Aaron Rodgers-Green Bay Packers split? From Johnny Unitas to Peyton Manning, history shows it would be nothing new

In the 2013 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers made a first round selection of a quarterback, who turns out to be Aaron Rodgers. Throughout his career, Rodgers has been compared to some of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. The first was his predecessor, Brett Favre, who served as the NFL’s MVP for consecutive years in the 1990s.

Super Bowl Sunday will feature two teams having a pretty good chance at winning their respective divisions. In the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks (9-5) are currently tied with Arizona Cardinals (8-6) at the top spot and both have a very good chance of making it to the playoffs. In the AFC, the New England Patriots (11-3) are currently tied with Houston Texans (9-6) and both are expected to make the playoffs.

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GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – Aaron Rodgers thanked the Green Bay Packers on his Instagram account after he signed his most recent deal, a then-record $134 million agreement in 2018. #packerforlife was one of the hashtags at the bottom of his post.

#forlife is a subjective period in the NFL quarterback world, especially in the realm of future Hall of Famers. In Rodgers’ case, it could be as little as three years from the time he signed his contract.

The issue is whether Rodgers will retire or play for another club if he never plays another snap for the Packers.

Throughout the offseason standoff, the Packers have made it plain that they have no intention of trading the three-time NFL MVP. However, this is the same team that dealt Brett Favre 13 years ago.

There has been precedence in Green Bay and across the NFL. Twelve of the 27 modern-era quarterbacks inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame did not end their careers with the club with which they are most closely identified.

Rodgers’ status as the No. 13 quarterback will be determined in the coming weeks.

Here’s how the last 12 months went:


Rams, 1949-57, Norm Van Brocklin

Photos courtesy of the Associated Press and the National Football League.

What caused their breakup? Over nine seasons with the Rams, “The Dutchman” had a 42-20-3 record and was a member of the 1951 championship squad, sharing quarterback responsibilities with Bob Waterfield. In 1951, he set an NFL record with a 554-yard throwing effort. Van Brocklin temporarily retired at age 31 after a 6-6 season in 1957 in which he led the NFL with 21 interceptions, mostly because he didn’t want to play under coach Sid Gillman. In 1958, he was dealt to the Eagles after deciding to continue playing.

In his debut season with the Eagles, Van Brocklin led the NFL in completions (198) and attempts (374) while leading the club to a 2-9-1 record. After finishing 7-5 in 1959, Van Brocklin and the Eagles created history by beating the Packers 17-13 in the NFL championship game, becoming the first Vince Lombardi-coached team to lose in the playoffs. Van Brocklin also earned NFL MVP in his last season in 1960, at the age of 34.

In 1958, Van Brocklin told Sports Illustrated, “I didn’t want to come to the Eagles.” “You can’t beat living on the West Coast. But what other options do I have? I suppose if I knew what I’d do after I’m done, I’d start doing it now.”

courtesy of Getty Images/Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images

What was behind their split? The Niners thought Tittle was pretty much done. He was 34 years old at the time of the trade and coming off an injury-plagued 1960 season. San Francisco coach Red Hickey was running a shotgun offense and had their 1957 first-round pick John Brodie groomed to be the starter. Hickey and owner Vic Morabito made it clear to Tittle that he would be traded. Tittle wanted to be dealt to the Los Angeles Rams. Instead, he went to the Giants, much to his initial dismay.

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How he fared with his new team: With the Giants, Tittle was able to resurrect his career. In his debut season, they went 8-1-1 in his 10 starts, and he was selected first-team All-Pro the next two years. Tittle established league records with 33 and 36 touchdown passes in 1962 and 1963, respectively, as the Giants won three consecutive Eastern Division championships. In the 1963 season, he was even named MVP. Tittle had a good tenure in New York, despite the fact that he never won an NFL title.

Quotation: “Lou Cordileone, who the heck is he? They didn’t even try to swap me for a well-known player. Cordileone is the name of a guard. That knocks me down a notch.” — Tittle while first learning the trade (via his book “Nothing Comes Easy”).

Getty Images/Robert Riger

What caused their breakup? Is the Bobby Layne Curse real? After years of tragedy in Motown, it definitely seems that way. Although it may be difficult to believe, the Lions dominated the 1950s, capturing three titles under Layne’s leadership. However, Layne fractured and dislocated his right ankle, allowing Tobin Rote, his backup, to lead the team to the 1957 championship. George Wilson, the Lions’ coach, traded the Hall of Fame quarterback to the Pittsburgh Steelers the next season. Layne was enraged. He is said to have said that the Lions would not win another title for another 50 years. With just one postseason victory since the championship, the franchise hasn’t come close to winning again.

How he fared with his new team: Layne was a three-time NFL champion with the Lions. He appeared in four Pro Bowls and twice received First-Team All-Pro honors. In five seasons with the Steelers, he was named to the Pro Bowl twice, but he never made the playoffs again before retiring before the 1963 season. Following his dramatic remark, the Lions have seemed to be cursed for decades. At the age of 59, he died in 1986.

In 2017, his son Alan Layne told the Detroit Free Press, “No, there’s no bitter grapes.” “He never said anything negative about me or my brother in front of us. It was just a case of water under the bridge. He wasn’t like that at all, yet he kept going.”

Johnny Unitas played for the Baltimore Colts from 1956 through 1972.

Getty Images/Charles Aqua Viva

What caused their breakup? In 1972, Robert Irsay acquired ownership of the Colts and hired general manager Joe Thomas, who wanted Unitas, who was 39 at the time, benched early in the season in favor of Marty Domres. Coach Don McCafferty refused and was dismissed after a 0-5 start. Domres was named the starter. Unitas, who owned every major passing record at the time and led the Colts to three world titles, played in three more games but only attempted four passes. On Jan. 22, 1973, Thomas traded Unitas to the Chargers for a reported $150,000, putting an end to his Colts tenure. After the deal, Unitas told The New York Times that he wasn’t sure it was legal since he had signed a 10-year personal services contract for $30,000 per year with the Colts under previous owner Carroll Rosenbloom.

How he got along with the new group: The Chargers’ debut for the 40-year-old Unitas in 1973 was a catastrophe, and things didn’t get much better from there. In a 38-0 defeat against Washington, he completed 6-of-17 passes for 55 yards and three interceptions. He started three more games before being benched in favor of rookie Dan Fouts, who would go on to become a Chargers icon and Hall of Famer. Unitas chose to retire after completing just 34 passes in his 18th season.

Quotation: “… I received a call from Ernie Accorsi, the Colts’ public relations director, who stated Joe Thomas wanted to speak with me. ‘Fine, put him on,’ I replied.” In 1989, Unitas told the Los Angeles Times. “‘You’ve just been traded to San Diego,’ Thomas remarked, and then hung up. After 17 years with the team, it was it.”

Houston Oilers, George Blanda, 1960-66

Getty Images/Tony Tomsic

What caused their breakup? Blanda spent 26 seasons as a quarterback for four different teams, but his greatest years came with the Oilers. In 1961, he led the AFL with 3,330 throwing yards and 36 touchdowns. Four years in a row, he led the league in interceptions, including 42 in 1962. Blanda, who was also a kicker, had only eight starts at the age of 39 in 1966, tossing 17 touchdowns and 21 interceptions while completing just 45% of his throws. The Oilers let him go, but Blanda wasn’t ready to hang up his skates just yet, and Al Davis contacted him shortly after.

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Blanda joined the Raiders at the age of 40 and was mainly utilized as a kicker for the next nine seasons. He only started one game with the Raiders as a quarterback, but he played in 126 games and led Oakland to its first AFL title in 1967. He appeared in 11 Super Bowls, seven of them with the Raiders. Blanda retired with 2,002 points in 340 games shortly before the 1976 season, a few weeks shy of his 49th birthday.

“What comes to me first when I think back on my nine years with the Raiders is my wonderful relationship with Al Davis,” Blanda told the Raiders website in 2010. “I may not have done the things I did after I left Houston if it hadn’t been for him. If it hadn’t been for Al, I may not have continued playing. I hold him in great regard.”

Photo courtesy of AP

What was behind their split? Namath and the Jets parted ways in 1977. The Super Bowl glory from 1969 had long since faded, and the 33-year-old Namath, his body ravaged by injuries, didn’t fit into a planned youth movement that included quarterback Richard Todd (a 1976 first-round pick). Ownership made an eleventh-hour plea for Namath to stay, probably because he still was a big draw, but he requested a trade to the Los Angeles Rams, who eventually picked him up on waivers. From a football perspective, he wanted the Rams because they were a perennial playoff team and because of his affinity for coach Chuck Knox, a former Jets assistant. The lure of Hollywood had to be a factor, too.

What he thought of his new team: Broadway Joe was never Hollywood Joe. In La La Land, his one season was a flop. Although the Rams advanced to the playoffs, Namath was benched after just four games. The old magic had faded away. During a playoff defeat to the Vikings, the tell-tale moment happened. Knox made eye contact with Namath on the sideline, hoping for him to come off the bench and rescue the day. Namath averted his gaze, obliquely declining the offer. He realized it was finished at that point.

Quotation: “Even though I had lost a lot of physical ability that I used to have, I still felt like I could play. Given the chance to play with a squad that was fairly darn good, I truly thought I could still play, but it turned out to be a really tough adjustment. Changing teams is difficult, very difficult.” — ESPN.com’s Namath

Oakland Raiders, Ken Stabler, 1970-1979

Robert Houston/Associated Press

What caused their breakup? Stabler, who won the NFL MVP award in 1974 and led the Raiders to Super Bowl XI two seasons later, saw not only his performance decline after winning a long-awaited title, but his club’s success as well, with just one postseason win in his last three seasons with the franchise. In 1978, Al Davis remarked, “Blame the lefty, he earns all the money.” When asked whether he wanted to bury the hatchet with the iconoclast owner a year later, Stabler said, “Yes, between his shoulder blades.” Stabler, who held the franchise’s career passing records until 2020, was sold to the Oilers following the 1979 season in a starter-for-starter trade for Dan Pastorini, but Pastorini injured his leg in Week 5, allowing Jim Plunkett to win Super Bowl XV.


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How he fared with his new club: Stabler guided the Oilers to a wild-card spot in his first season with the franchise, where he met… the Raiders. Stabler was sacked seven times and intercepted twice by Oakland, including a game-winning 20-yard pick-six by Lester Hayes in the Raiders’ 27-7 triumph. Stabler never played in the playoffs again, going 16-12 in two seasons with the Oilers and 11-11 in three seasons with the New Orleans Saints before retiring following the 1984 season.

Quotation: “It was a lovely meeting. It was as though two old friends had returned to where they had left off. Mr. Davis was frail, and Kenny embraced him carefully… they were both at ease.” — Kim Bush, the late Stabler’s life partner, remembering a meeting in Davis’ office in 2009 that put an end to their dispute.

Joe Montana was a member of the San Francisco 49ers from 1979 to 1992.

Getty Images/Focus on Sport

What caused their breakup? Montana led the 49ers to four Super Bowl victories in the 1980s, but he was injured by the conclusion of the decade. In 1987, the 49ers acquired Steve Young as the successor apparent to Montana, who missed 37 games in his last six seasons with the team. After suffering an elbow injury in the NFC Championship Game after the 1991 season, he missed the entire 1992 season. Young started all 16 games and led the 49ers to a 14-2 record while throwing for 3,465 yards and 25 touchdowns. Montana saw the writing on the wall and requested permission to look for a job. The 49ers arranged a deal with the Arizona Cardinals, but Montana declined. He wanted to be traded to the Chiefs in Kansas City. Montana, a 1993 first-round selection, and safety David Whitmore were eventually dealt to the Chiefs in exchange for their first-round pick.

Montana signed a three-year, $10 million contract with the Chiefs, but he couldn’t wear his old No. 16 because it had been retired after another Hall of Famer, Len Dawson, had worn it. No. 19 was his choice. Montana’s first season as the starter resulted in the Chiefs winning their first division championship in 22 years. They lost in the AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills, and Montana was named to his eighth and final Pro Bowl. Montana retired from the NFL at the age of 38 after a 9-7 season in 1994, which featured a victory against Young and the 49ers in a Week 2 Monday Night Football game.

Quotation: “The fact that I was going someplace else didn’t bother me as much as the fact that I was going… I got the feeling I shouldn’t be [going] at that moment “In 2013, Montana told The Kansas City Star. “I could understand that if my game was on point, but it wasn’t. It was merely due to a desire to avoid a quarterback controversy.”

From 1984 until 1993, Warren Moon was a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

Getty Images

What caused their breakup? After the Oilers’ 12-4 season in 1993 failed to get them to the Super Bowl, then-owner Bud Adams decided to retain backup quarterback Cody Carlson over Moon. For the 37-year-old Moon, who won a franchise-high 70 games, the Oilers got a fourth-round selection in 1994 and a third-round pick in 1995. According to the Houston Chronicle, at the time, Adams said that Moon would not have been moved if the NFL pay limit had not been implemented before the 1994 season.

Moon had three seasons with the Vikings, passing for over 4,200 yards and made the Pro Bowl in back-to-back seasons before fracturing his collarbone in his last season with the club. Moon was selected to the Pro Bowl eight times in a row, including the 1994 and 1995 seasons in Minnesota. Before retiring in 2001 at the age of 44, he spent two years with the Seahawks and then the Chiefs.

Moon told the Houston Chronicle in 1994, “I believe they made a mistake selling me.” “When you look at what management did, you can see that they got exactly what they deserved. I believe they did what they believed was best, but what you believe is best isn’t necessarily correct.”

Kurt Warner played for the St. Louis Rams from 1998 to 2003.

Getty Images/Chris Trotman

What caused their breakup? Warner’s journey from the Arena League to two-time NFL MVP and Super Bowl winner with the Rams is one of the greatest underdog tales in sports history. He had three productive seasons with the Rams, leading the NFL in completion % each year and passing for 98 touchdowns, but injuries and friction with coach Mike Martz hampered him for his last two years in St. Louis. Warner was benched in favor of Marc Bulger early in the 2003 season and was released the following summer.


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How he performed with his new team: Warner joined the Giants as a backup quarterback for No. 1 overall selection Eli Manning. Warner won five of his nine games, but he only threw six touchdowns in 277 attempts before being replaced by Manning. Warner joined with the Cardinals in 2005 at the age of 34 and made just 15 starts in his first two seasons before being replaced by Matt Leinart as the franchise quarterback in 2006. Warner took over as the Cardinals’ starting quarterback in 2007 and led them to their first Super Bowl victory in 2008, passing for 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns. In 2009, he led the Cardinals back to the playoffs, but they lost in the divisional round to the Saints, ending his Hall of Fame career.

Warner told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch shortly after his release from the Rams in 2004: “I don’t know what went wrong or why choices were made the way they were.” “However, I am aware that the company has chosen to go a different path. And they have a fantastic young quarterback in Marc [Bulger], so there’s no way you can argue they did anything wrong.”

Brett Favre was a quarterback for the Green Bay Packers from 1992 until 2007.

Getty Images/Al Bello

What caused their breakup? Favre has been debating whether or not to return to the NFL for years, each time delaying his decision. Following the 2007 season, the Packers were looking for a quick response. After a tough overtime defeat in the NFC championship game, Favre was unable to commit to another season and abruptly retired on March 4, 2008. Rodgers had just completed his third season as a backup quarterback, and the Packers thought he was ready. Early in the summer, Favre said that he was itching to return to the NFL. The Packers filed tampering charges against the Minnesota Vikings when they inquired. The Packers attempted to purchase Favre’s retirement with a $20 million golden parachute, but he refused. Favre was dealt to the Jets on Aug. 6 after forcing the Packers’ hand by reporting to the club. Fans overwhelmingly supported Favre and were outraged by the move.

How he fared with new teams: He retired after one up-and-down season with the Jets, only to re-retire and join with the Vikings in 2009, causing a rift among the fan base. In his return to Lambeau Field, he was booed vociferously. He led the Vikings to the NFC championship game, but they were defeated in their attempt to reach the Super Bowl for the second time. He returned for the 2010 season hesitantly, and it was a mistake. Late in a 6-10 season, his iron man run of consecutive starts came to an end at 297.

Quotation: “I couldn’t see myself joining another squad. I’d probably simply retire if that situation ever arose. I’ve amassed enough wealth that I don’t need to abandon ship and relocate.” — Favre on signing a 10-year, $101.5 million contract deal with the Packers in 2001.

US Presswire/Ron Chenoy

What caused their breakup? Manning was forced to sit out the whole 2011 season due to a neck ailment. His absence was the primary cause for the Colts’ 2-14 record, which earned them the No. 1 overall draft selection. Manning’s age (36) along with the Colts’ first-round selection, with quarterback Andrew Luck and tight end Robert Griffin III expected to be the top two choices, made it the perfect moment to split ways and start the rebuilding process with Luck. Manning was released by the Indianapolis Colts on March 7, 2012. Jim Irsay, the team’s owner, avoided having to pay Manning a $28 million bonus in 2012.

How did he perform with his new team? How does winning at least 12 games in each of the first four seasons, being voted league MVP, appearing in two Super Bowls (winning one), and briefly being the NFL’s all-time touchdown pass leader sound? During Manning’s four seasons with the Denver Broncos, all of these occurrences occurred. Manning’s departure from the Colts came at a favorable moment, but he also demonstrated that he still had something left in him.

On the day Peyton Manning was released, Irsay stated, “There will be no other Peyton Manning.” “Never again will the No. 18 jersey be worn.”

This article was contributed to by NFL Nation writers Eric Woodyard, Paul Gutierrez, Mike Wells, Sarah Barshop, Rich Cimini, and Jordan Raanan.

The Green Bay Packers and Green Bay fans were on a roll this year. After the Packers won Super Bowl XLV and went on to win their fifth league championship, fans were able to celebrate two more wins with a victory over the New York Giants in the NFL playoffs. The Packers ended the season with a 13-3 record. They were the first NFL team since the Denver Broncos in the 1998 season to win at least 13 games in a single season.. Read more about aaron rodgers number and let us know what you think.

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