Aaron Rodgers

49ers would have won Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers, Stephen A. Smith says

49ers would have won Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers, Stephen A. Smith says

Stephen A. Smith did the thing.

Here we are in late June, and the 49ers continue to have a media-manipulated quarterback controversy. Smith continued it Monday by saying the 49ers would have beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV if Aaron Rodgers were their QB instead of Jimmy Garoppolo. 

"If Aaron Rodgers was the quarterback in the Super Bowl instead of Jimmy Garoppolo, the San Francisco 49ers are the champions right now," Smith said on ESPN's "First Take." "They're the champions right now. With those weapons, with Aaron Rodgers? They're the champions."

This came in response to Domonique Foxworth saying Rodgers and the 49ers would be a "match made in heaven." 

"I know San Francisco has Jimmy Garoppolo, but that's a situation where I think Aaron Rodgers, given his history in California and the Bay Area, San Francisco could use Aaron Rodgers," Foxworth said. "He's not missing those spots, those passes that Garoppolo missed."

This isn't the first time Rodgers has been connected to the 49ers this offseason. Ever since the Green Bay Packers traded up to draft Utah State QB Jordan Love in April, many have questioned Rodgers' future. But it's unlikely to be in Santa Clara for the team that he grew up rooting for and then spurned him on his own draft now.

San Franciso smashed Rodgers, 37-20, in the NFC Championship Game and crushed him in the regular season as well. He was sacked eight times and intercepted twice in the two games. Obviously not all of that is Rodgers' fault. 

[RELATED: How Aiyuk's potential impact stacks up in rookie WR class]

Rodgers, 36, still is an elite QB. He also is an expensive one, and eight years older than Garoppolo. There's no arguing Garoppolo crumbled in the final six minutes of San Francisco's Super Bowl loss, however, he also isn't a scrub and had a heavy hand in the 49ers' successful season.

Any pipe dreams of Rodgers wearing a 49ers jersey likely are dead. Garoppolo is their quarterback now, and after an offseason of defending him, that easily can remain true for the future as well.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Aaron Rodgers shades Drew Brees, says NFL protests 'NEVER' about flag

Aaron Rodgers shades Drew Brees, says NFL protests 'NEVER' about flag

Hours after New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said he considered players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality against African Americans as "disrespecting the flag," a superstar peer not-so-subtly pushed back.

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers shared a picture of him and his teammates locking arms before a 2017 game, writing in an Instagram post on Wednesday that such demonstrations have "NEVER been about an anthem or a flag."

"Not then. Not now," Rodgers wrote. "Listen with an open heart, let’s educate ourselves, and then turn word and thought into action."

Yahoo Finance asked Brees earlier Wednesday if he would support players kneeling in protest during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" this season, as demonstrators around the world protest police brutality in the aftermath of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man who was unarmed, dying in Minneapolis police custody last Monday. Brees, echoing comments he made four years ago when former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first sat then kneeled during the national anthem before games, said he will "never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America, or our country."

Rodgers did not directly mention Brees, but the Saints signal-caller faced widespread rebuke Wednesday.

Star 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman called Brees "beyond lost." Michael Thomas, the Saints' best receiver and Brees' top target, didn't mention Brees by name on Twitter, but it was clear who he was referring to in a pair of tweets.

Malcolm Jenkins, who previously raised a fist during the national anthem, co-founded the Players Coalition in 2017 and signed with the Saints this offseason, said Brees is "part of the problem" with his "hurtful" and "insensitive" comments.

Just eight of the NFL's 32 starting quarterbacks are African American. After Carson Wentz, Ryan Tannehill and 2020 No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow spoke up following Floyd's death, Sherman said it was important for white QBs to speak out against police brutality and institutional racism because their voices "carry different weight than the black voices for some people." Just before Brees spoke, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said he would stop "sticking to sports."

[RELATED: Poole writes Brees revealed he's part of problem, not solution]

A day before his comments about the flag, Brees posted a black square on his Instagram page as part of #BlackoutTuesday. The social-media campaign initially was intended for members of the music industry to "disconnect from work and reconnect with our community" but later spread to celebrities, influencers and everyday users intending to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Scores of users initially posted with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, obscuring posts that #BlackoutTuesday participants hoped to elevate.

Brees used the proper hashtag Tuesday, but his understanding of his protesting peers' goals is now in question.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Ranking five recent 49ers opponents that fans love to hate the most

Ranking five recent 49ers opponents that fans love to hate the most

Like any fan base, those who follow the 49ers know how to hold a grudge.

Maybe it’s therapeutic. Or, more likely, it’s not healthy at all. In some instances, it’s completely irrational, too.

We canvassed 49ers fans to find the players you “love to hate.” Some expressed their distastes of Joe Flacco and Patrick Mahomes and the roles they played in beating the 49ers in Super Bowls. Others went more old school with Dallas Cowboys such as Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and, even, Alvin Harper.

Former Green Bay Packers edge rusher Clay Matthews got multiple mentions, stemming from a late hit on Colin Kaepernick and subsequent scuffle with Joe Staley in 2013.

Here are five others – four players and one coach – whose names came up more than the others: