Aaron Rodgers is on pace to throw for 52 touchdowns this season, which would be second all-time to Peyton Manning’s 55 in 2013.
Not bad for a guy in his 13th year as the Green Bay Packers’ starting quarterback. Or a guy who finished with half that amount last year.
Still, don’t call it a comeback. Or anything of the sort. You might be setting yourself up for a Rodgers retort like this one:
“I sometimes laugh when people talk about down years for me because a lot of times down years for me are career years for most quarterbacks.”
That was part of Rodgers’ response Tuesday when asked on “The Pat McAffee Show” if he was benefitting from being in offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s system for a second season. Rodgers answered that he does feel more comfortable this year before seemingly taking umbrage at the premise of the question.
McAffee and company erupted with cheers following Rodgers’ remark, prompting Rodgers to say, “Hey, it’s just the facts, bro.”
But is it?
First, it must be noted that Rodgers put up some excellent numbers last year as he helped the Packers to a 13-3 record. He passed for more than 4,000 yards for the eighth time in his career and had only four passes picked off. His interception percentage of 0.7 was the best in the NFL, the fourth time he’s led the league in that category.
As far as touchdown passes go, Rodgers threw 45 in 2011 (second to Drew Brees’ 46 that year) and a league-leading 40 in 2016. So based on those stats, it would be difficult to begrudge someone who considered last season’s 26 to be a down year for him in that category.
But what about Rodgers’ claim that it would be a career year for most quarterbacks? Well, quarterbacks have thrown for 27 or more touchdowns in a season 226 times. That may seem like a lot, but, of course, some players accomplished the feat more than once. And considering the number of people who have played quarterback in the history of the game, it’s probably accurate to say “most” quarterbacks would have loved to have thrown as many touchdown passes as Rodgers in any year of his career.
Bottom line, Rodgers has set a ridiculously high standard for himself during a career that will certainly land him in the Hall of Fame. Maybe he comes across as a bit arrogant, but like he said, it’s just the facts, bro.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.