By Bill Foley
Listen to sports radio when they’re talking about quarterbacks, and you will definitely hear it.
Strike up a conversation at the water cooler (if anyone really does that), and you are guaranteed to hear the same thing.
Aaron Rodgers is the “most talented” quarterback, someone will say. But Tom Brady is the best of all time.
Dan Patrick and Colin Cowherd say it, and the nation repeats it.
But, really, why do they say this?
Well, the No. 1 reason they give you is that Rodgers has won one Super Bowl since he became a starter in 2008. Tom Terrific has won five Super Bowls and played in eight since 2001.
It is time to finally put this silly ring logic to rest. A Super Bowl is won by more than one player, and the Packers of the last 10 years have been Aaron Rodgers and a bunch of players we would not have heard of if it wasn’t for Aaron Rodgers.
Most “experts” will tell you flat out that Mike Trout is the best ball player on the planet. They are wrong because Mookie Betts is the best, but that is beside the point.
We can call label Trout the best and his team made the playoffs once in his seven full seasons in the majors. The Angels were swept by the Royals that year, too.
So, why do championships matter when distinguishing the best player in football, but not in baseball?
If rings are all that matter, then Nick Foles is clearly a better quarterback than Dan Marino, right? Same goes for Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson and Doug Williams. They all won Super Bowls, while all Marino has is an Oscar-worth performance in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
Laces out, Dan.
Forget about the rings, and use the eye test.
Secretly, I have long thought that Rogers was the best. That is not to knock Brady, who is incredible. Both have done more with less than any quarterbacks I have seen play.
Rodgers, though, is without question better. The Packers are a 2-14 team if his ACL tears from the hit Sunday night against the New Monsters of the Midway. Since it didn’t, the Packers will make a run at the Super Bowl.
When Brady tore his ACL in 2008, Matt Cassel led the Patriots to an 11-5 record. Sure, it was five games worse than the year before, but it was still a team worth watching in December.
Without Rodgers, the Packers couldn’t beat the Browns.
With the exception of my dad and like two others, Bears fans are still excited about the way their team played Sunday night. Sure, the loss to Rodgers’ Packers stings, and it will sting every time we watch it on NFL Films for the next 75 years.
But the Bears looked better than they have since a youthful Brian Urlacher was roaming the middle. And Rodgers beat them with one leg.
Rodgers is the best. Go ahead and say it. Let the knuckleheads scream about rings because the eye test trumps jewelry any day.
It should be noted — and enhance my credibility — that Rodgers is my least favorite player of all time. In any sport. He’s like 37 Deion Sanderses plus a couple of Richard Shermans to me.
I also really dislike my picks from last week. I went 8-8 straight up. Yes, I count the tie as a loss, like Steelers fans should when they kiss their sister Browns. I went 6-10 against the spread, giving us another example of why they have all those big, shinny buildings in Las Vegas.
It was pointed out to me — and blamed on me — that I picked the Packers to beat the Bears by 1 point, which they did.
Sure, I have broken up no-hitters and course-record rounds of golf with my jinxing antics, but I am not taking the blame for that loss.
My dad deserves more blame than me. When the Packers scored their first points, pulling to within 20-3, he called me to offer his famous words, “They’re going to lose this, sure as sh–.”
Finger point will get us nowhere, however. So, this time, let’s just give the credit to Aaron Rodgers, the GOAT.
This week I will do better. The lines are from ESPN, which is I’m told is somehow still on the air.
Baltimore (minus 1) at Cincinnati
Apparently having Lamar Jackson looking over his shoulder has lit a fire under Joe Flacco. Andy Dalton, the “Red Riffle,” looked pretty good last week, too, last week.
When in doubt, go with the home team on Thursdays.
Bengals by 3
Carolina (plus 5.5) at Atlanta
Settle down Panthers fans, that was really bad Cowboys team you beat last week. Like 4-12 bad.
Falcons by 7
Los Angeles Chargers (minus 7.5) at Buffalo
The Bills will start Josh Allen, the rookie out of Wyoming, at quarterback. Nothing says bounce back from a 44-point loss than a rookie quarterback from Wyoming.
Chargers by 16
Minnesota (plus 1) at Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers has been looking forward to this game since Anthony Barr’s cheap shot — yes, it was dirty — broke his collar bone last year.
Don’t buy the will-he-won’t-he talk. Rodgers will play, and the Vikings will pay.
Packers by 10
Houston (no line) at Tennessee
There’s no line because nobody could possibly care about this game.
Texans by 6
Browns (plus 8.5) at New Orleans
The Browns didn’t lose last week. Hue Jackson wasn’t joking with that “greatest turnaround in sports history” talk.
Saints by 19
Miami (plus 3) at New York Jets
Either the Jets finally have a quarterback in the young Sam Darnold or the Lions are really, really bad.
Jets by 9
Kansas City (minus 4) at Pittsburgh
Andy Reid teams never win in Pittsburgh, so I want to pick the Steelers. But the Steelers were lucky to tie the Browns.
Chefs by 3
Philadelphia (minus 3.5) at Tampa Bay
Bucs quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for four bills and four touchdowns last week in New Orleans.
The Eagles are led by a guy named Foles. Remember: According to those who like to bring up rings in quarterback GOAT debates, Foles is better than Dan Marino.
Eagles by 5
Indianapolis (plus 6) at Washington
Jay Gruden swiping right on Alex Smith might turn out to be a very good thing.
Native Americans by 10
Arizona (plus 12.5) at Los Angeles Rams
Mark my words, if the Packers pathetic offensive line can’t keep Aaron Rodgers healthy, the Rams will go to the Super Bowl.
Rams by 24
Detroit (plus 6) at San Francisco
The speed in which new Lions coach Matt Patricia has placed himself on the hot seat has to be some kind of record. Jimmy GQ will rebound against a Lions team that is staring 2-14 right in the face.
49ers by 17
Oakland (plus 6) at Denver
After only one game, it is clear that John Gruden is swiping left on the 2018 season. Those upstanding citizens who call themselves Raiders fans deserve better, Chuckie.
Broncos by 11
New England (minus 1) at Jacksonville
The Patriots are a road favorite against the best defense in the league. In September. Bill Belichick doesn’t even put on the hoodie until October.
Lock it up.
Jaguars by 7
New York Giants (plus 3) at Dallas
I’m beginning to think that this whole Jerry Jones the general manager thing might not be working.
Giants by 23
Seattle (plus 3.5) at Chicago
Kahlil Mack looked like Superman for the first half against the Packers. I can’t wait to see what he does against that Seattle offensive line.
Bears by 9