With the way the human body works, there are two things that can happen when an individual is subjected to pressure. They can either strive under that pressure or they can crack. When more pressure is applied, the positive or negative effects on a person will intensify.
Aaron Rodgers is coming off one of the most impressive two-year spans in NFL history. It started with an improbable run to the Super Bowl in 2010, was followed by a truly historic 15-1 regular season and finished with a No. 1 ranking in the NFL Top 100.
While few people would feel bad for the success Rodgers has had, the question still remains: Is there too much pressure on Aaron Rodgers?
You see, as sports fans, we always want more. One more touchdown pass, one more missed tackle or one more catch is what we crave. Despite Rodgers putting together a season for the history books in 2011, people are still going to want more from him.
To be honest, I'm not sure that is humanly possible.
Could Rodgers throw for more yards? Absolutely, he could.
Could he throw for more touchdowns, win more games or go farther in the playoffs? Of course, he could.
The problem is that we're going to expect him to do all of those things, and that is where the pressure will reside for Rodgers. In fact, there may not be a better definition of pressure.
Can we begin to see how pressure is simply stockpiling on top of Rodgers? First, he has the pressure of winning games every week. Secondly, he has the pressure of impressing fans by improving his numbers, avoiding the rush even better and making better commercials (okay, I'm half kidding about that last one).
On top of that, Rodgers has the pressure of his teammates, specifically his receivers and tight ends. With such a deep roster of targets, there is simply no way that Rodgers can fulfill the desires and needs of each one. Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson will certainly see plenty of targets, but what about Randall Cobb, James Jones, Donald Driver and Jermichael Finley?
What receivers crave is targets so they can show everyone not only that they can catch a football, but what they can do after the ball is in their hands. A good season by a No. 3 receiver gets him paid like a No. 1 receiver (see Laurent Robinson and Jacksonville Jaguars). However, a bad season by a No. 1 receiver gets him nothing (see Mike Sims-Walker, current free agent).
You can guarantee that Cobb, Jones and Driver want to touch the ball, and it is going to be near impossible for Rodgers to please them all.
Of course, we also can't forget about the responsibility to train and nurture the younger receivers such as Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel. These players are the eventual replacements for the Drivers and Jennings', and Rodgers needs to develop them to make sure they are fully ready when the time comes.
With so much pressure, there are only two possible outcomes for Rodgers: he'll either flourish or crack:
One outcome consists of Rodgers putting up the greatest season in NFL history.
The other outcome.....well, let's not talk about the other outcome.