The Aaron Rodgers Saga Has Me Thinking About Animal HousePosted:Feb 4th, 2022 10:48 am
One of my all-time favorite movies is Animal House and I found myself thinking about a classic scene from that movie when thinking about the future of Aaron Rodgers, a couple weeks removed from the end of the Packers’ season.
Pinto is with the very drunk daughter of the mayor; they’re about to get down to business and she passes out and he’s faced with what a college freshman might consider a moral dilemma. Up sprouts an angel over one shoulder and a devil over the other—each persuading him which way to go.
That’s how I feel about the Rodgers situation right now. To me, there are two, and only two scenarios: either he comes back to the Pack and is signed to a new multi-year deal or he’s getting traded to the Broncos.
He’s not retiring. After the sudden playoff exit, he has unfinished business and there ain’t no way he’s going into Canton with Tom Brady. And he would only agree to play somewhere where they play a similar system, with a coach he likes/trusts and with a roster that’s built to win now. Only Denver checks all of those boxes—remember, the NFC is off limits.
So, it goes one of two ways. He’s back with the Pack, or he’s off to the Broncos. I’m Pinto and this is what I’m hearing in my head:
Trade him. Trade him now. It’s time. He had everything going his way this time around. Playing at home, the pinkie toe felt good. He’d even show you if you didn’t believe him. The team around him was as healthy as it had been in months. To get to a title game, he just had to beat Jimmy Garoppolo. Who had a bad thumb and shoulder. Who had never been anywhere near a game this cold. OK, special teams melted down, but c’mon, he had the ball with a seven point lead and six minutes to play. The MVP has to carry you home.
For shame. Listen to yourself talk. Do you remember what it’s like not to have a generational talent at quarterback? Of course you do. You’re old. You remember the 70s: Scott Hunter. Jerry Tagge. An ancient John Hadl. David Whitehurst. Ohhh, David Whitehurst. Sure, Lynn Dickey came around and things were fun for a while, but for the most part the 70s and 80s were like being the Carolina Panthers. Aaron is about to win his second straight MVP. He’s got three or four good years left. He wants to be a Packer for life. Why are we even having this conversation?
He’s a brilliant player. Maybe the finest thrower of the football anyone’s ever seen. If I want to watch beauty I’ll go watch a Scarlett Johannsen movie. I want to win. I want my quarterback to shine in the postseason when everything’s on the line. Is it too much to ask my Hall of Fame quarterback to play in more than one Super Bowl? I mean, 17 years in Green Bay and he has as many Super Bowl rings as Trent Dilfer.
How many Super Bowls did Peyton Manning win in Indy? Or Drew Brees in New Orleans? It’s not that easy. And we all know if that onside kick in Seattle is played correctly, Aaron probably has a ring for his other hand. Are you really ready to turn the page and hand the keys to Jordan Love? Did you watch the Chiefs game?
He’s led the Pack to more losses than wins in the playoffs since Super Bowl XLV and he’s lost as many playoff games as he’s won at Lambeau. Last year he gets Tom Brady at home for a trip to the Super Bowl. Brady gets picked off three times, yet Rodgers can’t put points on the board. This year, with fans in the stands finally, he just needs to beat two teams he’s already beaten this season. But he develops tunnel vision with Davante Adams and ignores open receivers. And he never finds the end zone after the opening drive. If it didn’t happen this year, with that roster, do you really think it’s ever going to happen?
He didn’t play his best against the 49ers; it’s true. But the offensive line was shifted around when Bakhtiari was a late scratch. Randall Cobb was playing his first game in weeks. AJ Dillon left the game early with a rib injury. There were obstacles. It’s only going to make him hungrier. He knows his clearest path back to the Super Bowl is in the NFC, where his division is going through a complete reboot, Brady just retired and even the 49ers will be turning to their young quarterback of the future. With him back in Green Bay, this team will be on a short list of NFC Super Bowl favorites. He’ll have a chance to write a much more storybook ending to his epic career.
I haven’t been convinced either way as of this moment. I think I’ll be comfortable with whatever way it goes. I’m just looking forward to resolution at this point, because for now I’m just sitting here, like Pinto, with two handfuls of toilet paper.