Proof the Green Bay Packers Have Wasted QB Aaron Rodgers’ Prime

FiveThirtyEight analysis shows Rodgers should have been to more Super Bowls by now.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers passes against the Carolina Panthers. (Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)

Many observers outside of Green Bay may have been shocked by coach Mike McCarthy’s recent ouster, but it may have been a case of simple mathematics.

Having an all-time great quarterback in Aaron Rodgers should have added up to more than one Super Bowl appearance — at least that’s the conclusion reached by a FiveThirtyEight analysis.

“All told, it remains mystifying that a quarterback of Rodgers’s stature hasn’t won more frequently,” writes author Neil Paine. “If we run a simple logit regression between a QB’s Yards Above Backup in a season and whether his team made the Super Bowl, we’d expect Rodgers to have made 1.86 Super Bowls in his career through 2017 — roughly twice as many as he’s actually been to.

“Meanwhile, other contemporary QBs — such as Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and even Brady — have gone to more than twice as many Super Bowls as we’d expect from their individual stats.”

But the numbers show that the problems can’t just be traced to McCarthy or the play of No. 12. Former GM Ted Thompson has a particularly bad run in the 2014 and 2015 drafts — with only three picks from those two years still on the roster.

The site uses an Elo ranking to project the differential between a team or player and the NFL average (1500 on the FiveThirtyEight scale) and found that while Rogers was a solid, not spectacular 16 points above an average QB, the rest of his team was a whopping 67 points below that baseline.

“That’s the worst they have been in Rodgers’s entire NFL career, and it isn’t especially close,” wrote Paine.

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