It wasn’t supposed to end up like this. The shoes to fill were too big. The pressure was supposed to be so overwhelming that Aaron Rodgers was supposed to crumble into pieces before our very eyes. Who knew, maybe by the year 2013 Aaron Rodgers’ career would be so embattled that–if not completely out of football altogether–he may be considered a journeyman QB at this point having spent time with a few organizations. Failure on the horizon was nearly inevitable.
Instead, here now in 2013, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers–in addition to being a Super Bowl Champion–is now the highest-paid man to ever put on a football helmet and pads. Again, this is not what a lot of people predicted. But I also predicted that by my current age of 28 I’d be living in California married to a supermodel–people are just wrong sometimes.
Rodgers signing his name to that contract–offered to him by the Packers–was the culmination of a journey that began with him being virtually humiliated in front of the entire world.
Leading up to the 2005 NFL Draft, the record-setting QB out of California was projected by many to be the consensus No. 1 overall pick of the San Francisco 49ers and was supposed to begin leading them back to the glory days they had enjoyed throughout the late-80s and early-90s. Instead, the Niners organization believed that University of Utah product Alex Smith was the better fit and went in that direction instead.
In a scene that became increasingly painful to watch as more and more time passed, Rodgers sat embarrassingly in the green room as he was passed up by teams that didn’t have immediate quarterbacking needs. Eventually, the one-time first overall lock was left by himself, with virtually no hope in sight.
And then, the unthinkable happened.
Not only had a team finally come calling, but this organization would eventually ask Rodgers to do something that most people at that time would equate to the level of difficulty of trying to convince Terrell Owens to become a humble human being.
I like to think the conversation went a little something along the lines of, “Hi, Aaron. This is the Green Bay Packers. We’re going to save you from this misery right now if you can eventually replace Brett Favre for us because, truth be told, it’s kind of time for him to go.”
Not too much pressure, right?
With a challenge such as that, that would leave most people beaten before it even began. Rodgers, however, picked his head up and met the challenge head on.
Whether if it was die-hard Packers faithful who were so infatuated with Favre’s gun-slinging style, media skeptics or even some of his very own new teammates, Rodgers would have doubters everywhere he moved his neck to look. People would be telling him that the expectations would be too much. The bar set before him was too high.
Well, a slew of passing records and his very own Super Bowl Championship later, isn’t it ironic that this story has culminated with Rodgers setting his own standard while smashing his way through another?
While a little off topic, keep this in mind folks. As you watch the last day of the 2013 NFL Draft play out still with a bundle of capable quarterbacks left, don’t completely buy into what you hear on TV. There’s a very good chance that one of the young men drafted to sling the rock on April 27, 2013, could very well eventually become someone to hurdle the bar set by Mr. Rodgers today.
And, yes. I know. I couldn’t just get through this whole thing without making a “Mr. Rodgers” reference, could I?