Green Bay now Rodgers' neighborhood, not Favre country

By Steve Keating

DETROIT (Reuters) - They name streets after their NFL greats in Green Bay and quarterback Aaron Rodgers could soon be on the map if he can put the Packers on the road to the Super Bowl.

Visit Green Bay and sooner-or-later, you will find yourself on Lombardi Avenue, Holmgren Way or even Brett Favre Pass.

Last year you might have even ended up on Aaron Rodgers Avenue after Minnesota Avenue was temporarily renamed for Favre's first visit back to the team he led for 16 seasons before the Pro Bowl quarterback's ultimate betrayal of signing with the rival Vikings.

But as a new season gets set to kick off, all the signs point toward an intriguing final showdown between Favre, the three-time NFL most valuable player and Rodgers, his one-time backup, as the Vikings and Packers prepare to slug it out for top spot in the NFC North.

Rodgers and Favre will feature in two of the NFL season's most eagerly anticipated games with the Vikings visiting Lambeau Field on October 24 and the Packers traveling to the Twin Cities on November 21.

Meetings between the Vikings and Packers need no extra hype but the Favre-Rodgers sub-plot has added more spice to one of the NFL's fiercest rivalries.

There is already a debate raging on the Internet speculating whether Rodgers might one day surpass Favre as the greatest Packers quarterback of all-time and this season will likely represent the last opportunity to compare them on the field at the same time.

Taken by the Packers with the 24th overall pick in the 2005 draft, Rodgers spent three seasons at Lambeau as Favre's patient understudy and clearly used the time wisely having emerged as an elite quarterback.

The only player to throw for over 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, the 26-year-old Rodgers tossed for 4,434 yards and 30 touchdowns last season and has not missed a start since taking over from Favre.

"My number one goal every season is first and foremost to be available to be on the field," Rodgers told reporters during training camp. "As long as I can still go out there and be our best option at quarterback I need to be on the field.

"I feel like I got respect for that from my team mates.

"You need to be on the field, you need to be a leader, you need to play every snap. That's something I take pride in."

Favre enters his 20th campaign in possession of almost every meaningful quarterbacking record and an ironman streak of 285 consecutive starts that is one of sport's most unfathomable achievements.

Last season was one of the 40-year-old's best-ever, throwing for 4,202 yards and 33 touchdowns, with only seven interceptions - his fewest since breaking into the league with the Atlanta Falcons in 1992 when he played just two games.

After falling one win short of a trip to the Super Bowl last year, losing the New Orleans Saints in the NFC championship, Favre has returned looking to add one more line to his Hall of Fame resume.

"I was so close, so close to getting these guys to the Super Bowl," said Favre, explaining his decision not to retire. "I owe it to this organization to give it one more try.

"This is a very good football team. The chances (of going to the Super Bowl) here are much greater than other places."

While the Vikings are seen as championship contenders it is the Packers generating the early season Super Bowl buzz along with talk of MVP honors for Rodgers, who may finally have the chance to step out from Favre's immense shadow.

"I think last year we didn't have the same kind of confidence," Rodgers told reporters during training camp. "This year it's a mature, realistic confidence.

"Well, that wasn't the case. But this year, I think it's just a more realistic confidence."

(Editing by Steve Ginsburg)