Aaron Rodgers said he's "having a lot of fun" this season.
With a league-leading 40 touchdowns through 14 games, he heads into Sunday night's key interconference game against the visiting Titans as the only player in NFL history to have three seasons with 40 or more touchdown passes.
"It's obviously fun when you're winning," Rodgers said before the Packers beat the Panthers last weekend and moved atop the NFC with an 11-3 record. "But it can be fun if you're in the right head space, and I feel like I have been, really, since the offseason and COVID hit."
Not long after COVID-19 reached the United States, the Packers shocked the football world twice in a three-day NFL draft. First, they took quarterback Jordan Love in the first round. Then they didn't draft a receiver despite a huge need and perhaps the best receiver class to choose from ever.
Forty touchdowns — and counting — later, Rodgers and the Packers are laughing last.
Once upon a time, throwing for 40 touchdowns in a season was unheard of. Dan Marino was the first to do it when he threw for 48 in 1984, the NFL's 65th season.
Brett Favre's career high was 39. Joe Montana's was 31.
Fran Tarkenton's was 29 with the Giants in 1967. Terry Bradshaw won league MVP in 1978 when he threw a league- and career-high 28. Troy Aikman never threw more than 23.
So, yeah, the game has changed, and continues to.
Otto Graham reached 10 championship games in 10 seasons with the Browns. In 1952, he led the NFL in touchdowns with 20. He also led the league in interceptions with 24.
Forty touchdown passes has been reached 14 times. The only other players to do it at least twice are: Peyton Manning with a record 55 in 2013 and 49 in 2004; Drew Brees with 46 in 2011 and 43 in 2012; and Marino, who also threw 44 in 1986.
Rodgers threw 40 in 2016. In 2011, when he won league MVP, he threw 45 and finished second in touchdown passes behind Brees. Matthew Stafford (41) also topped 40 that year.
As the game has evolved and rules have been adopted to restrain defenders, interception totals also have fallen.
Among the players who have thrown at least 40 touchdown passes in a season, Manning's touchdown-to-interception differential of 45 (55-10) is the highest. Rodgers was plus-39 (45-6) in 2011, plus-33 in 2016 (40-7) and plus-36 (40-4) with two games left this season.
So, yeah, Aaron's having a lot of fun this year.