There’s a storm brewing in Green Bay, and most people probably don’t even realize it.
Since becoming the starter in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers has made everyone (well almost everyone) forget about his predecessor. Playing at an All Pro level since the moment he took the field, he has won a Super Bowl, an MVP award, and played the position just as well if not better than the guy who did before him.
It is very difficult to find fault with how Rodgers plays the game. Other than times when he holds onto the ball too long, taking unnecessary sacks, his play is at a completely different level than most other QBs in the league. If nothing else, he is the complete opposite of Brett Favre, taking care of the football instead of taking unnecessary chances in an effort to make a great play.
However, in one way, Aaron Rodgers is becoming more like Brett Favre every day. Most people just don’t want to admit it-yet.
During a recent episode of 60 Minutes, the show aired a segment on Rodgers. After the initial, and all too familiar, storyline of how Rodgers rose from not being offered a single Division 1 scholarship out of high school player to become a Super Bowl champion and MVP, the show focused on the man off the field. Most notable was the absence of mentioning the charity work he does for the MACC Fund, or any of the other charity work he does. Instead, the show chose to air footage of Rodgers being upset with a fan who mentioned he thought he was taller when he met Rodgers.
Sensitivity was the word that has been most attached to this brief glimpse at the quarterback. Instead of focusing on the man, or even how the man plays on the football field, 60 Minutes chose to focus on the emotions of the man. Right or wrong, it was an interesting look at someone who is put on a pedestal by many, incapable of flaws.
When I watched this episode, I will admit I was taken aback by the focus of his perceived sensitivity. In particular, the inclusion of the video of Rodgers responding to the fan was very strange. The entire segment didn’t seem very Rodgers-esque, at least what is portrayed in public.
Rodgers could have let the issue end there. He could have seen the segment and been displeased with the result. He could have done a lot of things. The one thing he could have done and didn’t was remain silent.
"When you open up your life for four months and allow them to have access to your family and your friends and events, it's always interesting to see what comes out. I just felt like the editing of the piece could have been done in a way that was maybe a lot more respectful of myself. If I'm sensitive about anything through the whole process, it's that they come to the MACC Fund event in May, which is very, very important to me and even more important considering the two boys that we lost this year to cancer. For them to not even show really any of the content from that night, any of the kids, not say anything about the MACC Fund or what they do with kids with cancer, I think that was the thing that was most disappointing about the piece."
If sensitivity is the issue, why did Rodgers choose to add fuel to the fire by responding to the show? Why did he just not let it lie? Privately he could have been upset and agree to never do 60 Minutes again. Privately, he could have thought that the show was wrong for not focusing on all of the good that he does in the community. But publicly voicing his displeasure in many ways proves that he indeed is sensitive.
That sounds very much like a diva athlete, doesn't it?
For years, Brett Favre has been portrayed as a diva. From the retire/unretire nonsense to the look at me attitude he displayed for years, Favre was the epitome of a diva, concerned about himself first. Yet almost everyone looked past his behavior off the field, because of what he did on the field. It wasn't until the retire/unretire drama started to unfold that many began to see him for what he was-a very good football player who was actually quite the jerk off the field, and that's putting it mildly.
I have a strange feeling that we are starting to see the beginning of this with regards to Aaron Rodgers as well.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be portrayed publicly as a flawless individual. It helps your public image. It helps sell stuff with your name on it. But there is also a point where you have to have to let things go. When you are an athlete not everything you read, see, or hear is going to be positive. Not everything needs to be a motivational tactic to play better. And there is no need to respond to these criticisms when your play speaks for itself.
Ultimately do I care one bit about what Rodgers thinks or feels off the field? Not one bit. I am primarily concerned about what he does on the field, with his actions in the public on the periphery. As long as he plays well and the team continues to win I will be a happy fan. But I would not be shocked at all if after a few more years down the road we see Rodgers for what he truly is: a full fledged diva athlete.
The storm clouds are forming. Let's hope they break up quickly.
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