Jordan Love Doesn’t Have to Be Spectacular to Match Aaron Rodgers’ First NFL Start but Does Have to Do the Unexpected

Aaron Rodgers made his first start for the Green Bay Packers in 2006, but it took until 2008 before he was named an NFL starter. Jordan Love did not have to be spectacular to match that streak of starts-a feat which few quarterbacks accomplish-but does need to do something unexpected.

Jordan Love didn’t have to be spectacular in his first NFL start to match Aaron Rodgers’ performance. He did, however, need to do the unexpected and that’s exactly what he did.

Aaron Rodgers took the field as the Green Bay Packers’ starting quarterback for the first time in Week 1 of the 2008 NFL season. Thirteen years later, Jordan Love, a QB selected by the Packers to replace an aging icon, will make his first start against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9.

You take it one step at a time in the NFL. So, before we get too excited about Love being a three-time MVP and Super Bowl winner, we need to see whether he can hold his own against Rodgers in his first season. In terms of statistics, it won’t be tough, but attaining the same outcome will be more challenging.

Jordan Love will make his first NFL start against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9. 

Before the Green Bay Packers’ Week 9 game, Aaron Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19. The turmoil that surrounded the announcement is another tale, but the end result is that Jordan Love, the No. 26 overall choice from last year, will make his first professional start.

The Packers traded up in the first round of the 2020 draft to pick the former Utah State quarterback. With lots of pressing concerns on the 2020 Packers’ roster, including a dire need for a No. 2 wide receiver opposite Davante Adams, the Green Bay front staff did what it has done in the past and prioritized the future over the present.

No NFL fan could deny that the decision seemed eerily similar to one made 15 years before, when the club selected a signal-caller No. 24 overall in 2005 while still having franchise quarterback Brett Favre on the roster.

Before Favre departed for the Jets and the Aaron Rodgers Era started, that QB sat for three seasons.

While Love’s first start isn’t as polished as Rodgers’, it will serve as the start of the Jordan Love Era, if it ever comes to that.

For Love, this is an intriguing clash.

On the one hand, he has a fantastic defensive matchup. The Chiefs defense is rated 29th in yards allowed and 28th in points allowed entering Week 9. However, he will face Patrick Mahomes, one of the league’s most skilled quarterbacks.

If the Chiefs can recapture their form, as they showed glimpses of against the New York Giants in Week 8, the game might turn into a track meet that Love will find difficult to keep up with in his first start.

Aaron Rodgers’ numbers weren’t fantastic, but he won a major game in his first season.

Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love of the Green Bay Packers walk onto the field before a game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on September 20, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 35-17. Wesley Hitt/Getty Images photo of Aaron Rodgers with Jordan Love.

Rodgers and Love had comparable first starts in that they both faced a tough opponent in their first game as the Packers’ quarterback.

While Love will face the high-powered but underperforming Chiefs, Rodgers will face the Minnesota Vikings, who would go on to win the NFC North in 2008.

Favre’s preferred destination in the 2008 offseason was the Minnesota Vikings, but the Packers sold him to the New York Jets because they didn’t want to retain him in their division. Instead, head coach Brad Childress chose Tavaris Jackson to start as quarterback.

Gus Frerotte, a 37-year-old journeyman, would eventually replace Jackson and help the club turn their season around. But it was Jackson at the helm for the Monday Night Football opener versus the Packers.

In his first game, Rodgers had a statistically insignificant performance. He completed his first touchdown pass as a starter (and second career) in the second quarter, giving the Packers a 7-3 lead. He didn’t accomplish much the remainder of the game until he scored the game-winning touchdown on a QB sneak with six minutes remaining.  

His ultimate stat line was 18-of-22 for 178 yards and two touchdowns, one passing and one running.

The win, which the Packers achieved by a score of 24-19, was the most crucial takeaway for Rodgers.

Green Bay has enjoyed the greatest quarterback stability of any NFL team in the previous 30 years.

Jordan Love will make his first professional start on Sunday.

He’ll be the team’s eighth starting quarterback since Brett Favre was acquired in 1992.

That is easily the lowest number of starting quarterbacks in the NFL at that time.

November 4, 2021 — Field Yates (@FieldYates)

Whatever you think of the Packers’ policy of using a high draft selection on a future quarterback while keeping a good veteran on the roster, it has resulted in the greatest consistency at the most important position in football over the previous three decades.

Love will be the ninth Packers starter since Brett Favre was acquired in 1992 when he takes his debut snap against the Chiefs.

This is four less than the New York Giants and five fewer than the New England Patriots, who have had a single quarterback for the last two decades.

Who else has started games for Green Bay since 1992 except Favre, Rodgers, and Love?

Before Favre took over in 1992, Don “Magic Man” Majkowski started the first three games of the season. Until Rodgers took over in 2008, no other Packers quarterback had ever touched the ball to open a game. Since then, four quarterbacks have had to fill in for Rodgers, who has been sidelined with an injury. Matt Flynn (2010, 2011, 2014), Scott Tolzien (2014), Seneca Wallace (2014), and Brett Hundley (2014) were the signal-callers (2017).

Love now has the opportunity to secure his place as one of sports’ most respected players. He and the Packers’ brass are undoubtedly hoping that this is just the start of a multi-decade run. As it was with the two legends who had previously occupied the role.

Pro Football Reference provided all stats.

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