If you’re a fan of the Green Bay Packers, this season likely hasn’t gone the way you had hoped. If it has gone as you hoped, I might recommend you for a partial lobotomy. Even though we’re still in the playoff hunt by the thinnest of margins, most are ready to start looking at the future. That includes looking at third year Quarterback, Jordan Love.
With Aaron Rodgers banged up, and the playoffs seemingly out of reach, it just seems natural that Jordan Love could get a few starts to wind out the season. He is the “Quarterback of the Future” right? It makes sense, and it seems like many fans would agree that it’s time to see what Love’s got. But whenever Aaron Rodgers himself or Head Coach Matt LaFleur are engaged on the question, there’s no argument that Aaron Rodgers will continue to start.
Heading into this season there was no argument that the four-time MVP Rodgers would start the season. I don’t think you would see many fans thinking it’s Jordan Love time with Aaron Rodgers still playing at a high level. But now that’s changed, and the temperature of the fanbase has also changed. Many are ready to see Jordan Love take the helm. But why?
We don’t want to go back to the dark ages
I’m part of the spoiled generation of Packers fans. By the time I truly knew what was going on when football was on the TV, it was the early 90s, I was 5 years old, and the Favre era had begun. Turn the clock 30 years later, and the Packers have only missed the playoffs eight times. Only three of those seasons had less than 7 wins. To say I’ve rarely experienced a bad season would be an understatement. Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers gave the Packers back-to-back legendary Quarterbacks, and it has been amazing. But many of those a decade or more my senior, have experienced the dark ages. Those would be the 70s and 80s where the Packers only made the playoffs twice and had only 6 seasons with more than 7 wins. I’ve heard the horror stories, they keep me up at night, and I don’t want to experience them.
Could Aaron Rodgers call it a career after this year? What about next year? We don’t know. What we do know, is that we still want to win after the number 12 is retired and Aaron Rodgers’ name is mounted on to the Lambeau Field facade.
But who’s going to get us there? Right now, the only name we have to place on the future under-center is Jordan Love. With the Packers possibly facing a high draft pick this offseason if the bad luck continues, the Quarterback prospects could be hard to pass up. Bryce Young might be too high to grab, but C.J. Stroud or Will Levis could be tempting and available in the top 10. The Packers also face a decision of whether or not to pick up Jordan Love’s 5th year option keeping him in Green Bay on a rookie contract for at least two more seasons.
I’d say it’s an 80% chance or even more the Packers pick up Jordan Love’s 5th year option at this time. But heading into that decision, wouldn’t you want it to be a for-sure thing that Jordan Love is your guy? I’d say so. Having Jordan Love start the last 5 games this season would give the Packers an excellent evaluation of whether or not he’s the future of the franchise. If he does well, we have all the confidence in the world that life could be okay after Aaron Rodgers retires. If he doesn’t, then maybe we consider shooting for one of those other first round QBs to take a shot on. Regardless, fans got a glimpse of Love’s capabilities Sunday night that has them buzzing.
After Aaron Rodgers had to exit Sunday night’s game vs the Eagles with a rib injury, Jordan Love impressed in relief. Love went 6 for 9 for 113 yards and a touchdown. Many comments stated that even the incompletions were still great throws, just drops by the receivers. In my opinion, most of the excitement came from the 63-yard touchdown to Christian Watson. It was like looking into the possible future of the Green Bay Packers for time well beyond this season or even next. Love to Watson, or Love to Doubs, could be the connections we see in Lambeau Field for possibly the next decade. So, with Aaron Rodgers’ future in question, and this season seemingly over when the second week of January arrives, it’s hard not to want to get that started now.
It’s disrespectful to Aaron Rodgers’ legacy
I’ve seen a lot of comments against Jordan Love taking over. One that’s stuck with me is that it’s disrespectful to Aaron Rodgers’ legacy. Basically, every great Packer of the last 20 years with a few exceptions has finished their career elsewhere. As far as I’m aware, that hasn’t tainted the love for those players in the hearts of Packer fans. Aaron Rodgers has given everything to the state of Wisconsin, and this state will welcome him back with open arms whenever he decides to return regardless of how his career ends.
How is Donald Driver remembered? Every Packer fan remembers those 61 touchdowns. Those 743 receptions. That big smile. That shimmy celebration after a first down. What made Driver a Lambeau Legend. Not many fans talk about the fact that Driver was often a healthy scratch on game day in his final season. Only the good stuff. So, when Aaron Rodgers’ time comes, many will remember the good stuff, and not that he sat out while Jordan Love took over the franchise if that indeed happens.
Fans are ready for Jordan Love not because they’re done with Aaron Rodgers, but because they want the future of their Packers to be bright. There are many names on the list of Packers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There have been great players in Green and Gold that have come after each one of them. This will be the same after Aaron Rodgers receives his gold jacket and his number is never worn again by a Packer. Once that time comes, we want our Packers to still be the envy of the league, and not a laughingstock. So, if it is indeed time for Jordan Love, embrace it, because it’s not an insult to Aaron Rodgers, it’s an investment on the Packers keeping their tradition of greatness. We have to move forward at some point.
Greg Meinholz is a 24/7/365 Packers fan. When he’s not spending time with his family, he can be found meditating in his Packers shrine with a good beer. You can follow him on twitter at @gmeinholz.