Wednesday, November 2, 2011

1955 All-American style Aaron Rodgers

This being the Packers' bye week, I wasn't able to watch Aaron Rodgers add to his legacy, so I thought I'd add to the body of his collectible memorabilia by creating a card of him for my 1955 All-American style "Update" set.

This represents the 132nd card in my eight-year-long project . . . not counting a dozen or so "rehab" cards for which I've revised my earlier efforts.

Once again, the limited space on back allows for only a small part of Rodgers' story to be presented. In truth, I learned most of this for the first time as I did my reading in preparation for doing the writing.

I'm not a rabid Packers fan, and like much of the rest of the nation, the world of West Coast college football plays out on TV after my bedtime. So Aaron Rodgers wasn't really on my radar until the first round of the 2005 NFL dragged on and Rodgers remained unpicked until the 24th round when Green Bay made the steal of the draft.

As Rodgers rode the pine and Favre hogged the spotlight, most Packers fans began to realize what an extraordinary man the team had waiting in the wings. Favre more and more made news for off the field drama than for his game-day performance. And I doubt that I was the only one to feel that Favre maintained nothing more than a chilly civility towards his eventual successor.

Through those three seasons Rodgers kept his head down and his chin up, working the clipboard on the sidelines on Sundays and taking whatever scraps of snaps Favre left him on the practice field. On the few occasions that Rodgers got into a game, he generally looked like the physically talented rookie that he was.

Even so, when Favre and the Packers parted ways in 2008, Rodgers proved himself just as ready to face the NFL as Green Bay's fans were to embrace their next star quarterback.

No doubt, in coming years Brett Favre will be accepted back into Green Bay's good graces, but today if Favre and Rodgers had autograph booths set up in opposite end zones at Lambeau Field, and fans were released on the 50-yard line, Favre would look mighty lonely on his end of the field.

I generally avoid doing my '55-style cards of active players, but Rodgers' Super Bowl MVP gave me a natural place to end my player bio, at least for now. Perhaps some years down the line I'll have to revise that write-up. Until then, I think I'll have to print up an extra quantity of this card to share with friends, local bartenders, etc.

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