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Aaron Rodgers: “This window is open for us”

Peter King shares what he learned from his conversations with Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur about the critical plays that gave the Packers a playoff win over the Seahawks.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is far closer to the end of his career than the beginning of it, and he seemed to be keenly aware of his football mortality last weekend, when the Packers advanced to what became his fourth career NFC Championship. But even that he’s now 1-3 in the game that has a Super Bowl berth riding on it, Rodgers expressed optimism about the future in Green Bay.

“The window is open for us, and that’s the exciting thing,” Rodgers told reporters after the 37-20 loss to the 49ers. “I think we’re gonna be on the right side of one of these real soon.”

He pointed to the moves made by G.M. Brian Gutenkunst and the willingness of coach Matt LaFleur to empower his players to lead. And even though the season ended in disappointment, Rodgers seems happy with the outcome.

“This one is special because it became fun again,” Rodgers said of the 2019 campaign. (This means that it wasn’t fun for him in prior seasons. Which further confirms that something significant was amiss in the latter years of the Mike McCarthy tenure, no matter how hard Rodgers may have tried to push back against that reality as it was unfolding.)

“I wouldn’t say this was our most talented team,” Rodgers added, “but neither was 2010. And we just found a way.”

In 2010, they found a way to win the Super Bowl, despite being the No. 6 seed. In 2019, they made it to the No. 2 seed, with a few screwy moments at the end of the 49ers-Seahawks regular-season finale keeping the Packers from being the No. 1 seed.

Rodgers acknowledged that plenty will happen between now and the start of the next season, and he emphasized that his teammates will do what they need to do to get ready for 2020. Still, at a time when many would regard 2019 as Rodgers’ last, best chance at adding a second Super Bowl win to his permanent record, he believes that it’s coming soon.