It took Brett Favre six trips to the Metrodome to beat the Vikings. It took him five trips to simply throw a touchdown pass. It took seven trips to finally throw for 200 yards.
Rodgers doesn't have the luxury of similar struggles, at least if the Packers have designs on turning this season into something special. The winner of Sunday's game at the Metrodome will be 5-4, and either one game behind or tied with the Chicago Bears (who host undefeated Tennessee) for the NFC North lead. The loser will be 4-5 and in third place.
It took Favre most of his career to solve the Metrodome curse. He dropped seven of his first eight and nine of his first 11 decisions in Minneapolis.
"It is bad memories for me," Favre said before last year's game, in which he broke Dan Marino's NFL record for career touchdown passes in a 23-16 victory. "We've won some games there recently; we've had some chances to win other games, but it's been a difficult place to play. They've always played tough against us. They've played tough against me. I consider it one of the greatest challenges I face every year. The year we won the Super Bowl, we lost there. Even in good seasons, it has been a bad memory for us, so every time I go there, I can't say I'm overly excited about it, but I consider it a great challenge."
Asked this week about Favre's Metrodome role reversal — the Packers are 4-1 in their last five treks to Minneapolis — Rodgers said Favre never shared those secrets.
While it's simplistic, here's the big reason: In his first 11 games at the Metrodome, Favre threw 12 touchdown passes against 16 interceptions. In this last five games, an older, wiser and more patient Favre threw 12 touchdown passes (at least two in every game) and just two interceptions (none in his final three games).
Rodgers, with just five interceptions in eight games, was so engrossed in getting ready for Sunday's game that he didn't watch any coverage from Tuesday's election.
"They're paying me to play football, not talk politics," Rodgers joked on Wednesday.
The biggest obstacle for any road team — especially one playing in a dome — is crowd noise. The Metrodome is one of the loudest buildings in the NFL, though some of that is tempered in this rivalry because so many Packers fans make the trek west. Still, Rodgers and Co. know what awaits them. That puts a premium on nonverbal communication, though that's something that deserted the offense a couple of times last week at Tennessee.
"An offense that's communicating well can thrive in that environment," Rodgers said.
Another way to silence the crowd is to ride a solid running game, and that's just what the Packers did in 1997, when Favre finally won at the Metrodome. Favre barely completed 50 percent of his passes and threw for just 198 yards. But Favre threw no interceptions, and Dorsey Levens rushed for 108 yards.
No doubt, the Packers will take their chances if Rodgers throws for 198 yards and no interceptions and Ryan Grant rushes for 108 yards.
"It's a swing game for both of us," Rodgers said, "and we need to go in there and play our best game of the season."
Brett Favre at the Metrodome
1992 — L, 27-7; Favre: 23-for-35, 187 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs.
1993 — L, 15-13; Favre: 20-for-31, 150 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs.
1994 — L, 13-10; Favre: 6-for-10, 32 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT.
1995 — L, 27-24; Favre: 17-for-30, 177 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs.
1996 — L, 30-21; Favre: 14-for-27, 198 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT.
1997 — W, 27-11; Favre: 15-for-29, 196 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs.
1998 — L, 28-14; Favre: 31-for-39, 303 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT.
1999 — L, 24-20; Favre: 22-for-39, 229 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs.
2000 — W, 33-28; Favre: 26-for-38, 290 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs.
2001 — L, 35-13; Favre: 21-for-35, 169 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT.
2002 — L, 31-21; Favre: 24-for-43, 296 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs.
2003 — W, 30-27; Favre: 18-for-28, 194 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT.
2004 — W, 34-31; Favre: 30-for-43, 365 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT.
2005 — L, 23-20; Favre: 28-for-36, 315 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs.
2006 — W, 23-17; Favre: 24-for-42, 247 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs.
2007 — W, 23-16; Favre: 32-for-45, 344 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs.
Totals: 6-10 record; 351-for-550 (63.8 percent), 3,692 yards (230.8 yards per game), 24 TDs, 18 INTs, 84.1 rating.
Bill Huber is the Lead Analyst for Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rodgers Gets His Shot at the Metrodome
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