Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers casually annihilates the rest of his NFC North division with a single locker room comment — yet he isn’t wrong.
Every year begins the same in the frigid NFC North.
Fans in Detroit, Chicago and the Twin Cities huddle around the television, hoping that this year will finally be their year.
And this year, each of these teams has good reason to be optimistic.
Anyone can root for the “Detroit vs. everybody” mentality displayed on “Hard Knocks”, as well as this season’s cast of capable Lions players.
The Minnesota Vikings have undergone a complete administrative overhaul, bringing in general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and coach Kevin O’Connell to ferret out the best in their personnel.
And the Chicago Bears, playing on a newly-renovated field owned by their NFC North rival, head into the season with all their projected offensive starters healthy and ready for action. A new coach in Matt Eberflus and another year for quarterback Justin Fields inspire hope in Chicago fans that this year will be different.
Aaron Rodgers doesn’t think so.
From his locker room in Green Bay, Rodgers offers his own projection for 2022: the NFC North is full of losers who will remain hapless in the face of Green Bay’s continued dominance.
One can’t help but notice Rodgers’ sly smile as he mimics NFC North fans when they say, “This is our year to win the North.” Not with Rodgers in the division it isn’t.
Fact-check: Is Aaron Rodgers truly The King of the NFC North?
Aaron Rodgers said that during his time in Green Bay, seeing any other NFC North team having their year “hasn’t really been the case.”
For the most part, that’s fairly accurate. The first three season under Rodgers’ watch (2008-2010) saw the Vikings win the division in 2008 and 2009, followed by the Chicago Bears in 2010. But even though the Bears won the division in 2010, they lost the NFC Championship to…the Packers. Aaron Rodgers went on to win his lone Lombardi, so that season can be written off as one for Rodgers.
In the decade that followed (2011-2021), the Packers have surrendered the North only three times. The Vikings won the division again in 2015 and 2017, and the Bears won in 2018. The division has been lorded over by Rodgers and Green Bay in every other season.
Technically, the NFC North has been taken over by the Vikings four different times under Rodgers’ tenure, but those first two seasons were tenuous for the young quarterback and his team. Conquering the North seven times in the past decade — and trampling over the Bears on the path to Super Bowl victory — makes Mr. Rodgers mostly right.
And what about the Lions? Detroit hasn’t won the division since 1993, which brought their divisional wins to a grand total of three. The Lions haven’t won in so long that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers actually have a more recent NFC North title (1999), back when it was known as NFC Central. The Bucs left the division for the NFC South back in 2002.
There is merit to Rodgers’ point when surveying past seasons, but what about the NFL season that lies before us? Considering that Rodgers is coming off a lucrative signing, two consecutive NFL MVP seasons and the ayahuasca trip of a lifetime, it appears that he’d like to continue his ruthless reign of the North.