This Day in College Football History – December 2nd

Aaron Rodgers (born December 2, 1983) is a quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL). Rodgers played college football for the University of California, Berkeley, where he set several career passing records, including lowest single-season and career interception rates. He was selected in the first round (24th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Packers. After backing up Brett Favre for the first three years of his NFL career, Rodgers became the Green Bay Packers’ starting quarterback in 2008 and led them to a victory in Super Bowl XLV after the 2010 NFL season; Rodgers was named Super Bowl MVP. He was named Associated Press Athlete of the Year in 2011. As well as being voted league MVP after the 2011 NFL season. Rodgers has led the NFL twice in passer rating (2011, 2012), touchdown-to-interception ratio (2011, 2012), touchdown passing percentage (2011, 2012), and once each in yards per attempt (2011) and lowest passing interception percentage (2009).

Rodgers is the NFL’s all-time career leader in passer rating during the regular season with a rating of 104.9 and second all-time in the postseason with a rating of 103.1 (among passers with at least 1,500 and 150 pass attempts, respectively). He currently is the only quarterback to have a career passer rating of over 100.0 in the regular season as well as having the highest touchdown to interception ratio in NFL history. He also holds the league’s lowest career passing interception percentage for quarterbacks during the regular season at 1.8 percent and the single-season passer rating record of 122.5.

Rodgers was born in Chico in Butte County, California, the son of Darla Leigh and Edward Wesley Rodgers. Aaron’s father is a Texas-born chiropractor who played football as an offensive lineman for California State University, Chico, from 1973 to 1976. His ancestry includes English, Irish and German. Later, the family moved to Beaverton, Oregon, where Rodgers attended Vose Elementary School and Whitford Middle School, playing baseball in the Raleigh Hills Little League at shortstop, center field and pitcher. The Rodgers family returned to Chico in 1997, and Aaron attended Pleasant Valley High School, starting for two years at quarterback and garnering 4,421 passing yards. He set single-game records of six touchdowns and 440 all-purpose yards. Rodgers also set a single-season school record with 2,466 total yards in 2001. He graduated in the spring of 2002. Rodgers finished high school with a high grade-point average, variously reported as 3.6 (A-minus) or a “perfect” 4.0, and he scored well on his SAT, variously reported as 1300, 1310 and 1400.

After one year at Butte Community College, Rodgers received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where he played for the California Golden Bears football team from 2003 to 2004. Despite his record-setting statistics, Rodgers attracted little interest from Division I programs. In a 2011 interview with E:60, he attributed the relative lack of attention in the recruiting process to his unimposing physical stature as a high school player at 5’10 and 165 lb . Rodgers had wanted to attend Florida State University and play under Bobby Bowden, but was rejected. He garnered only an offer to compete for a scholarship as a walk-on from Illinois. He declined the invitation, and considered quitting football to study for law school.

He was then recruited to play football at Butte Community College in Oroville, a junior college about 15 miles southeast of Chico. Rodgers threw 26 touchdowns in his freshman season, leading Butte to a 10–1 record, the NorCal Conference championship, and a No. 2 national ranking. While there, he was discovered by the California Golden Bears’ head coach Jeff Tedford, who was recruiting Butte tight end Garrett Cross. Tedford was surprised to learn that Rodgers had not been recruited earlier. Because of Rodgers’ good high school scholastic record, he was eligible to transfer after one year of junior college instead of the typical two.

As a junior college transfer, Rodgers had three years of eligibility at Cal. He was named the starting quarterback in the fifth game of the 2003 season, coincidentally against the only team that offered him a Division I opportunity out of high school, Illinois. As a sophomore, he helped lead the Golden Bears to a 7–3 record as a starter. In his second career start, Rodgers led the team to a 21–7 halftime lead against USC (then ranked No. 3) before being replaced in the second half by Reggie Robertson due to injury. The Bears won in triple overtime, 34–31.[26] Rodgers passed for 394 yards and was named game MVP in the Insight Bowl against Virginia Tech. In 2003, Rodgers tied the school season record for 300-yard games with 5 and set a school record for the lowest percentage of passes intercepted at 1.43%.

As a junior, Rodgers led Cal to a 10–1 record and top-five ranking at the end of the regular season, with their only loss a 23-17 loss at No. 1 USC. In that game, Rodgers set a school record for consecutive completed passes with 26 and tied an NCAA record with 23 consecutive passes completed in one game. He set a Cal single-game record for passing completion percentage of 85.3. Rodgers holds the Cal career record for lowest percentage of passes intercepted at 1.95 percent. After Texas was picked over Cal for a Rose Bowl berth, the fourth-ranked Bears were awarded a spot in the Holiday Bowl, which they lost to Texas Tech, 45–31. After the season, Rodgers decided to forgo his senior season to enter the 2005 NFL Draft.

Randy Rhino born December 2, 1953 is a former an all-star defensive back in the Canadian Football League. A graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, he played with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. He began his pro career in the World Football League (WFL), playing for the Charlotte Hornets in 1975, where he intercepted three passes (one for a touchdown), caught one pass on offense for a touchdown, and returned punts and kickoffs. He joined the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and played 74 games over five seasons (1976 to 1980) and . He intercepted 18 passes and returned them for 404 yards, was an all star twice, and won a Grey Cup in 1977. He joined the Ottawa Rough Riders for one season, 1981, and was again an all star.  In 2002 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Willie Brown  (born December 2, 1940) is a football executive and former player and coach. He played as a cornerback for the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders. Following his playing career, Brown remained with the Raiders as an assistant coach. He served as the head football coach at California State University, Long Beach in 1991, the final season before the school’s football program was terminated. Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1984. He is currently on the administrative staff of the Raiders.

Brown played college football at Grambling State University and was not drafted by any professional team after leaving school in 1963. He was signed by the Houston Oilers of the American Football League (AFL), but was cut from the team during training camp. He was then signed by the AFL’s Denver Broncos and became a starter by the middle of his rookie season. He won All-AFL honors in his second season and played in the AFL All-Star Game, recording nine interceptions for 144 yards. In 1967, Brown was traded to the AFL’s Oakland Raiders and spent the remainder of his playing career there. He served as defensive captain for 10 of his 12 years with the team. He was named to five AFL All-Star games and four NFL Pro Bowls. He was also named All-AFL three times and All-NFL four times.  Perhaps Brown’s most memorable moment as a Raider came during Super Bowl XI, when he intercepted a Fran Tarkenton pass and returned it a Super Bowl-record 75 yards for a touchdown. His record stood for 29 years until it was broken by Kelly Herndon’s 76-yard interception return in Super Bowl XL.  Brown retired after the 1978 season, and finished his Raiders career with 39 interceptions, tied for first all-time on the team. He finished his 16 professional football season seasons with 54 interceptions, which he returned for 472 yards and two touchdowns. He also recovered three fumbles. Brown is a member of the American Football League All-Time Team and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 28, 1984, his first year of eligibility. In 1999, he was ranked number 50 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, making him the highest-ranking Raiders player.  Brown served as a defensive backfield coach for the Raiders from 1979 to 1988. He also had stints as the head coach at Long Beach State, where he earned a master’s degree, in 1991 and Jordan High School in Los Angeles in 1994. In 1995 he returned to the Raiders as the Director of Staff Development.

 

 

 

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