Did Packers draft Aaron Rodgers’ successor too soon?

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Green Bay: Did the Packers backstop Aaron Rodgers too soon?

1992: GM Ron Wolf trades a first-round pick to Atlanta for backup quarterback Brett Favre, a second-round pick in the 1991 draft.

2005: GM Ted Thompson uses a first-round pick on Cal QB Aaron Rodgers, with Favre, 35, having some prime years left.

2020: GM Brian Gutekunst trades up to use a first-round pick on Utah State QB Jordan Love, with Rodgers, 36, having some prime years left.

I sense a trend among the last three Green Bay franchise stewards.

Had I written live Thursday night, or even Friday morning, I’d have been highly critical of this. I’d have said the Packers should have sat at 30 in the first round and taken the best receiver (Michael Pittman? Tee Higgins?) available. And I’m absolutely not sure, still, that they shouldn’t have done that. The Packers have done a terrible job, capital T, in surrounding one of the great quarterbacks of recent times with receiving talent in mid and late-career (more on that later in the column). This was the second straight year that Gutekunst, with a major receiver need, didn’t draft a receiver at all, and didn’t sign a prime one in free agency.

But let’s look at the Love pick this way: Rodgers turns 37 in December. He told me in 2018 he wanted to play till he was 40 if he could continue to meet the athletic demands of the position. “My goal is to be able to move like I do or close to how I do and still be able to do that at 40 . . . just because nobody’s been able to do that,” he said. He’d be near the end of his fourth season from now when he turns 40. What’s the worst thing that happens if Rodgers is a top-five quarterback for the Packers for the next four years? Green Bay, maybe, pulls a Garoppolo and deals Love for what it can get in 2023. If Rodgers, motivated by this cattle-prod of a draft pick, plays great for the next four years and Love never gives Green Bay anything but a future second or third-round pick, that would mean Green Bay bought an insurance policy for Rodgers that it never had to cash in. And if Rodgers continues to be great, Gutekunst said Sunday, regardless of the Love pick, “That’d be great for the Packers.”

Of course, there are other angles to consider. Rodgers is a prickly guy at times, and whenever the team gets ready to practice or play, how he accepts this new reality as the leader of the team will be something to monitor. Could Rodgers think second-year head coach Matt LaFleur is not as all-in on him for the future as he thought? And if the Packers are going to exercise Love’s fifth-year option—likely to be around $22 million in 2024 if he doesn’t play much in the next three seasons—aren’t they going to want to see something from Love on the field before then?

Gutekunst told me Sunday that the Packers didn’t enter the draft thinking they’d pick Love; he thought Love might be gone in the teens or early twenties. But they had him ranked so well on their board that once he started falling through the twenties, he became a target. With significant intel that a team drafting high in the second round—perhaps Indianapolis, at 34—was trying to trade up for Love, Gutekunst felt he had to trade up to have a chance at Love. He traded up four slots, with Miami.

“I’m very hopeful Aaron continues to play at a high level for years to come,” Gutekunst said. “I know a lot of people are saying this puts a clock on Aaron, but I don’t see that at all. We prioritize the quarterback position, and have for a long time with this franchise. I remember one year in camp they had Brett Favre, Ty Detmer, Kurt Warner and maybe Mark Brunell. It’s one of the most important positions in sports, and if you don’t have one, you can’t win.”

Gutekunst, like Wolf and Thompson, views the draft as a continuum. As they did, he’s concerning himself with 2028 as well as 2021. Again: You can differ with his thought process and the major receiver he could have addressed with the 30th pick. But the importance of the position, to Gutekunst, overrode that.

“Ron traded a one in 1992 for Brett, who’d been a second-round pick and wasn’t even starting for Atlanta,” Gutekunst said. “Imagine the media fervor if that happened today. I believe if you’re going to sit in this chair, you have to accept that you’ll be heavily criticized. I watched my father go through it [John Gutekunst was the head coach at the University of Minnesota in the eighties] as a college coach. I know what Ted went through in 2008 with Brett. But I’m trying to do the right thing for the organization. That’s my sole focus.”

One last note: Gutekunst said the Packers had two receivers they were targeting in early and middle part of the second round. They tried to move up with several teams, he said, until the second receiver they preferred got picked, and then they stopped. Seven wideouts went in the first 27 picks of the second round; Green Bay, with the 62nd overall pick, took running back A.J. Dillon. Not good. As much as the draft pick itself, the price for Love included not addressing that big need at receiver. We’ll see if that comes back to haunt the team this year or next.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.

How to watch the 2023 NFL honors: TV, live stream info, date, awards, location, and more

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The 12th annual NFL Honors will take place this Thursday, February 9 at Symphony Hall in Phoenix, Arizona–just a few days shy of Super Bowl 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Live coverage begins at 9 PM ET on NBC and Peacock. Coverage will also be available on NFL Network. See below for additional information on how to watch the 2023 NFL Honors.

RELATED: How to Watch Super Bowl 2023 – Philadelphia Eagles vs Kansas City Chiefs

What is the NFL Honors?

The NFL Honors recognizes the league’s best performances, plays, and athletes form the 2022 season. This year’s celebration will be particularly special as Kelly Clarkson–an Emmy and Grammy award winning artist–will be the first woman to host the show.

What awards are presented at the NFL Honors?

  • Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year
  • Best Moment of the Year
  • NFL Fan of the Year
  • AP Most Valuable Player
  • AP Coach of the Year
  • AP Comeback Player of the Year
  • AP Offensive Player of the Year
  • AP Defensive Player of the Year
  • AP Offensive Rookie of the Year
  • AP Defensive Rookie of the Year
  • NFL Inspire Change Tribute
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023
  • FedEx Air & Ground Players of the Year
  • Salute to Service Award
  • Bud Light Celly of the Year
  • Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award
  • Deacon Jones Sack Leader Award
  • AP Assistant Coach of the Year

How to watch the 2023 NFL Honors:

  • Date: Thursday, February 9
  • Location: Symphony Hall in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Time: 9 PM ET
  • TV Channel: NBC and NFL Network
  • Live Stream: Peacock

Everything you need to know about Super Bowl 2023:

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL season and playoffs, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

 

Eagles Super Bowl history: When is the last time Philadelphia made it to, won the Super Bowl?

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After a dominant 31-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, the Eagles are vying to earn their first Super Bowl win since the 2017 season, when they defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

Jalen Hurts and the Birds will go head-to-head with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 2023. Find out how to watch below as well as a full breakdown of the Eagles’ Super Bowl history. Click here for a look back on the Eagles’ journey to football’s biggest game of the year.

RELATED: 2023 NFL Playoffs Schedule – Bracket, game dates, times and TV networks

Eagles total Super Bowl wins

One (2017 season). The Eagles have won one of their three Super Bowl appearances in franchise history. The Eagles appeared in four pre-merger NFL championship games, where they won three of them (1948, 1949 and 1960).

Most recent Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl appearance

  • 2017 season: Defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII

The Eagles were victorious in their last Super Bowl appearance. The victory was a redemption 13 years in the making, after the Eagles lost to Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX in the 2004 season, 24-21.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023: Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

Philadelphia Eagles most recent Super Bowl win

That 2017 appearance was of course Philadelphia’s most recent Super Bowl triumph, and one of the most memorable Super Bowls in history. The game is most remembered for the heroics of quarterback Nick Foles, who stepped in late in the season to replace the injured Carson Wentz, and for Foles’ catch on the trick play known as the “Philly Special.”

Eagles Super Bowl history

  • 1980 season: Lost Super Bowl XV vs the Oakland Raiders, 27-10
  • 2004 season: Lost Super Bowl XXXIX vs the New England Patriots, 24-21
  • 2017 season: Won Super Bowl LII vs the New England Patriots, 41-33

How can I watch and live stream Super Bowl 2023?

  • When: Sunday, February 12, 2023
  • Where: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
  • TV Channel: FOX
  • Follow along with ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports for NFL news, updates, scores, injuries, and more

RELATED: Who is playing in Super Bowl 2023?

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

RELATED: 2023 NFL Playoffs scores: Final bracket, recaps, results for every AFC and NFC postseason game


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

What devices are compatible with Peacock?

Peacock is available on a variety of devices. See the full list here.

In addition to Sunday Night Football, what else can I watch with Peacock Premium?

Premium is your key to unlocking everything Peacock has to offer. You’ll get access to all the live sports and events we have, including Premier League and WWE Premium Live Events like WrestleMania. You’ll also get full seasons of exclusive Peacock Original series, next-day airings of current NBC and Telemundo hits, plus every movie and show available on Peacock. There is always something new to discover on Peacock Premium.