Aaron Rodgers has had one of the greatest careers an NFL quarterback could have. So, let's take a look statistically at where he is now, where he could be if he continues to play, and some things he may think about during his darkness retreat.
Career Passing Yards
Currently 9th - 59,055
2022 Yards 3,695
Within reach in one season:
8th- 61,361 Dan Marino
7th- 62,792 Matt Ryan (Still Active)
Within reach in 2 seasons:
6th- 63,440 Philip Rivers
*To pass Rivers in 1 season Rodgers would need 4,385 yards
5th- 64,088 Ben Roethlisberger
Rodgers won MVP with 4115 yards in 2021. Rodgers would still be 438 yards short of #4 Brett Favre and 540 yards short of #3 Payton Manning with 3 consecutive 4115 yard seasons. It is safe to say Rodgers would need to play 4 more seasons to pass Favre and Manning for #3 all time.
It would take 6 seasons for Rodgers to pass Drew Brees at #2 with 80,358 and 8 seasons to pass Tom Brady for #1 assuming Rodgers can throw for around 4000 yards every season into his late 40's.
One more healthy season almost guarantees Rodgers passing Marino for 8th but after that it is dependent on Matt Ryan's situation. He would really need to play 2 more seasons to give himself a serious chance at 5th all time.
Career Passing TD's
Currently 5th - 475
4th 508 Brett Favre
3rd 539 Payton Manning
Rodgers won MVP with 37 TDs in 2021. Assuming he can return to that level, he could pass Favre next season and Payton Manning within in 2 seasons. If he continues his 26 TD play of 2022 it would take Rodgers 2 seasons to pass Favre and 3 seasons to pass Manning.
Career Passer Rating
Currently #2 - 103.6
2022 Passer Rating- 91.1
2021 Passer Rating 111.9
2020 Passer Rating 121.5
Current #1 Patrick Mahomes 105.7
Current #3 Deshaun Watson 102.3
Current #4 Joe Burrow 100.4
Likelihood of Rodgers keeping #2 - Very High
Before Patrick Mahomes came along Aaron Rodgers was the greatest all time in passer rating and it was never close. Passer rating is a formula that puts a lot of weight on TD/INT ratio and Rodgers has too long of a career for another bad (or good) season (or three) to have an effect on his career QB rating.
The most likely reason for Rodgers to go down is if one of the QBs below him improve on their rating. Joe Burrow or Watson could get ahead of Rodgers with 2 or 3 great seasons, but the difficulty would be for them to maintain that level over the rest of their career. It is possible for Rodgers to overtake Mahomes but it would be from bad play on Mahomes side, not a great return to MVP form by Rodgers.
We have looked at yards and touchdowns and QB passer rating but the main reason Rodgers is a first ballot hall of famer is that he is the best all time at not throwing interceptions. Let’s see just how great at not throwing them he is:
Career Passes Intercepted
Currently 114th - 105 (Tied with Kirk Cousins)
1st- Brett Favre 336
2022 Rodgers- 12 INTs (Worst of career since his first 16 game season in 2008 when he threw 13)
2021 Rodgers- 4 INTs*
If Rodgers plays another season and throws 12 INTs he will pass among others; Steve Young who had the best at passer rating all time in his day, Dante Culpepper, Alex Smith who was drafted #1 by San Francisco instead of him, and Roger Staubach
If Rodgers plays 3 more seasons and averaged 15 INTs per season, he would be 62nd all time, behind #61 Matt Hasselbeck who wanted the ball and was going to score but threw an INT instead
* Rodgers 4 INTs was not a career best. He only threw 2 INTs in 16 games in 2018, a year he threw for 4,442 yards and the Packers went 6-9-1! That’s a crazy stat, but there is an explanation for why the Packers were not winning more. Rodgers was sacked a whopping 49 times that year, the worst of his career by far. Even though he threw for the second most yards of any season in his career, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Packers poor defense that allowed 400 Points against them. Rodgers was afraid to throw INTs because he didn’t want the well below average defense to have to defend a short field, but in those efforts, he ended up hanging onto the ball too long and was sacked more as a result.
Ok that’s pretty a pretty good analysis of Rodgers career but lets look at another way to measure how great Rodgers has been at not throwing interceptions. INT% is the number of INTs divided by the number of passing attempts
Currently 1st -1.4%
#2 all time with 1.5% is...Jacoby Brissett???
#3 Patrick Mahomes 1.6%
Rodgers INT % in 2022 was 2.2%
So, is Rodgers career INT% at risk if he continues to play?
The short answer is no.
The long answer is, he would have to play approximately 2 seasons throwing over 30 INTs per season to move his INT% behind Brissett. He has thrown far too many passes in his career without getting intercepted to move the needle.
Other interesting stats about Rodgers:
Currently 14th tied with Payton Manning and Tony Romo
#1 Joe Burrow
Currently 8th tied with Sammy Baugh
#1 Sid Luckman
#5 Patrick Mahomes (#1 Active)
Adjusted Net Yards per Pass Attempt*
Currently #2- 7.35
#1 Patrick Mahomes 8.05
#3 Jimmy Garoppolo 7.20
*Adjusted Net Yards per Pass is the BEST stat to compare QBs. It takes TDs INTs and Sacks into account. The formula is (Passing Yards – Sack Yards + (20*Passing TD) – (45*INT)) / Pass Attempts + Times sacked.
Some conclusions that can be drawn from this article
#1- Statistically, Rodgers is the greatest QB of all time but Mahomes is close. If you compare Brady and Rodgers assuming equal pass attempts, Rodgers is the better QB because of his ability to not throw INTs while still throwing for a huge number of yards and TDs. Brady has thrown 4,390 more passes than Rodgers, equaling about 8 seasons of passes which is why he is so far ahead of Rodgers in yards and TDs. However, if Patrick Mahomes can continue to play at his current level for the next few seasons you could quickly make a statistical argument that he is even better than Rodgers.
#2 Rodgers had a really bad season in 2022. He was 15th in the league in Passer rating, 16th in INT% and 20th in Adj Net Yards per Attempt. Those are stats he has dominated over his career. Rookie receivers and a thumb injury can't excuse the fact that his play was below half the quarterbacks in the league. Jordan Love's 21 pass attempts are not statistically significant enough to allow a true statistical comparison, but it would not be unreasonable to believe Jordan could have produced similar or better statistics than the ones Rodgers put up in 2022. If Rodgers were to come back to Green Bay, he would need to play at the level he did 2021 to justify the Packers not playing Love.
#3 Jimmy Garoppolo is statistically the best 49ers QB of all time.
Some admissions of omissions
#1 Wins were not taken into account here. Winning is the goal of the game and truly the most important stat to keep, but I would have to go into a whole other article if I tried to explain why wins are not necessarily the best way to judge quarterbacks careers, and also why interceptions are not always the best judge either (thanks Brett).
#2 There is a stat that was created called Approximate Value. That stat is driven by your teams points per drive, divided by the league average. For career AV you gain points year over year, meaning the longer you play, the better your career AV is. The career leader in AV is Tom Brady with Rodgers coming in at #7.
Approximate Value can be a good tool to look at comparing offenses on an individual season basis. For example when you compare the 2011 Packers and the 2007 Patriots you find that they were both really good and Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have the same AV (23) for those specific seasons. You can also see that the 2014 Packers were also very good offensively but maybe not quite as good as 2011 because Rodgers ABV was 22 instead of 23. The best QBs in AV in 2022 were Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen who both had an AV of 20.
#3 I do honesty believe Jimmy Garoppolo is severely underrated and drafting Tray Lance was an idiotic move on the part of the 49ers, but the omission about conclusion #3 is that as the game has evolved towards more passing. If you replaced Joe Montana with Jimmy G, does that improve the 49ers? I highly doubt that it does because of Montana’s proficiency in the west coast offense and the fact that he may actually be the greatest QB of all time in actuality not statistically. The reason the statistics are skewed in Garoppolo’s favor is because the rules of the game allowed more contact to receivers in Montana’s day and it was generally more difficult to put up the same yardage and TD numbers that QBs put up today. Jimmy is certainly accurate and great at making throws and would have been great then too, but Montana to Steve Young was the greatest QB succession of all time until Favre to Rodgers. Garoppolo is statistically one of the best QBs in this era like it or not, as Montana was in his and Steve Young was in his. The fact that Jimmy Garoppolo is not talked about as an elite quarterback is astounding to me and I believe that his frequent injuries have created a narrative that discounts his ability to lead a team to a Super Bowl.
#4 I did not include playoff statistics. Adding in the playoff stats would be unfair for a number of reasons and would diminish the statistical analysis between players.