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Did Aaron Rodgers put his legacy ‘on the line’ by joining NY Jets?

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

ESPN says Aaron Rodgers’ legacy could be tarnished if he can’t bring the NY Jets to the Super Bowl

Throughout the offseason, Aaron Rodgers has dominated the spotlight. Being traded to the New York Jets, a team many consider cursed, is bound to take over media talking points. After all, the NYC metropolitan area is the business hub of the United States and one of the biggest platforms in the sporting world. If you can succeed in New York, there isn’t a limit to stardom.

But if you fail to live up to expectations, the Big Apple can tarnish even some of the best legacies. This could potentially be the case with Rodgers.

The 2023 season is ripe with intriguing players – none more intriguing than Rodgers. In a recent article, ESPN’s Dan Graziano mentioned the 39-year-old as one of the NFL’s most intriguing players of 2023 due to a number of reasons.

“Rodgers is the toast of New York at the moment, which is a really cool thing to be,” Graziano writes. “But once the season starts and the games count, there’s a lot on the line for the 39-year-old Rodgers. Legacy, for one thing.”

Graziano says Rodgers has the opportunity to boost his legacy if he can win a championship with the Jets.

“Fair or unfair, quarterbacks who’ve won two Super Bowls occupy a different rung in the all-time hierarchy than those who’ve only won one. Winning with the Jets would mean Rodgers did something like Peyton Manning did in Denver, or Tom Brady did in Tampa.”

Last season, Rodgers failed to meet expectations with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers gutted through a broken thumb on his throwing hand, ultimately leading the Packers to an 8-9 record and losing a “win-and-you’re-in” finale against the Detroit Lions. Now with the Jets, expectations have increased ten-fold.

Gang Green hasn’t been to the playoffs since Rex Ryan was the head coach (in the 2010-11 season). They also haven’t had a 4,000-yard passer since Joe Namath – 16 years before Rodgers was even born. Both of those unfortunate statistics need to be broken by the Jets’ newest quarterback if the Rodgers experiment wants to be deemed a success. But there’s more on the line for the former Packers quarterback, too: his legacy.

There’s more than the season’s outcome that makes Rodgers one of ESPN’s most intriguing players, however. That is what happens after the season.

For the past couple of years, Rodgers has been mulling the idea of retiring. He even stated that he was “90% ready to retire” before going on his darkness retreat this offseason. Although the four-time NFL MVP reiterated that he intends to play more than one year with the Jets, no one truly knows what will happen after this season. In all, the baggage, expectations, and mystery are what make Rodgers one of the most intriguing players in the NFL.

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