Brett Favre officially has become an afterthought in Green Bay.
Aaron Rodgers has retired his predecessor from modern mindset. Not that anyone was missing Favre three seasons after he retired from the Packers only to hitch rides with the New York Jets and -- even worse -- the nemesis Minnesota Vikings. Favre became a villain in many Wisconsin homes where he was once worshipped. His recent third retirement following an alleged sexting scandal finally buries his legacy.
But Rodgers has definitely become more than the successor. He's not Brian Griese replacing John Elway or Mark Malone following Terry Bradshaw. Joe Theismann was a heck of a quarterback for the Washington Redskins, but following Sonny Jurgensen and Billy Kilmer was a tough act to follow.
Rodgers has a chance to match Favre's one Super Bowl title against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6. Favre certainly ranks among the NFL's legends, but the ring's the thing and Rodgers is favored to earn one in his third year as a starter.
Nobody's saying Rodgers is better than Favre or even his equal. That's crazy talk for now. Rodgers isn't even the best quarterback in the NFL. That's a Tom Brady-Peyton Manning-Drew Brees debate. Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger is gunning for his third Super Bowl crown and even he can't get into that discussion.
But Rodgers is nearing elite status with a 109.2 passer rating and eight touchdowns this postseason. Rodgers just won three road playoff games, which Jets passer Mark Sanchez couldn't do for the second straight year. Jurgensen's only playoff appearance was the final game of his Hall-of-Fame career, and he lost.
"There is a ladder that you have to climb," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "You have to first show that you belong as a starter. He definitely showed that in his first year. You have to win big games. He is a 4,000-yard, 30-touchdown-a-year quarterback. He is definitely in the upper echelon as far as the way he plays statistically.
"The next step is to win playoff games. He has accomplished that now. Now he gets the challenge to be a Super Bowl champion."
Rodgers wasn't a hotshot rookie who found immediately success. After slipping from top pick to No. 24 overall in 2005 NFL Draft, Rodgers spent three years behind Favre.
"The journey is the sweetest part," Rodgers said. "I've really enjoyed the route that I've been forced to be able to take in my career going all the way back to high school. Having to work for the success that I've achieved and never being complacent has made this whole journey that much more satisfying."
Fittingly, Rodgers' role model was Steve Young, who sat behind San Francisco legend Joe Montana. Young finally replaced Montana in 1991. In 1994 he won a Super Bowl.
"It's what I've dreamt about since I was a kid, growing up in Northern California watching Joe Montana and Steve Young when Joe moved on," Rodgers said. "This is what I always want to do."
Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more at TheRickSniderReport.com and on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.