CGB Hall of Fame: Aaron Rodgers vs Kevin Johnson

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We begin the CGB Sweet 16! One thing is clear--Golden Bears love their football. Only one basketball player and a couple of athletic directors keep it from being a total sweep. The last eight winners below provide another seven football entries into the Sweet 16.

Round of 32 winners from the right side of the bracket: The Play Players 164, Jerome Randle 56Sandy Barbour 153, Desmond Bishop 53; J.J. Arrington 92, Ashley Walker 66; Scott Fujita 99, Vicky Galindo 69; Alex Mack 162, Nnamdi Asomugha 127; Geoff McArthur 119, Tosh Lupoi 113; Joe Igber 126, Michelle Granger 76; Tyson Alualu 155, Patrick Christopher 66

The next four weeks are as serious as they get. Only the best of the best here. And we have two of the greats dueling here.

Aaron Rodgers's road: Beat Sean Lampley in the second round, first round bye.
Kevin Johnson's road: Beat Jamal Boykin in the second round, Robert Jordan in the first round

Voting ends Friday at noon PT. Click here to view the full bracket.

norcalnick provides one more fantastic profile about one of Cal's greatest quarterbacks.

Because I am also a San Francisco 49er fan, I tuned into the 2005 NFL draft very much hoping that Aaron Rodgers would complete his destiny as a childhood Joe Montana fan and don the Red and Gold as our franchise quarterback.  Four years later and I’m still not sure if I wished that had happened. 

Rodgers only had about a season and a half to make an impression as a starter for the Golden Bears, and he wasted very little time.  Taking over as starting QB midway through the ’03 season, Rodgers led a late season charge for a bowl berth in a year that was expected to be a rebuilding year.  He then had perhaps the best performance ever by a Cal QB in a bowl game, sending expectations for 2004 sky-high in a thrilling, crazy 52-49 victory over Virginia Tech in the Insight Bowl.  He threw for 394 yards and 2 TDs. 

His 2005 season can almost be described as disappointing, although none of the fault would fall to Rodgers.  How can a 10-2 season be disappointing?  How about when hard-luck injuries gradually hamper the passing game as the team slowly puts the offensive burden on the legs of JJ Arrington?  Or when those receiver injuries haunt Cal by essentially preventing any chance at a comeback in a painful loss to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl?  And most of all, how about when your QB puts together one of the most impressive single game efforts in a losing effort to the eventual national champs?  Never have I been surer of something football related in my life than when Cal had first and goal at the USC 9 with less than two minutes to go.  Cal was going to score.  Aaron Rodgers was 29-31.  There is no way we don’t take the lead.  I just sat numb in my chair when Jonathan Makonnen slipped on 4th down, not comprehending that I was wrong. 

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via www.sfgate.com

Go to Hell, BCS!  You go to Hell and you DIE!

Sadly, the peak of Rodger’s passing attack at Cal was probably reached in Corvallis in the game just before Cal’s loss to USC.  In that game Rodgers, Chase Lyman, and Geoff MacArthur absolutely blitzed Oregon State in a 49-7 victory.    Next week Lyman would go down with a knee injury that would essentially end is football career.  Makonnen would miss most of the games that year with a variety of nagging ailments and MacArthur played through various problems that limited his abilities before going down with a freak injury in practice before the Holiday Bowl.  It’s a testament to Rodger’s talent and Tedford’s coaching that Cal’s passing attack didn’t completely disappear. 

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Despite a rocky start, Rodgers came to embrace Green Bay fans, culture and moustaches

Rodgers intelligently declared for the draft in a down year for quarterbacks.  In one of the most unbelievable displays of NFL draft skullduggery he somehow slid to the end of the first round to the Green Bay Packers.  Rodgers suffered through Brett Favre’s chronic indecisiveness and is now the unquestioned starter for a perennial playoff contender.  Meanwhile, Alex Smith is for some reason still considered a viable starting quarterback contender for the 49ers.  I said above that I don’t know if I’m still upset that the 49ers drafted Smith over Rodgers.  That’s because I wouldn’t wish the 49er’s dysfunction on a Cal quarterback as clearly talented as Rodgers is, even if that means he has to play for a team that knocked out my 49ers every damned year in the late 90s.  When everything is done many expect Rodgers to finish his NFL career as the most decorated quarterback ever to come out of Cal.  I’ll remember him as the player that vaulted Cal from feel-good mid-conference team to perennial Pac-10 title contender.

 

Here's the Oski-friendly summary of one of the most exciting points to ever play ball at Harmon.

Despite excelling at two sports in high school, Johnson decided to play basketball exclusively at the collegiate level, and accepted a scholarship to play basketball for the University of California at Berkeley . Playing all four seasons, Johnson ended his college basketball career in 1987 as the school's all-time leader in assists, steals, and scoring (since eclipsed by   Lamond Murray). He was also the first player in the Pac-10 Conference to post a "triple-double" in the statistics, and he was named to the Pac-10's all-conference First Team in both his junior and senior seasons, averaging 17.2 points and 5.0 assists in his final basketball season. His number 11 is retired.

California Pete's favorite lineup while at Cal involved Johnson running point, mainly because they ended a long streak of misery to UCLA.

11 – Kevin Johnson
22 – Chris Washington
33 – Eddie Javius
44 – Leonard Taylor
5 – Dave Butler

I still don’t know why Butler didn’t change his # to 55. It’s a toss-up for me between KJ and Jason Kidd as far as the most entertaining player I’ve seen wear the Blue and Gold.

JoshinPortland:  Best player on that team. Glorious day in a packed Kips watching UCLA go down for the first time in my lifetime.

Here's the only Cal footage I could find of KJ, from the 1987 NBA Draft (starting at about 3 minutes in).

The announcers were surprised he was drafted so high at 7th. I was surprised too. He should've been drafted 3rd.

 

Now the mayor of Sactown, KJ still reps the Gold and Blue as often as he can. Here he is at Cal's Pac-10 championship celebration, as ebullient as can be.

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