He does his best to shrug off the notion but, whether it is fair or not, Aaron Rodgers has been living in his predecessor's shadow.
From the moment he was selected by Ted Thompson with the 24th pick in the 2005 Draft, Rodgers has been measured against Brett Favre. His abilities have been compared to Favre's. His shortcomings have been contrasted against Favre's. His minor injuries during his time as Favre's understudy were considered a knock on the youngster when compared to Favre's iron man ability.
When he finally got his chance to perform, he had to do so under the most uncomfortable of circumstances. He took the field to boos from the home fans. He saw the signs in the stands during training camp, reminding him that the Packers were still Favre's team.
Everywhere he turned, there was someone reminding him about what Favre did and how he wasn't Favre.
The comparison's will continue today -- you've heard by now that Favre and Rodgers were both 27 years old when they first took their team to the Super Bowl -- but no matter what happens when Rodgers and the Packers face the Steelers, such discussion should stop tonight.
As much as Rodgers is no Favre, Favre is no Rodgers. Rodgers, though a passionate competitor, doesn't play with the same sense of reckless abandon that defined Favre's early years. You don't get the sense with Rodgers that he'll try to single-handedly win a game late with a bad pass into double coverage.
Rodgers doesn't make the gossip pages. You don't hear tales of him spending his nights raising hell at Milwaukee bars. He dresses in the locker room. He bonds with his teammates.
He's a leader, on and off the field.
The best part of this? Rodgers is just getting started. He's 27. This is only his third season as a starter. The guy is still learning, growing and improving. Thompson has built a team poised for long-term success and he's built it around Rodgers.
Favre is gone. Long gone. The divorce is final. The papers signed. The settlement fulfilled. The man turned his back on the franchise and fans and whatever kiss-and-make-up plan is in the works, should be put on hold for years to come.
This is Rodgers' time. This is Rodgers' team. Enjoy it.