Aaron Rodgers is a Northern California kid. The Chico native played at Butte College and Cal before starting an illustrious NFL career with the Green Bay Packers, so he’ll enjoy some hometown support during Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.
Beating the 49ers would vault Rodgers into his second Super Bowl appearance, an ideal scenario after a few years left outside the playoff picture.
Even still, this isn’t how he originally dreamed it up. As a kid living in 49ers country with grand aspirations, Rodgers thought he’d be helping his home team.
“I usually dreamed about playing for the 49ers as a kid,” Rodgers said in his Wednesday press conference. “Obviously, that thing passed a long time ago. But I do remember some great games over the years between the 49ers and the Packers, including [one] in this situation.”
The Packers and 49ers have quite a playoff history. There’s only one NFC Championship Game in their postseason series, a seven-game set all played since 1996. The 49ers are 3-4 in those playoff meetings, but have beaten Rodgers both times they’ve met in the postseason, including the 2013 encounter at Candlestick Park not too far from Rodgers' hometown.
His last time playing in North California didn’t go so well. The 49ers smashed Green Bay 37-8 back in Week 12, after which Rodgers told 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo they’d meet again. Rodgers learned a lot about the 49ers then and is looking forward to the rematch.
“You realize, playing against them, how good they are,” Rodgers said. “At the time, they had a two-game lead plus the tiebreaker. Just calculating things in my head, I figured that if we made a run, we’d probably have to beat them at their place at some point. And, sure enough, we’re back there, needing a win to get to the Super Bowl.”
Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 8 p.m. Wednesday and Friday)
Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.