I can’t shake the feeling that I’m being followed by Aaron Rodgers. Not in a cease-and-desist way … well, actually, yes, exactly in a cease-and-desist way. It’s not enough that he’s been in Chicago’s head for 14 years, not enough that, as he famously shouted to the world this season, he owns the Bears and their fans.
Oh, no, not even close to enough. He’s elbowed his way into my life in so many other ways that I’ve lost count. And I don’t recall sending an invitation to him or his elbow.
He reportedly just broke up with another celebrity girlfriend. We know this because he’s the Green Bay Packers quarterback, she’s a movie star and these kinds of relationships never go quietly into that good night. Now, you might argue that it’s not his fault the breakup became public or that social media has jumped on the dissolution with a gusto normally reserved for a Kardashian or a Kanye. Why can’t people respect Rodgers’ privacy during this very difficult time? Because – and let me apologize in advance for my callousness – once you gallop down the path of celebrity, you give your privacy a nice, final sendoff. He has dated race-car driver Danica Patrick, actress Olivia Munn and actress Shailene Woodley, his most recent ex. This looks very much like a man who’s allergic to privacy.
I don’t want to hear about his love life anymore. So I’m begging him: Please, in the name of all that is good and holy, date a librarian. Not even a head librarian. Make it an assistant librarian who helps in the reference department. Find a nice woman who knows nothing about cameras or reality shows or brand building. If the relationship ends, either no one will know or the ones who make it their business to know will shrug and move on.
Unless … Rodgers dates famous people because he enjoys the limelight. Is it possible? I’d upgrade the idea to probable.
I love him as a quarterback, but he’s been attached to us like a barnacle the past 12 months. First, there was the offseason drama about his apparent unhappiness with the Packers’ decision makers, especially general manager Brian Gutekunst. What did Rodgers want? A trade? Better players around him? Did Woodley want him to move west to be closer to Hollywood? No one seemed to know. Bears fans, always looking for rainbows, saw a chance to get him out of the NFC North. A trade! Maybe to the Broncos! It still might happen (but probably not). He ended up beating the Bears twice this season, loudly told a finger-flipping fan at Soldier Field that he had assumed ownership of the sad team from Chicago and went on to win his second Most Valuable Player award in a row.
Tension over contracts and rosters happens. It can get loud and unpleasant. But he’s noisy outside of football, too, and no earplugs are provided. He was a guest host on “Jeopardy” for two weeks and reportedly pushed hard to be the permanent replacement to the late Alex Trebek. That led to weeks of discussion about whether he would make a good host. Answer in the form of a question: What is no? Lots of people thought he was great. I thought he was drier than a decent-sized desert.
But that was amateur hour, decibel-wise. Rodgers waded into the national debate about the COVID-19 vaccines by misleading reporters that he had been vaccinated (he hadn’t) and by telling everyone who would listen that his research into the science of the virus had led him to the decision to say no to getting the shots. Great. A man with no background in epidemiology educating impressionable football fans on mRNA vaccines.
A poop storm ensued because A) the nation is painfully, angrily split over the vaccines, and B) the belief that Rodgers is smarter than everybody else is written all over his face. It was a potent cocktail. A Chicago sportswriter subsequently said he wouldn’t vote for Rodgers for MVP because he was a “jerk,” Rodgers called the writer a “bum” and we earned another week of controversy.
Throw in all of his State Farm ads, and there truly is no escaping the guy.
For Bears fans, one of the lures of the past season was the beautiful prospect of him going away. They had put up with his infiltrating every inch of their lives in the hopes he’d be out of Chicago’s hair soon. But now? Now it looks like he might not be going anywhere. It means that the tag team of him and Jake from State Farm could be the least of their worries.
With Woodley out of the picture, the idea of a Rodgers move to Denver or San Francisco doesn’t make as much sense. The Packers just hired Tom Clements, who worked with him from 2006-15 as quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator and assistant head coach, to be the QBs coach. The two reportedly are very close, and Rodgers has said in the past that Clements is a big reason he’s the quarterback he is today. Uh-oh.
As someone with a terrible case of Rodgers fatigue, I have a bad feeling about this. I don’t think he’s going anywhere.
I hope he respects my privacy during this difficult time. I doubt he will.