On the field, Aaron Rodgers is magic, but off of the field, his personality may be far from it.
Rodgers is not only arguable the best Quarterback in the NFL, but also considered on the best in NFL history.
The stats speak for themselves. He’s thrown for more than 33,000 yards, tossed 270 touchdowns with only 69 interceptions, and ranks first in league history with a 103.4 passer rating.
In 2011, he led his Green Bay Packers to Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers completing 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns. This was his game of validation where he had officially arrived and solidified his spot at the top of the NFL.
Since that glorious moment, although still extremely successful on the field, Rodgers has developed a reputation of alienating himself from the locker room, constantly deflecting blame when things go bad, and showing continued frustration with the media brass now more than ever. Recently, he gave us another example of this:
Via Fox Sports: “No offense, but you guys are predictable,” Rodgers said, via ESPN. “We knew when we came in here — and I knew I had this on Wednesday — I knew what the line of questioning was going to be. You guys got a job to do. You scrutinize, you analyze and you make opinions based on how you feel a team is progressing or not progressing or playing. And we appreciate that. But inside, we don’t think the same way that you guys think.”
His constant frustration with the media during times of struggle coincides with the reported alienation factor that he has with his teammates in the locker room. Former Packer Wide Receiver Greg Jennings, who played seven seasons with Rodgers, attested to some of these allegations given his first hand experience with Rodgers.
Via: Mike Florio/NBC Sports: “Aaron’s label is that he’s sensitive,” Jennings said. “When you’re dealing with a guy like that, and you’re playing a non-sensitive game, it’s hard. It’s challenging. Because you tend to not say what you would say to the next guy because of how this guy would take it.”
Jennings also said that Rodgers is “different” in the locker room, and that he exudes a pride that suggests “you’re kind of beneath me.”
His frustration with the media, his deflection of blame, and his alienation within the locker room have all molded together into a bad reputation for an all-time football player.
Since that Super Bowl win in 2011, Rodgers and the Packers have only won three playoff games and currently find themselves in an offensive “rut” despite their 4-2 record. Again, Rodgers has been so great on the field that these statistics are considered a slump for him and his offense:
Rodgers 2016: 148/237, 1496 yards, 13 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
Despite Rodgers’ success individually, what has been causing the media uproar is the overall team’s offensive stats that aren’t up to par:
2016 Packer’s Offense: 2,065 total yards (27th in NFL), 23.3 Pts/G (14th in NFL), 104.8 Rush Yards/G (19th in NFL)
Granted, a lot of this has to do with shake-ups in their offensive line and running back Eddie Lacy being hit with some nagging injuries. However, what’s making the bulk of the headlines is how Rodgers is handling this overall offensive struggle and points to why he has garnered his so so reputation with some of his teammates and the media.
Leaders, especially quarterbacks, have to take the blame when the team is struggling and deflect the praise when the team is successful. What Rodgers has failed to do on too many occasions is take the media admonishment on the chin and prove them wrong on the field by doing what he does best. Instead, we get the infamous September 2014 post game presser where he told Green Bay fans and media to “R-E-L-A-X” after the Packers were off to a 1-2 start and the offense was ranked 28th in the NFL.
Now, I understand that being in the media spotlight constantly can be frustrating beyond measure because the media has the tendency to overreact. But as the franchise player, and the quarterback, you have to ingratiate yourself within the locker room and your team. You have to take the media in stride to maintain your image. If the quarterback is not liked among his own team, then it’s hard for that team to have any major success like they did in 2011.
Since that Super Bowl, Rodgers has lost his touch off the field and it’s starting to show it’s face with playoff losses, former teammates speaking out, and constant headlines in the media due to his frustration.
What do you think of Aaron Rodgers’s attitude? Does it matter on the field? Tweet me @phenombc3