After an offseason of will-they-or-won’t-they drama, Aaron Rodgers returned to the Green Bay Packers. Thus far, the reunion has benefited both parties. The Packers have a league-best 12-3 record, and it’s hard to think of a better Super Bowl-contending squad Rodgers could play for.
By sticking together, Rodgers and the front office crafted a beautiful regular season and made some history along the way. On Christmas Day at Lambeau Field, Rodgers became the Green Bay Packers’ all-time passing touchdown leader, breaking Brett Favre‘s previous record of 442. After failing to connect with Allen Lazard late in a narrow victory over the Baltimore Ravens, the talk of the week was who would catch the record-breaking pass on Christmas. It turns out it would be Lazard, just a week later.
“My reaction was just like, ‘Oh shit, I caught it,’” Lazard said following the game.
“To throw 443 on double-stick, one of the first concepts I learned as a rookie in this offense, is pretty cool,” Rodgers noted following the Christmas victory over the Cleveland Browns. “I’ve had a long career, and to break a record like that on a simple play like that, a staple of the West Coast offense, is pretty cool.”
After 17 years in Green Bay, Rodgers has had several milestone moments. With help from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, let’s take a look at the journey to 443 (and beyond!).
First TD, Nov. 29, 2007 – Greg Jennings
Favre was known for his legendary grit and resilience. His record of 297 consecutive starts may never be broken. But no man, no matter how tenacious, can play forever. Favre was injured in a late-season tilt against the Dallas Cowboys, and the Packers got their first true meaningful snaps from his successor.
Rodgers entered the game and started his journey to 443 with an 11-yard pass to Greg Jennings. Despite the team’s loss, he played well, going 18/26 for 201 yards and the TD. Rodgers would have to wait until taking over the team in 2008 for his next touchdown.
100th TD, Oct. 9, 2011 – James Jones
By the time Rodgers threw his 100th touchdown pass, he was a well-established quarterback, coming off a Super Bowl MVP and on his way to his first league MVP award. TD No. 100 went to James Jones against the Atlanta Falcons, who burned his defender for 70 yards. Via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Jones famously heaved the milestone football into the stands.”
It might not have even been in the top five of Rodgers’ 45 passing touchdowns that season, but he wrote his own story as he was turning into the future Hall of Famer we see today.
200th TD, Oct. 2, 2014 – Davante Adams
In his next MVP season, Rodgers threw his next milestone pass to a young Davante Adams. Adams caught his first touchdown in a 42-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Little did Packers fans know the Rodgers-Adams connection would be a prolific part of their future for the next seven years. Adams broke Jordy Nelson‘s record for most TD receptions from Aaron Rodgers. He currently has 66 and no sign of slowing down. But it all started that innocuous October night.
300th TD: Sept. 17, 2017 – Ty Montgomery
Before a season-ending collarbone injury, Rodgers looked ready to light the league on fire in 2017. He got off to a strong start and made history in Week 12 against the Atlanta Falcons. On a short pass to hybrid WR/RB Ty Montgomery, Rodgers not only achieved his milestone but reached 300 faster than any QB in NFL history.
The Packers would lose the game, and the season’s 16 TDs would be a career-low since Rodgers took over as the starting QB. But he made history.
400th TD: Dec. 6, 2020 – Davante Adams
Another MVP season, another Aaron Rodgers milestone. The Packers dominated in the gold zone in 2020, and Rodgers threw a career-high 48 touchdowns. On a 99-yard drive against the Philadelphia Eagles, Rodgers and Adams made history again with a nine-yard grab. Like with No. 200, Rodgers reached 400 touchdowns faster than any other quarterback in league history (193 games).
Adams had come a long way since catching No. 200 and has fully established himself as the best wide receiver in the league. Yet it was he who bowed before Rodgers, offering the record-setting ball to his quarterback.
A year later, Rodgers would break franchise history with Allen Lazard on Christmas Day. Rodgers would break his own record later in the game, with Adams catching TDs 444 and 445. And Rodgers will break history with every score he throws until he leaves Green Bay.
By re-signing with the Packers, Rodgers was able to cement his legacy in Green Bay further. Rodgers’ team records may never be broken, but his future in Green Bay is uncertain. Until then, Rodgers will make Packers history every week, and fans are lucky to witness it.