GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers spent Super Bowl weekend in the presence of quarterbacking legends.
On Friday, the Green Bay Packers quarterback received the Bart Starr Award at the annual Super Bowl Breakfast, receiving the award from its namesake, the Pro Football Hall of Fame QB and Packers icon.
On Saturday night, he attended the NFL Honors event on the eve of Super Bowl XLVIII. He accepted the award for the GMC Never Say Never moment of the year with wide receiver Randall Cobb from San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, then presented the NFL MVP award with 49ers Hall of Famer Joe Montana.
Starr (five), Montana (four) and Young (one) have a combined 10 NFL titles. Rodgers, with the Super Bowl XLV title following the 2010 season, has one, but spent Sunday watching the Seattle Seahawks win the title.
If he and the Packers are going to chase what Starr and the Lombardi Packers did, or what Montana and his 49ers did, well, they have their work cut out for them after their third straight playoff exit short of the conference championship game.
“We have to raise our level play obviously. We need to win some more championships,” Rodgers said Tuesday during the season finale of his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com. “The fun thing when you’re around that environment is you get to rub elbows with some very successful people, whether it’s people in business or it’s people in your sport or other sports. It’s always fun to just be around people like that and hear them talk.”
Among those Rodgers spoke with in New York was Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Peter Guber, who produced such films as Rain Man, The Color Purple, Midnight Express and Flashdance. His films have earned over $3 billion worldwide and received 50 Academy Award nominations.
“I enjoyed having a conversation with him about what success looks like and how to achieve a level of success and how to consistently stay at that level,” Rodgers said. “I think that’s going to be our biggest task, is to get refocused this year on what’s really important, come together, make the necessary sacrifices as a team to achieve the goal that we all want, and that’s to be playing, not attending the Super Bowl.
“It’s going to be an exciting offseason. [Monday] is one of the more exciting days because it’s kind of the start of the new season. The Seahawks are the champs and now everybody’s back on the same level playing field, and it’s about what are you going to do from now until the beginning of training camp or the regular season to get yourself ready to make the kind of run we want to make. That’s how you get remembered as a legend in this game, and that’s what I think we all want.”
Asked what it was like to attend the Super Bowl as a fan after winning it three years ago, Rodgers replied, “I’m a fan of sports, so it is a fun event to be around, it’s exciting. It increases your resolve to want to get back there. You have to have an appreciation because we’ve been there and we’ve won on that stage.”
Whether the Packers need a dominating defense like that of the Seahawks is a matter of opinion, but in Rodgers’, replicating Seattle’s success defensively isn’t easy. And it might be impossible.
“With all due respect, I don’t think it’s possible to play at that kind of level for many other teams in this league, if any,” Rodgers said of the Seahawks, who ranked No. 1 in scoring defense and total defense this season. “That’s a talented group.
“I don’t think that should be our goal. We do need to improve on both sides of the ball, but that team has a unique mixture of secondary talent that’s as good a group in the league as you can see, and then a front seven that really plays well together. It should be maybe the standard we’re going for, but it might be a little unrealistic to think of any defense being as good as that for the next couple years.”
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