers. They aren’t facing the Bucs and the Browns, they’re facing the Panthers, Vikings, and Lions and they’re going to need every bit of Rodgers’ freakery to get them into the playoffs. And they’re going to need right away. There’s no tomato can to stick in front of him, no tune-up before the big fight. He has to show as peak Aaron Rodgers after missing several weeks with a busted collarbone, his second.
Rodgers has done a lot of incredible things in his Hall of Fame career: a Super Bowl, two MVPs, the Hail Mary against Detroit, the laser to Jared Cook against the Cowboys, the list goes on.
But if he comes back from a busted collarbone again and leads them into the playoffs for a second time, that might be his greatest accomplishment. Yeah, I said it. And I know that he has a Super Bowl ring and two MVP trophies. But that’s just how ridiculous that schedule and this challenge is. To roll out of the rack, in December, and rattle off three straight wins against playoff caliber-teams, two of them on the road. It’s so ridiculous that if it were any other quarterback, I’d say it was a nice story, but they had no shot. But I’m not saying that with Rodgers, because he makes the ridiculous seem normal.
Oh, and if he does do this, if he does pull this off and get them into the playoffs, then look the hell out because at that point, anything is possible.