Faces of the NFC North

With our faces of NFL franchises series entering it’s second week, it is time to look at the faces of the NFC North, one in which one face of the franchise has taken a major knock in the last few days.

Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers

Once the understudy of future Hall of Fame player Brett Favre, Rodgers has established a career that will see him enshrined in the halls of Canton. Rodgers is a Super Bowl winner, Super Bowl MVP, and league MVP along with holding several records in relation to his passing. His importance to the team was shown last season when he missed seven games with a broken collarbone. The Packers only went on to win one of those games and stumbled into the final must-win game, where Rodgers returned to lead the team into the playoffs. He has shown an ability to win and even has an often copied touchdown celebration. While Rodgers is the unquestioned face of the franchise, Clay Matthews has the personality, impact, and golden locks to fall into second place.

Detroit Lions: Calvin Johnson

Selected second in the 2007 NFL Draft (Oakland must still be stinging from that), the wide receiver from Georgia Tech has surpassed all receivers before him. After his rookie contract, Johnson was given a mega 8-year $132 million contract in 2012 and he has so far earned every cent of the contract. He broke the league receiving record in 2012, missing out on the 2000-yard mark by just 36 yards. He has appeared on the cover of Madden and broke the Madden curse. Johnson has proven time and time again that he is impossible to stop and must be double covered and even triple covered at all times. While some would argue that Matt Stafford should be in this position, he walks in the shadow of “Megatron.”

Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler

Cutler does not fit into the archetype of face of the franchise, as he usually appears selfish in his actions. Originally drafted by the Denver Broncos, Cutler demanded a trade in 2009 after a change in management in Denver. After costing the Bears two first-round picks and a third rounder along with fellow quarterback Kyle Orton, the investment made him the face of the team. This investment was further cemented earlier this year when he signed a 7-year $126 million contract. It remains to be seen if Cutler can live up to this mammoth contract. The next man up would be running back Matt Forte, but with the death of the star running back fast approaching, this may be short-lived.

Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson (conditional)

When the news of Peterson’s indictment broke on Friday, his status as the face of the Vikings came into doubt. Before Friday, Peterson was the inspiration for the series, a face that a team could not do without, and the player whose jersey was worn all over the world (here in Ireland it is the only Vikings jersey you see). Indeed, his jersey is routinely in the top five in sales domestically in the United States. He has the large 6-year $86 million contract, and he even had his likeness on every image of the new Vikings stadium. He was a league MVP, almost broke the league rushing record a year removed from major knee surgery for a torn ACL, and he was touted as a first ballot Hall of Fame candidate. All of this is now on hold, as the team has had to scramble for damage control, deactivating him from Sunday’s game and discussing his future as you read this. Fans reportedly turned up with his jersey on inside out, waiting to see what others were doing on game day. This has shaken the franchise to its core.

While Peterson’s future is being decided, let us look at the potential replacement. Cordarrelle Patterson has shown that he has the personality and skills to be a face of this team. He is known for his childlike playfulness, riding a child’s tricycle through the stadium, high-fiving the officials, and bribing Matt Cassel with cookies for more throws his way. He also happens to be one of the best kick returners in the league right now and he is expected to have a breakout year as a receiver.

Previous Articles in the Series

Being an NFL Face of a Franchise

Faces of the NFC East

 

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