By Drew Olson Special to Published Nov 13, 2006 at 5:29 AM Photography: Allen Fredrickson
A lot of very intelligent sports observers that I know and respect a great deal tell me that the Packers need to plan for the future and find out once and for all whether Aaron Rodgers will be a capable or even serviceable successor to legendary quarterback Brett Favre.

This tribe of pundits, which includes my colleague Dave Begel, can construct a compelling case -- based on recent NFL history and sound management principles -- to bolster their argument and I see merit in their reasoning.

I’m just not buying it.

Did you watch the game Sunday?

Did you see Favre shred Minnesota’s defense for 347 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions en route to a 23-17 victory in a building that once tormented him?

Did you watch him sidestep persistent pressure from a stout defense and throw laser beams around the Metrodome, racking up a 100 passer rating and ratcheting up Donald Driver’s endorsement fee at the same time?

Did he look like a guy who is finished?

Just past his 37th birthday, Favre remains an elite performer at the NFL’s most important position. He seems to have been rejuvenated under first-year coach Mike McCarthy and shows no signs of slowing down.

The Packers’ first scoring drive, which ended in a field goal by Ryan Longwell’s promising replacement, Dave Rayner, proved that Favre can still make the magic. The Packers faced third and long three times and Favre -- who looks spry and oily in the pocket -- avoided pressure and completed passes to Driver of 27, 22 and 20 yards.

The turning point of the game came at the end of the first half, when Favre hit Driver for a slant and the receiver sprinted for an 82-yard touchdown that gave Green Bay confidence and momentum to go along with a 17-14 halftime lead.

We’re as tired as everyone else is of the "look how much fun Favre is having" reaction shot, but when Favre sprinted down the field to celebrate with Driver in the end zone he didn’t look like a guy ready to start planning a retirement speech.

There were shots of Rodgers on the bench, too, wearing a broad grin beneath his baseball cap and headset.

Rodgers is an intelligent, pleasant guy and he seems to have a bright future in the NFL. But, his time hasn’t arrived yet. Although it seems unfathomable given the consecutive-starts streak that reached 250 (including playoffs), Favre could suffer an injury in the coming weeks, perhaps one that would prompt him to consider quitting.

I don’t think Rodgers sits around daydreaming about such an occurrence, though.

Despite the case presented by futurists and Favre-bashers, it’s just hard for me to believe that Rodgers is getting a raw deal. He knew when the Packers drafted him that there was a Hall of Famer ahead of him on the depth chart. He’s making good money and paying his dues, like a lot of people do in other careers.

To his credit, Rodgers hasn’t complained about his situation at all. That’s probably because he can look in the mirror each day and know that he is not -- at present -- the quarterback who gives the Packers their best chance to win.

Favre is, and it looks as though he will be for some time.

If Rodgers feels the slightest bit sorry for himself, maybe he could check in with Mark Brunell, Aaron Brooks, Ty Detmer, Matt Hasselbeck and other previous Favre understudies who have gone on to varying levels of success in the league.

Rodgers’ day will come. He’ll get a chance to perform and he’ll be judged on his own merits, although the idea of following a legend could make things tougher.

Until that time, he should just do what millions of Packers fans have been doing for 15 years: watch Favre play and enjoy the show.
Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.