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It had been believed for years that the problem
s between Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former Packers coach Mike McCarthy predated his hiring in 2006. The excellent story on more than a decade of Green Bay dysfunction from Tyler Dunne of reveals that it does.Dunne explains that Rodgers could never get over McCarthy’s role in Rodgers’ extended stay in the Radio City green room during the 2005 draft , when McCarthy served as the 49ers’ offensive coordinator, and when the 49ers picked Alex Smith over Rodgers.“Aaron’s always had a chip on his shoulder with Mike,” former Packers running back Ryan Grant told Dunne. “The guy who ended up becoming your coach passed on you when he had a chance Aaron was upset that Mike passed on him — that Mike actually verbally said that Alex Smith was a better quarterback.”So when McCarthy became the Green Bay coach in 2006, the notoriously sensitive Rodgers arrived at the relationship bearing a world-class grudge.“Nobody holds a grudge in any sport like Rodgers,” Dunne writes. “When it comes to Rodgers, grudges do not merrily float away. They stick. They grow. They refuel.”That grudge apparently influenced Rodgers’ opinions toward McCarthy for their entire time together. Per Dunne, a “person who was close to Rodgers” recalls that Rodgers “would regularly call to vent that McCarthy didn’t have a clue what he was doing.”“Mike has a low football IQ, and that used to always bother Aaron ,” the source told Dunne. “He’d say Mike has one of the lowest IQs, if not the lowest IQ, of any coach he’s ever had.鈥滵unne characterizes Rodgers as “conflict-averse” and “passive-aggressive to the extreme.” That dynamic became obvious during the 2016 season, when Rodgers complained about the lack of energy on the sideline (without pointing out the obvious fact that the sideline is controlled by McCarthy) and the lack of a healthy fear among players that failure to do their jobs will get them fired (without pointing out that such fear should be instilled by McCarthy). Rodgers specifically dismissed our analysis of his passive-aggressive power play as “crap,” but it clearly wasn’t.Unless Dunne’s reporting is crap. And it clearly isn’t. Yes, the 49ers will closely be watching Monday night’s Vikings-Seahawks game, for obvious reasons. But the Packers will closely be watching the game as well, for slightly less obvious reasons.If the Vikings lose to Seattle on Monday night , the Packers will have a clear and easy path to the NFC North title.It would give Green Bay a one-game lead, with four to play. And even if the Vikings beat Green Bay three weeks from tonight in Minnesota, the Packers would win the division by beating Washington this week, the Bears next week, and the Lions in Week 17 — even if the Vikings otherwise run the table.Under that scenario, the 12-4 Packers would take the division from the 12-4 Vikings based on the better division record (5-1 vs. 4-2), relegating Minnesota to the sixth seed and a potential reprise of the Vikings at Packers wild-card game from seven years ago.If the Vikings somehow win tonight, that all changes. The Vikings would then be wins over the Lions , Chargers, Packers, and Bears away from a division championship, a 13-3 record, possibly a bye, and maybe (depending on how everything else shakes out) the No. 1 seed.It underscores the significance of Monday night’s game and the wide-open nature of the top of the NFC. Although the five playoff teams other than the none-of-the-above NFC East champion seem to be coming into focus, seeding will be critical. And most of it remains to be determined.

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