Today: Jun 16, 2024

Quarterbacks play big role in Arlington-bound games

Pat Longobardi
Sports Writer
Last weekend in the championship games of the NFL playoffs, the quarterback position played big roles for the teams that competed for a trip to Super Bowl XV in Arlington, TX.
In the National Football Conference (NFC) championship game, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to their first Super Bowl since the 1997 season.
Rodgers had big shoes to fill for the Green Bay Packers after taking over for Brett Favre.
After being on the bench, Rodgers got his shot in 2008 in a place that expected to win. Rodgers has become one of the elite quarterbacks next to Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, in regards to putting up big yards and wins for his team.
The quarterback position is crucial, because I believe without Rodgers’ run, Green Bay might not be in the Super Bowl.
They went through the quarterback run-around late in the season. When Rodgers got hurt in Detroit in week 14, Green Bay was 8-4. Suddenly, their star was hurt, and their playoff hopes were dwindling into must-win games. Although he missed the rest of the game in Detroit and the game in New England, I did not know how he would play going for a playoff berth. In that situation, Green Bay had time to re-adjust their game plan.
Ever since then, Rodgers has been playing outstanding football, riding a five-game winning streak (knock on wood).
In that same game, the Chicago Bears went through three quarterbacks: Jay Cutler, Todd Collins and Caleb Hanie.
Re-adjusting was not an option. Cutler left the game in the third quarter. The Bears went on to lose the game, and critics, among other players, questioned Cutler’s toughness regarding his injury.
Without Cutler, the Bears were searching long and hard for yards and plays.
Cutler does not make the whole team. Yes, he is the number one leader of the offense. Good teams overcome these things and try to make the best of it. In this game, Chicago needed to believe in each other right away to come back. Whether Cutler wanted to play is another story.
Maybe I am looking at this from a direction of someone who is not a Bears fan. I would have liked to see Chicago in the Super Bowl. With a great defense, Devin Hester, and a solid Cutler, they played well enough to win.
Although Hanie threw big interceptions to B.J. Raji, which was returned for a touchdown, and the dagger to Sam Shields, ending the game, Hanie overcame the odds and kept his team in the game. It was just a shame this happened for a trip to the Super Bowl.
When it comes close to playoff time, every injury is crucial to a team’s plan going forward. One team had time to re-adjust the game plan and keep running, while the other caught that tough break at the absolute wrong time to put together the best team for a win.

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