“The Packers have had two Hall of Fame quarterbacks and just two championships! What a waste!”
This is a common criticism of the Packers, even among Packers’ fans who are frustrated with just two championships despite having All-World quarterbacks for nearly 30 years. In an era that includes Tom Brady with six Superbowl rings, it is easy to see why. All-time great quarterbacks are expected to win multiple Superbowls.
The argument, though, is flawed. The fact of the matter is that there have only been 12 quarterbacks to ever win more than one Superbowl. If the Packers and Rodgers are to be criticized for “just winning one,” there should be a lot more criticism out there of other teams for the exact same reason.
Before dismissing a quarterback’s (and their team’s) legacy because of “just one win,” the entire context of their career and that of the NFL in which they played needs to be taken into consideration. Here are three quarterbacks who won one Superbowl, but are not widely criticized for not winning more:
Jim McMahon: Chicago Bears
Alright, if I’m being honest, I put him in here as a joke. This doesn’t count as one of the three. He rode on the coattails of a dominating defense (and did get a second ring… with the Packers as Favre’s backup).
Ken Stabler: Oakland Raiders
One of the few Hall of Famers with more interceptions than touchdowns, Stabler is still considered one of the best quarterbacks in his era. He helped revolutionize the quarterback position as a premier scrambler. The problem with Stabler and his Raiders was that they were stuck competing in an era with two all-time NFL dynasties. The Chuck Noll Steelers and Don Shula Dolphins dominated the NFL at the time. Due to their dominance, it was never said that the Raiders wasted Stabler’s best years.
Kurt Warner: St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals
Kurt Warner has had one of the best stories in terms of perseverance when working to make it to the NFL. When his time did come, he led the Greatest Show on Turf to a Superbowl triumph over the Titans. The Rams’ budding dynasty was cut short by the emerging Patriots dynasty and the Rams failed to win another Superbowl. Warner became the first quarterback to take two different teams to the Superbowl when his Arizona Cardinals lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Like Rodgers, Warner is a two-time NFL MVP and has one championship to his name.
Steve Young: San Francisco 49ers
Perhaps the best comparison the Aaron Rodgers’s career thus far in terms of Superbowl wins and career awards is that of Steve Young’s. Like Rodgers, Young won two NFL MVP awards. In addition, he appeared in one Superbowl and was the MVP of that game. Finally, his 49ers appeared in four NFC Championship games, just like the Rodgers Packers. Young had the displeasure to run into the 90’s Cowboys who won three Superbowls, limiting his Superbowl appearances and titles. However, the focus of the 90’s is on how great the Cowboys were, not on if the 49ers wasted Young’s talent. Also like Rodgers, Young succeeded a Hall of Fame quarterback: Joe Montana. Montana, like Favre, went to play elsewhere when the team decided it was time to move on.
The story of Aaron Rodgers’s career is still be written. He may appear in and win one or more Superbowls before his career is over. Whether or not that happens with the Packers remains to be seen. Rodgers made as much clear in his interview on May 15, 2020. Regardless, the window is still open and the Packers, it should be argued, cannot be accused of having wasted Rodgers’s best years.
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