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Saying ‘Aaron Rodgers can’t handle NY’ pulls him toward the Jets

New York Jets, Aaron Rodgers
New York Jets, Aaron Rodgers, Getty Images

Those who think Aaron Rodgers cannot hack it in New York are actually driving him to the Jets more effectively than anybody else.

When everybody zigs, he zags. When the world panics, he takes an extremely relaxing chill pill (perhaps manufactured by the little-known company named “R-E-L-A-X”). When all the folks on this land simply want to let the sunshine in, he embraces the darkness.

Describing Aaron Rodgers as an “interesting fella” disservices the vast ocean that actually is the English language.

Rodgers, 39, is a surefire Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback who’s currently enjoying the darkness (his old friend). Meanwhile, Joe Douglas and the New York Jets patiently await further communication, news, or—dare I say—an actual decision on the man’s NFL future.

It’s no secret that the ready-to-win Jets seek a stud quarterback this offseason. And it would be a surprise if they’re not in on Rodgers, as a potential union makes incredible sense in a variety of areas:

  1. Nathaniel Hackett as the new offensive coordinator
  2. Zach Wilson‘s contractual window
  3. The Robert Saleh-Matt LaFleur connection
  4. The Jets’ ultra-talented roster (the lack of competent quarterback play has camouflaged this idea tenfold)
  5. The Jets residing in the AFC (where the Green Bay Packers would be willing to do a little business)

The only question that remains is, “Who’s it going to be?” Who will be that fearless man who takes on the New York challenge in today’s rabid and often absurd digital media sports world?

Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr, or somebody else?

Although the Rodgers versus Carr discussion is hotly debated in Jets land at the moment, a unique perspective surrounding this idea sometimes fails to consider the personalities of the quarterbacks involved.

For instance, those in the Carr camp who claim the overly-sensitive Rodgers cannot handle New York are simply driving the man to the Jets that much more.

They may as well put on the chauffeur’s getup, throw some country on the car’s Bluetooth, and hop in the driver’s seat—all while Rodgers fades into his backseat deep thoughts (by Jack Handey?).

Rodgers takes notes

Rodgers’s most recent weekly spot on “The Pat McAfee Show” further revealed something we already knew about No. 12: The man pays attention.

“There’s an inner circle and in my inner circle, nobody talks to Ian Rapoport [or] Adam Schefter or to any of those people,” Rodgers said this week. “Just stop with the fake news. I speak for myself and I will continue to do that.”

Rodgers then made it clear that he doesn’t necessarily have a problem with either of those guys.

“I have no problem with Ian Rapoport, [Adam] Schefter; I think they’re really good at their jobs. When it comes to me, they don’t know [expletive]. They really don’t. They don’t have people in my inner circle who are sources. I can promise you that. Anybody who would talk to them is not in my inner circle. It’s that simple. So I’ve had this plan on the books for four months, at the same time. When someone like that goes on and says something that’s not true it creates a story that’s [expletive].”

Well then.

As I mentioned at the top, when you zig, he zags. But is Rodgers truly that sensitive? It’s a matter of perspective, really.

Rodgers most definitely reads and sorts through the noise. He’ll read this article, perhaps, once he emerges from the non-shadowy place he currently rests his head—and if Google is kind enough this time around.

An argument that Rodgers is, indeed, sensitive is something that could absolutely fly. Given his comments and the remarkably aware discourse—he often produces—the argument is at least legitimate.

What’s critical, however, is this: Does this sensitivity lead him into disaster areas? Does he allow it to impact him negatively, or does he use it as fuel en route to greener pastures?

Rodgers’s decisions are usually about conviction

When asked if he takes on a mentorship role for the younger guys in the quarterback room, Rodgers didn’t really toe the company line. Similar to his predecessor, Brett Favre, the current Packers quarterback made it clear that he wants to play and succeed in the league that plays for pay.

He’s much more interested in standing on his own two feet—as opposed to helping along the competition.

In other words, apologies are for suckers. Rodgers stands by his words and takes action en route to executing what he believes is best for him and those around him.

For instance, when the world was hectically burning with fear and anxiety (hello, 2020), Rodgers stepped to the podium and calmly delivered his now-infamous “immunized” words.

Though the NFL—along with a great majority of the western world—implemented strict COVID-19 guidelines and/or vaccine mandates, Rodgers stuck to his guns. He opted to bypass the vaccine which predictably threw him into the mainstream doghouse.

Admittedly, the words Rodgers chose were intentionally sly. He’d most likely admit that himself, and for that, certain folks that are similarly loaded with conviction will automatically deduct points.

Through it all, however, he didn’t waver. He did not comprise his firm set of beliefs that arrive, in his estimation, at the correct decision.

Then, when the country realized that his “immunized” comments did not equate to actually taking the vaccine, he doubled down by screaming from the rooftops—most notably on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast.

Yeah, folks … making the claim that the man cannot cut it in New York will most likely drive him to Florham Park, NJ that much quicker. One wonders if WFAN’s Tiki Barber had that exact idea in mind when he recently said Rodgers is too sensitive for the metropolitan area—while radio partner Brandon Tierney kneels by in constant prayer.

I mean, goodness gracious … the man has already ruled out the San Francisco 49ers as a potential destination. And the idea that it’s due to the organization—with a completely different front office—bypassing him in the 2005 NFL draft is prevalent as a reason he was so quick to shoot down the possibility.

Rodgers attempted to clear the air on the “not going to San Fran” comment, but it hardly matters. The fact that he was so quick to rule the idea out, unprompted, means something.

It will come down to winning a Super Bowl

Aaron Rodgers zagging while others zig could lead to the conclusion that other items are more of a priority than, oh, you know … actually winning Super Bowls. But then the man’s actual competitive spirit slides to the forefront.

Remember, Rodgers has now seen Patrick Mahomes win his second Vince Lombardi Trophy. He’s witnessed Tom Brady win a championship in his second city, and he was a youngster when Joe Montana did oh-so (Joe) cool things with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Rodgers fancies himself as part of that legendary crowd—as he should. Winning a second Super Bowl is most likely of the utmost priority in his world—no matter how dark it currently is.

And because he’s such a student of the media and of the NFL in general, he knows just how talented this Jets team is. He understands just how hamstrung the roster was this past season—with injuries and without the luxury of competent quarterback play.

Moreover, he knows just how non-city-like Florham Park, NJ is as a geographical area. Zach Wilson’s shock upon arriving in Northern New Jersey became evident upon his first visit, as he contrasted the suburban area to everything resembling the Big Apple.

Besides, this isn’t baseball. He wouldn’t be coming here to manage the New York Yankees, a job that demands daily media spots. Even here, as it pertains to a stud NFL quarterback, just one weekly spot is generally commanded.

When stacking up the New York Jets and Las Vegas Raiders’ rosters, it’s not a contest. Though the familiarity of Davante Adams is certainly appealing, the Jets are a win-now team, whereas the Raiders are much further away.

Don’t overlook one Rodgers comment

Although it’s most definitely true—that nobody knows what Rodgers is currently thinking—one particular comment uttered a few weeks ago stands out from the crowd.

“For him (Wilson), it’s just gonna be leaning into humility and consistently working on the fundamentals,” Rodgers said when discussing the Jets on “The Pat McAfee Show.” … I hope that whoever they decide to go with as coordinator can come in and work with him and break down a lot of the fundamentals for him and get him playing on time because I think he’s talented enough to have a long career in the league.”

Rodgers is a man who understands just how important humility is. Having to wait his turn—while Favre conducted his retirement dance—had to be infuriating.

Yet, he came out on the other side as clean as a whistle.

Why would Rodgers be thinking about Wilson and humility? Sure, as a student of today’s NFL media world, his awareness that the BYU product’s struggles led to a benching is apparent. Yet, he could have easily stopped short, with McAfee, in terms of touching on Wilson’s need for humility—something Wilson will heavily require if Rodgers comes to North Jersey.

No matter the speculation or any contrived angle, Rodgers is correct when he says that nobody knows what he’s thinking. It’s also true that any decision he announces (Jets, Raiders, Packers, retirement, etc.) is still firmly on the table.

In spite of all of those certainties, the idea that he’s thinking about the New York Jets is pretty strong.

The idea that he’s aware of his digital surroundings is also apparent.

And the idea that he often enjoys sticking it to the doubters is as clear as the man’s head when going underground.

Those who want Derek Carr and/or want to keep Aaron Rodgers as far away as possible better start singing the latter man’s praises. Go ahead and practice uttering it aloud: “Yes, he can make it in New York. He’s not sensitive and he’s as cool as the other side of the pillow” (R.I.P. Stuart Scott).

Only then will you, the Rodgers-to-the-Jets detractor, become immunized to arguably the most talented quarterback to ever lace them up trying to prove you wrong.

No, I don’t know where Aaron Rodgers will end up. I just believe too many folks are selling him short while also proclaiming what he can and cannot do.

And, yes, this is something he usually doesn’t take kindly to, and an idea that will rejuvenate a legend’s competitive spirit that’s always coupled with a hearty helping of defiance and conviction.

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1 year ago

One way to look at the Carr-Rodgers debate is to consider that when the Jets drafted Z. Wilson, their intent was not to announce, “Ladies and Gentleman, introducing the next (drum roll please)….Derek Carr!” it was with the hope they had the next Rodgers or Rodgers-like star QB. So, if they sign Rodgers and have him (hopefully) tutor ZW to play like him, they hold on to their dream. If they sign Carr, they admit defeat. It may sound like an easy decision to those who didn’t spend a number 2 draft pick on Wilson, but to those who did, I’m sure it’s a tough one.

Jonathan Richter
1 year ago

A little reverse psychology, eh? I’m in the Carr camp, but would obviously be thrilled if we got Rodgers.