The Green Bay Packers have advanced to the playoffs 11 times since Aaron Rodgers became their starting quarterback. The only years that they didn’t make the playoffs were his first year as a starter in 2008, 2017 when injury cost him more than half the season, and in 2018 when he battled through a knee injury to start all 16 games, but his performance was not up to his usual standards and the Packers finished 6-9-1.
It’s an impressive run, but in only one season have the Packers reached the Super Bowl with Rodgers as a starter, their championship 2010 season — a season in which they had to win the final game of the regular season to clinch the last NFC playoff spot. The next year, they finished as the most disappointing 15-1 team in history of the NFL, going one and done, after getting smoked by the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
The Packers didn’t even make the NFC Championship Game again until the 2014 season and have gone 0-4 in appearances in that game since winning the Super Bowl.
However, no team has been more troublesome for Rodgers and the Packers than the San Francisco 49ers. His predecessor at quarterback, Brett Favre, had little trouble with the legendary Jerry Rice and Steve Young — and certainly none with Elvis Grbac in 1996. The Packers eliminated the 49ers from the playoffs three consecutive seasons, and were 4-1 against them with Favre as the starter.
With Rodgers as the starter, it’s like “The Opposite” episode of Seinfeld. George’s life is a mess, so he decides to do the opposite of every instinct he has, and he begins to thrive while Elaine’s life falls apart. The 49ers are currently the chicken-salad sandwich eating, new assistant to the traveling secretary of the New York Yankees George Costanza, and the Packers are the Jujyfruits eating, Pendant Publishing ruining Elaine Benes.
Rodgers is 0-3 against the 49ers in the playoffs and every loss has been different. Whether Rodgers gets outdueled by a quarterback who, for some reason, was out of the NFL in his late 20s; comes up short in a defensive struggle; or he and his team melt like a Hershey’s bar left in a car in July, they cannot get past the team from Northern California.
Saturday night may be his final chance at the 49ers in a Packers uniform, so let’s look back at how the previous matchups played out.