96 Packers Vs. 2011 Packers – Being a Team is more than wearing the same Sports Gear
To some, comparing the 1996 Greenbay Packers, with Brett Favre to the 2011 team with Aaron Rodgers, is like comparing apples to oranges, but many fans still try. It is not just about the abilities, wearing the same sports gear, or lack of abilities between two signal-callers. After all there are 10 other players on the field on every play that helps make the team. But the QB is the face of the team and the leader on the field and is more or less responsible for getting the best out of all the players.
In his third year as a starter, Rodgers can use his legs to get out of trouble and is just beginning to show signs of greatness. He already has a Super Bowl win to his credit, something that took Favre four years to accomplish, Rodgers also has plenty of time to earn more than one. Favre, on the other hand, threw for over 600 yards in the playoffs, earning MVP honors in 1995, statistically a better year than 1996, winning the honor in his fourth year as the team’s starting QB.
Rodgers has an excellent supporting staff with wide receivers Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and James Jones and while they may not be some of the most famous receivers in the league, they can certainly hold their own. Driver’s age is beginning to be a factor but with Jennings and jones coming up behind him, Rodgers has an excellent crew to throw to.
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Favre had the advantage with a cast of running backs with Edgar Bennett, William Henderson and Dorsey Levens. Bennett averaged four yards per carry in 1996 and Levens carried the ball for 566 yards and caught passes for another 226. Combined, they produced almost 1,500 yards of offense and accumulated 62 receptions for 402 yards.
Favre counted on tight ends Mark Chmura, Keith Jackson and Jeff Thomason, with Jackson giving the opponents’ defense fits trying to provide coverage. And Chmura made covering the middle of the field difficult. Jermichael Finley provides Rodgers some extra help in the middle of the field and with the help of Donald Lee and Andrew Quarless, they can be tough to cover over the middle.
Rodgers also has a stronger offensive line that Favre had with Chad Clifton and Daryn Colledge, veterans with another good year to come. Their experience makes them invaluable in helping to read the defense, something Favre did not enjoy.
On the defensive side of the ball, the 1996 teams had the advantage with the likes of Reggie White and Santana Dotson, holding opponents to only 3.5 yards running per carry, tied for the second lowest gains in the NFL that year. They also allowed less than five first downs per game and the defense combined for 20 sacks that season. Cullen Jenkins is counted on for pass defense while the huge line will could stop the running game.
Over all, the 1996 team put together a few back-to-back winning seasons and the Super Bowl victory was actually expected. They had nothing else to do but win the trophy. Rodgers’ team is still untested to see if they can repeat victories, but with an experienced staff surrounding him on offense and more experience on the other side of the ball, the 2011 team is shaping up to exceed the stature of the 1996 champions.
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