The Green Bay Packers are on a lengthy trek back to hoisting another Lombardi trophy.
Clay Matthews isn’t betting against Aaron Rodgers making another Super Bowl appearance before it’s all said and done.
The Green Bay Packers might be a little far off from being Super Bowl contenders next season, but as history has shown, that relies heavily on the performance of Rodgers.
Since winning the Super Bowl in 2010, the Packers have failed to make another appearance. But Matthews doesn’t expect that trend to continue.
Matthews, who was along for the ride during the 2010 Super Bowl journey, isn’t concerned about Rodgers reaching that mountaintop again, and although he won’t go so far as to call him underrated, he does recognize that Rodgers originated some of the things younger quarterbacks are doing today.
“I’m privy to a lot of stuff people don’t see, and he was looking off defenders with no-look passes before [Patrick] Mahomes was,” Matthews said. “He does some pretty innovative stuff. The way he’s able to move around the pocket and create plays is truly remarkable.”
Rodgers has long been praised for his on-the-fly playmaking ability when the stakes are at their highest, so it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that the two-time league MVP perfected the no-looker before Mahomes stepped onto the scene.
Matthews also talked about the frustrations he felt throughout the season of figuring out what constitutes as a clean hit on the quarterback. After the NFL implemented new rules to protect the quarterback even more, Matthews found himself flagged almost weekly for roughing the passer calls.
“I felt like early in the year the pendulum swung in the complete opposite direction,” Matthews said. “You couldn’t even touch the quarterback without the referee coming in. I realize [quarterbacks] generate business, people want to see touchdowns and elite quarterbacks play, but we’ve got a job to do too.”
Matthews, who is partnering with Verizon for the “Team That Wouldn’t Be Here” campaign that sheds light on what First Responders do on a daily basis for people in need, wouldn’t be the only one to say that sometimes referees are a little overzealous when it comes to throwing the flag. In fact, there are times when a flag should be thrown in crucial moments.
Take the infamous call in the NFC Championship just two weeks ago. Matthews, like many others, knows that was an egregious no-call that will warrant lots of conversations this offseason.
“People talk about the length of the game and how much it will slow it down, but when you’re looking at the implications of this game you look at this call and it falls outside the norm of expected human errors from referees,” Matthews said. “I don’t know how that works but I definitely think it’s something that gets talked about amongst coaches and competition committee to put rules in place to make the game fair.”
As far as who Matthews is taking to win Super Bowl LIII, he’s going with the safe bet. Even as an L.A. native, Matthews, like many around the league know, it’s hard to stop the dynasty that is the New England Patriots.