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Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers shows his approval after helping advance the Packers to the NFC championship game following a blowout victory over the Atlanta Falcons Saturday night. ((Graythen/Getty Images) )

Sitting in one of the luxury suites above the Georgia Dome crowd, you just know Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson was looking down with a Wisconsin-sized grin.

His Packers destroyed No. 1 seed Atlanta 48-21 in Saturday night's Divisional playoff game, returning the team to the NFC title game.

To understand what this victory means to this storied franchise — particularly to Thompson — you have to rewind to three years ago.

It was in 2008 when Thompson was facing the biggest decision of his career.

Four months after announcing his first of many nauseating retirements, quarterback Brett Favre told the Packers that he wanted to come back.

It was the GM's worst nightmare.

Thompson was already to move on with 2005 first-round pick Aaron Rodgers, who spent two seasons as Favre's understudy. He knew Rodgers was ready, but telling Favre he wasn't welcome back would put him in a delicate spot.

Packer fans revered No. 4. Aside from leading the franchise to a Super Bowl title in 1997 and setting numerous individual records, Favre had Green Bay in the NFC championship game the previous season.

Finally, Thompson swallowed hard before trading Favre to the N.Y. Jets, angering the majority of cheeseheads in the state of Wisconsin.

Despite the backlash, you can bet Thompson hasn't lost any sleep of his decision, even last season when Favre — as a Minnesota Viking — beat Green Bay twice before falling one game short of the Super Bowl.

Why, you ask?

Look no further than Rodgers's dissection of the Falcons. The former California standout has had several impressive performances during his time as a starting quarterback, but none are bigger than Saturday night's victory.

This was his signature win.

In this one impressive playoff game, Rodgers showed why Green Bay drafted him six years ago, while also making everyone of San Francisco's personnel people still regret the day they ever passed on the gunslinger in favour of No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith.

Ooops. How would like to have that on your résumé?

On Saturday, Rodgers carved up the Falcons with his trademark quick release and deft accuracy, completing 31-of-36 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns. He added another TD run for good measure.

Favre's never thrown for more yards in one playoff game.

But it's his underrated elusiveness that sets him apart from most NFL quarterbacks. It's the reason Green Bay has been able to last this long despite a lack of a consistent running game.

Rodgers's instincts continually allowed him to avoid a sack against Atlanta. On three separate scoring drives he either saved the possession by eluding a defender before roping a perfect pass on the run, or simply make a dash toward the first-down marker.

In total, he engineered four touchdowns drives of at least 80 yards.

"I felt like I was in the zone," Rodgers said.

No kidding, Aaron.

During the first half alone you threw for 234 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Of the 21 passes you attempted, only three hit the Georgia Dome turf.

You hit on all 10 third-down passes, finished with an 81.6 competition percentage, which ranks fifth-best in post-season history. You’re also one of only 15 quarterbacks to complete 31 passes in a playoff contest.

"This probably was my best performance — the stage we were on, the importance of this game," said Rodgers. "It was a good night."

His biggest fan could well be Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman. The winner of three Super Bowl titles with the Dallas Cowboys was blunt in his assessment of Rodgers.

"If I was a general manager starting an NFL team today and I could take any quarterback I wanted, it would be Aaron Rodgers," Aikman, an analyst for FOX, said during the telecast.

The last time the Packers were in the NFC title game, Rodgers was standing on the frozen sideline of Lambeau Field watching Favre.

Today, the annihilation of the Falcons proves one other indisputable fact: Green Bay is now Aaron Rodgers's team.

Ted Thompson wouldn't have it any other way.