Aaron Rodgers done certain GOAT isn’t out of reach

11:00 PM ET

It is probable that no Green Bay Packers quarterback will ever make a play to compare Bart Starr’s hide to win a Ice Bowl a half century ago. In subzero, subhuman conditions, Starr flog a Dallas Cowboys on perfect willpower during a time when a NFL would never cruise pulling behind a diversion like it did on Sunday for a Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs.

Is Aaron Rodgers a best actor on a planet?

After a Packers QB illuminated adult a Cowboys on a approach to a NFC Championship Game — Green Bay’s eighth true win — we competence be wondering a answer. Our quarrel of NFL insiders weighs in.

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  • But if a Packers win a whole thing this year like Starr’s group did in 1967, they will pronounce about Aaron Rodgers‘ final pass on Sunday to flog those same Cowboys for decades to come. The good ones need noted moments, signature plays, to support their impact on a sport, and that 36-yard chuck to Jared Cook on a sideline in a final seconds was a tiny like Tiger Woods’ perpetually chip-in on Augusta National’s 16th hole.

    It was all about talent and reason and, some-more than anything, faith in a nearby impossible. To mangle a tension, Rodgers didn’t enter his crowd with 35 seconds left and indicate to a luminary in a stands a approach Joe Montana once forked to John Candy before streamer a 49ers on a 92-yard expostulate to win a Super Bowl. But Rodgers did pronounce hopefully of his team’s long-shot contingency after Dallas had erased a 21-3 necessity to make it a 31-31 game, he did solid his breathing, he did announce himself “very calm” in that conditions and he did demonstrate his faith in Green Bay’s ability to score.

    The towering outcome extended his bequest as an all-timer, that many is clear. “At a finish of a day they’re going to pronounce about that man as one of a tip 3 quarterbacks who ever laced them up,” pronounced Cowboys manager Jason Garrett. “Someone pronounced progressing this week, ‘He’s been prohibited for a final 7 or 8 weeks.’ He’s been prohibited given 2008.”

    How high can Rodgers stand a ladder now? Tom Brady has substantially put this GOAT thing to bed for keeps, though Rodgers is usually 33 years aged and still really many during a tallness of his jaunty powers. Maybe he can’t locate Brady and his 4 Super Bowl titles and counting; maybe a best Rodgers can do is land in Garrett’s tip three, and succeed Starr and Brett Favre as a biggest Packer of them all.

    He’s going to need another ring, or dual or three, to get there, though a final 35 seconds of this 34-31 rejecting of a top-seeded Cowboys changed a needle in that direction.

    Start with a pouch Rodgers engrossed from a blind side. How does a tellurian conduct to reason on to a football after holding that kind of strike from Jeff Heath?

    Two plays later, Rodgers faced a third-and-20 from his possess 32-yard line with 12 seconds to play. “I initial suspicion he was going to try to only chuck another Hail Mary,” Packers boss Mark Murphy pronounced in his locker room. “I only didn’t consider there was any approach he could get it to a finish zone.”

    A ballet dancer in a slot who turns into a predator on a perimeter, Rodgers took a snap and rolled to his left looking for some kind of kill shot. This time he didn’t try another high heave. Instead, he saw Cook streamer for a sideline, and he discharged opposite a movement of his body.

    “We’ve finished those throws before in practice,” Rodgers said, “so it’s a matter of guileless your flesh memory, and your training, and meditative about a certain design when you’re violation a crowd and executing a right way.”

    Only this wasn’t use — this was a local playoff diversion on a highway opposite an competition that was ostensible to strech a Super Bowl. “Probably a best group in a NFL,” Clay Matthews called a Cowboys.

    On that flesh memory Rodgers talked about, his aim was pure. Cook kept his toes in play only prolonged adequate as he finished a locate and fell out of bounds, and unexpected a Packers were set adult for a 51-yard margin thought try to hurt a Cowboys’ bewitched season.

    An eight-year NFL reserve and Super Bowl leader in Washington, and a longtime executive in Green Bay, Murphy pronounced he didn’t consider any other stream starter could’ve finished that throw. “The multiple of athleticism and strength of arm,” he said, “I haven’t seen it.”

    Murphy was asked if he knew of a late quarterback who could’ve finished that pass. He paused. “You hatred to move adult a Cowboy,” he said, “but Roger Staubach in his prime.”

    Murphy concluded with a reporter’s thought that John Elway could’ve also finished that pass before saying, “It’s a tiny number.”

    That’s because Jerry Jones, losing owner, pronounced he has never seen an particular actor do some-more to foreordain a outcome of a game. That’s because Dak Prescott, losing quarterback, pronounced he was all though enraptured examination his reflection do his thing.

    “It’s implausible examination him,” a rookie said. “I hatred it in this circumstance, though he is an implausible quarterback.”

    After a pain subsides, Prescott will be a improved quarterback for a experience. Dan Marino mislaid his initial playoff start to Dave Krieg, who wasn’t as good as Aaron Rodgers. Peyton Manning mislaid his initial playoff start to Steve McNair, who wasn’t as good as Aaron Rodgers. Elway mislaid his initial playoff start to Mark Malone, who wasn’t as good as Aaron Rodgers. They all finished adult doing only fine.

    Prescott was shining in defeat. In fact, he even posted a improved quarterback rating (103.2) than Rodgers did (96.7). But Prescott was unable to do anything about those final 35 seconds, punctuated by Mason Crosby‘s kick. The Cowboys’ defenders were powerless, too.

    “It’s a good feeling to have that man on your team,” Julius Peppers pronounced of Rodgers. “There hasn’t been one time that I’ve been a partial of this group that we went out on a margin and didn’t consider that we had a possibility to win.

    “We feel like we’re going to win each diversion with him behind center.”

    The Packers have finished only that ever given their quarterback stared down a tub of a four-game losing strain and 4-6 record and strongly suggested they could “run a table.” They’ve won 8 in a row, with a Falcons and a NFC Championship Game on deck.

    It didn’t matter that his strain of 318 uninterrupted passes but an interception was snapped Sunday, or that his strain of 24 touchdown passes but an interception — a second-longest strain in NFL story to Brady’s 26 in 2010, according to a Elias Sports Bureau — also died inside ATT Stadium. Rodgers walked out of a building with a lifetime memory scarcely a equal of his one Super Bowl delight 6 years ago. “This one’s special,” he said, “more special than we’ve had around here in a while.”

    Even but Jordy Nelson in uniform, Rodgers ran an all-day hospital of precision, athleticism and sleight-of-hand fakes. He took a few large hits, and never once blinked. Garrett helped him with an nonessential spike of a round on a Cowboys’ final possession, eventually giving Rodgers changed seconds to work with. But there was nobody on a Dallas side to censure for a final score. This was all about a luminary creation a play that, Matthews agreed, “probably 31 other quarterbacks can’t make in this league.”

    Rodgers fast discharged a thought that it was a best chuck of his career, a frightening covenant to his ability and rival arrogance. But possibly way, Rodgers’ pass in Jerry Jones’ climate-controlled house was a many thespian play a Packer has finished opposite a Cowboys given Starr’s hide in a Ice Bowl.

    In other words, from here on out, Rodgers’ primary competition is history. He can spend a rest of this contest and a rest of his career perplexing to play himself into a tip five, a tip three, or maybe even a tip one.

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