GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers learned something new. Mike McCarthy made a joke.
Neither the Green Bay Packers quarterback nor his head coach was crowing much about any advantage their team has as a result of it, but the fact remains that entering the NFC playoffs – which kick off Saturday night with the NFC North-champion Packers facing division rival and No. 6-seeded Wild Card entry Minnesota – the only one of the six starting quarterbacks in the conference to have won a playoff game is Rodgers.
“I didn’t know it until you said it right there,” Rodgers said on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com Thursday,
Asked in his Thursday press conference whether he thought playoff experience at the quarterback position was important in the postseason, McCarthy replied, “It is this week.” When no one in the room laughed, McCarthy felt compelled to add, “That was a joke.”
But at 4-2 in postseason play as a starter, Rodgers is the only one of the six QBs to have won in the playoffs. Top-seeded Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, San Francisco starter Colin Kaepernick, Washington rookie Robert Griffin III, Seattle rookie Russell Wilson and Vikings second-year man Christian Ponder have yet to win a playoff game, with the last four QBs listed set to make their playoff debuts. Kapernick replaced veteran starter Alex Smith late in the season, even though Smith won an NFC Divisional Playoff shootout with New Orleans last year to get the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game.
“Playoff games are different. I think the fact that Aaron’s played in, what, seven (playoff games) now, it’s definitely an experience that we’re going to draw from,” McCarthy said. “It doesn’t keep us away from anything as far as the way we’re game-planning. He’s played in cold weather, he’s played on the road. I think it definitely helps you. This is obviously the first time for Christian Ponder, but football, to me, is still football. We have to go out and play very well in all three phases, our quarterback has to play well just because of the way we’re designed and we’re built on offense.”
Rodgers also was dismissive of any advantage it gives the Packers. After all, before their four-game playoff run to the Super Bowl XLV title, Rodgers had never won a playoff game either. He’d only played in one at that point.
“Not a bunch, especially not after the first week,” Rodgers said. “It doesn’t really mean a whole lot I don’t think.”
Return to: Jason Wilde Blog