Aaron Rodgers knows the feeling.
He knows that magnificent feeling of standing on the greatest sports stage known to man after outlasting 31 other football teams. He knows that feeling of being crowned a champion with an entire team of brothers that bled and sweated together on the gridiron. When the sky opens up with fireworks and confetti, that’s the moment when an ordinary man becomes a champion.
Rodgers knows those feelings too well.
The Green Bay Packers’ quarterback has been in and won only one Super Bowl, but the recollections from a game of that magnitude will last a lifetime. They might have to if he never gets there again. While the Packers continue to dance on the doorstep of another Super Bowl berth, they perennially come up short in big moments and keep getting left in the cold.
Rodgers, 33, is nearing the age when legacy takes center stage as his career is nitpicked by critics. Some will say he couldn’t possibly be one of the all-time greats with only one Super Bowl ring. Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl, period, and he is widely considered one of the best quarterbacks to ever step onto an NFL field.
Rodgers has already cemented his moment in history at Super Bowl XLV, when the Packers went into AT&T Stadium in Arlington and knocked off Ben Roethlisberger and the almighty Pittsburgh Steelers. For Rodgers, it was a moment with enough beauty to last a lifetime.
He’d love for a chance to do it all over again, but even if he never gets that opportunity, he could still ride off into the sunset a satisfied man.
“I mean, it’d be disappointing,” Rodgers said, when speaking to ESPN’s Mina Kimes. “But no. I’d love to go back at least a few more times. But at some point, my career’s going to be over, and I’m going to move on and do other things and be excited about that chapter in my life.”
Rodgers will have a retirement fit for a king after posting some already gaudy numbers for a quarterback. In nine years as a starter, he has thrown for 36,827 yards and 297 touchdowns. Somewhere out there, the blueprint for a bronze sculpture with an enormous bronze mustache on it is being prepared for the day the NFL inducts him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
That day will come even if he never plays in another Super Bowl.
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