Of the tired Bay Area sports proclamations, “The 49ers should’ve drafted Aaron Rodgers over Alex Smith” ranks somewhere between “Jed York is in over his head” and “Jim Harbaugh should’ve never been fired.”
We’ve watched Rodgers go on to be a two-time NFL MVP and a Super Bowl champion. Meanwhile, Smith, who was selected with the No. 1 selection in the 2005 draft, was traded for picks that inevitably turned into Tank Carradine (career numbers: 39 tackles, 4 sacks) Corey Lemonier (37 tackles, 1 sack) and Chris Borland (107 tackles before retiring after just one season).
The Niners will always be beaten up for botching that pick. And Rodgers apparently has no interest in letting them off the hook.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback said on Bill Simmons’ new HBO show, Any Given Wednesday, that Smith got the nod from then head coach Mike Nolan because he proved to be a true gentleman.
“The story that I heard, and I don’t know if it’s true or not, was that Mike Nolan said that when he saw Alex open the car door for his mom, he knew that was the quarterback he wanted,” Rodgers revealed.
“I just laugh at stories like that because it has nothing to do with being a quarterback.”
Rodgers didn’t have to regale us with this story, and we don’t know if it’s true in any way. But it is a good tale, and his telling of it proves he thought the Niners’ process was stupid.
Another poignant lesson, delivered masterfully from one of America’s favorite sports heroes: Harbor resentment as long as you can and you, too, could be a beloved athlete. (See also: Jordan, Michael.)
HOW THEY STACK UP
Pro Football Focus ranked the 49ers’ and Raiders’ respective units among the 32 teams in the NFL:
Quarterback situation: 49ers — 31st; Raiders — 11th
Offensive lines: 49ers — 26th; Raiders — 2nd
Running backs: 49ers — 18th; Raiders — 24th
Receiving corps: 49ers — 31st; Raiders — 18th
Defensive front sevens: 49ers — 23rd; Raiders — 5th
Cornerback groups: 49ers — 14th; Raiders — 12th
Secondaries: 49ers — 17th; Raiders — 9th