In recent years, the Green Bay Packers haven’t had to worry about the quarterback position.
Brett Favre, a three-time league MVP and nine-time Pro Bowl selection with the team, was a Green Bay Packer for 16 seasons, and when he left in 2008, was replaced by Aaron Rodgers – a four-time league MVP who was with the team for another 15 seasons.
Now, following Rodgers’ trade to the New York Jets in April, 24-year-old Jordan Love is the Packers’ new starting quarterback – and he’s not shying away from the responsibility of becoming the face of the franchise.
“The whole offseason, I approached it [as if] I’d be the starter,” Love said in May.
“I’m comfortable with [becoming the face of the franchise] – it’s obviously something I’m going to have to grow into.”
Green Bay’s players, and staff, have reinforced that everyone is behind their new starting quarterback, and even his head coach, Matt LaFleur, thought Love was carrying himself with a different “mojo” now he’s no longer the backup.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in him,” said LaFleur before adding: “I’m excited for him.”
But Love’s journey to one of the NFL’s most storied franchises hasn’t always been an easy one.
Born in Bakersfield, California in 1998, Love attended Liberty High School but was only the football team’s backup quarterback, believing his future may lie in basketball. However, his father, Orbin, dreamt that he would one day play the position, and after he passed away in 2013, Jordan focused on football in hopes of making his father’s wish come true.
However, it took some time.
Love didn’t win the starting spot until his junior (third) year at Liberty, but after throwing for 2,148 yards and 24 touchdowns and rushing for 806 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior, Love was offered a scholarship to Utah State University in 2015, and committed to play college football for the Utah State Aggies.
During his three seasons in Utah, Love played in 38 games from 2017 to 2019, throwing for 8,600 yards and 60 touchdowns, and ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft, was considered one of the best quarterbacks available. Projected to be drafted in one of the first two rounds, many were intrigued by Love’s potential – and some were equally as worried by how ‘raw’ the quarterback appeared to be.
As predicted, he was selected in the first round, but in one of the biggest shocks in NFL Draft history, the Green Bay Packers traded up to the 26th overall pick to select him – despite already having Aaron Rodgers on the roster.
Was history repeating itself? Rodgers was drafted as Brett Favre’s eventual replacement in 2005, something Favre was reportedly unhappy with, and similar rumours swirled around Green Bay after Love joined the team. So, just like Rodgers before him, Love had to sit and wait for his opportunity – while the veteran starter, now more determined than ever, was named league MVP and fell just one game short of a Super Bowl appearance.
After not seeing a single minute of action in the 2020 season, Love made his NFL debut when he replaced Rodgers towards the end of Green Bay’s 38-3 loss against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1 of the following season. He made his first NFL start in Week 9, after Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19, in a 13-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and threw his first-ever NFL touchdown pass after connecting with Allen Lazard in the fourth quarter. Rodgers soon returned, and Love once again became the understudy, appearing sparingly throughout the rest of the year and the 2022 season.
So when news of Aaron Rodgers’ trade broke, it signalled the end of an era and simultaneously, the start of a new one – with Jordan Love as starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.
Signing a one-year contract extension worth up to $22.5 million in early May that will keep him in Green Bay through the 2024 season, Love will have two years to prove he’s the team’s quarterback of the future – and the present – as his stats, three career touchdowns to three career interceptions, hardly tell the true story.
BREAKING: The @packers and quarterback Jordan Love have agreed to a one-year contract extension worth up to $22.5 million
— Decyfr Sport (@DecyfrSport) May 2, 2023
As they play in the smallest market in the NFL, quarterbacks are viewed differently in Green Bay, forging connections with the fans like no other – and the jerseys that pack Lambeau Field, with ‘Favre’ or ‘Rodgers’ on the back, are a testament to Packer fandom.
Perhaps soon, the new starting quarterback will be cheered on by a sea of Jordan Love jerseys.
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