Dammit, I’m Starting to Like This Aaron Rodgers Guy
The headline of this recent Star Tribune story really says it all when it comes to the other quarterback playing in Monday night’s Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings contest: “Rodgers shouts with silence.”
Amid all the bullshitting, finger pointing, chest thumping and other pissing matches on display this week in preparation for Vikings’ QB Brett Favre’s first game against his former team, Rodgers has played it cool, steering clear of all the hype.
He didn’t even mention Favre by name in the 10 minutes he was surrounded by a throng of reporters Thursday in the Green Bay locker room. Most of the questions, not surprisingly, were Favre-related, but Rodgers didn’t bite.
“To me, it’s just another game,” Rodgers said when asked about the Favre factor.
Now not even my great aunt, who knows NOTHING about football, would believe that answer. But you’ve gotta hand it to the guy for not running his mouth in advance of what will likely be one of the biggest games of his career. According to WR Greg Jennings, Rodgers wants to beat the man he was hand-picked to replace (and, who I might say, dissed Rodgers after first retiring in 2008 by not returning his calls). He wants to beat him bad.
“Yeah, definitely,” Jennings said of Rodgers. “That’s his competitive nature. … I would probably look at him kind of strange if he didn’t. I’m sure he does want it more.”
Jennings paused and then went a step further.
“I’m quite positive he wants it more,” he said. “But I can probably say the same thing for Brett.”
The difference is Rodgers apparently knows when to shut his pie hole and let his arm do the talking. Favre does not, though he has faced a lot more media scrutiny and more questions, than his progeny did this past week.
But the fact is this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this kind of classy behavior from Rodgers. The guy waited three years for his chance to start while playing water boy to Favre, who didn’t mentor or coach Rodgers in any way in his final years in Green Bay. He survived the summer of 2008 – the Summer of Favre. Then he played pretty well last season, despite the Packers’s god awful 6-10 record.
So far this season, it’s more of the same. Despite being sacked a league-high 12 times due to the Packers’ work-in-progress offensive line, Rodgers is one of only three starting quarterbacks without an interception this season. In fact, Rodgers hasn’t tossed a pick in 148 pass attempts – the longest streak by a current NFL starter.
Not even the coaching staff is worried about Rodgers freaking out come Monday night – something Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy had to deal with 10 years ago as Green Bay’s quarterbacks coach, when he had to try to keep Favre calm in his first matchup with new Seattle Seahawks’ coach Mike “The Walrus” Holmgren.
“That’s his type of personality,” Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements said of Rodgers. “He has an even keel. He gets a little fiery on the field at times, which is fine, but he’s an easy-going guy off the field.”
I must say, it has taken A LOT for me to like Aaron Rodgers. Even to accept that he’s the new leader of the Packers. The guy looked like he belonged in a trailer park more than on a professional football team during his first couple of seasons with that mullet. Not exactly leadership material, at least above the Mason-Dixon Line.
But dammit. There’s something about this guy’s demeanor (and that downright beautiful long ball) that’s finally won me over and turned me into a believer. He’s got exactly the right attitude heading into this huge game, and with him being about as anti-Favre of a quarterback as you can get, I’m liking the Packers’ chances at the MetroBarn come Monday night.
Sarah is a writer and editor living in the Twin Cities, a lifelong Packers fan and an ardent supporter of all things anti-Vikings.