“The present is such a gift to be able to stay in the moment and to have gratitude for being in this situation again, and being with the guys and having fans in our stadium and maybe snow in an NFC Championship Game,” he continued. “I’m going to enjoy these moments for sure, and just not worry about what happens down the line.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity again to be leading these guys, to have played the way I want to play, to be called upon for a greater leadership role. Those things are really, really important to me.”
His teammates can’t help but notice, too. Rodgers is one of only two players (kicker Mason Crosby is the other) on the Packers’ active roster to have played in a Super Bowl, so his level of leadership naturally rises in times like these.
“He’s really the guy leading the charge,” center Corey Linsley said. “Leading us and keeping our eye on the prize … because he has that wisdom. He knows what it takes to get there. He knows what it takes week in and week out to continue on that journey.”
Standing in that path to the Super Bowl now is the quarterback who has played in more of them than any other, Tom Brady.
Rodgers has never looked at QB matchups as the head-to-head confrontations frequently portrayed in the media, but he understands the storyline when two future Hall of Famers at the game’s most spotlighted position take the field together.
Back in the spring, when Brady left New England and signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent, the thought certainly crossed Rodgers’ mind that they’d be adversaries again, and perhaps with some high stakes. They had only crossed paths twice (in 2014 and ’18) until this year, when they met a third time in October and now again in by far their most significant showdown.