This is the online version of our daily newsletter, The Morning Win. Subscribe to get irreverent and incisive sports stories, delivered to your mailbox every morning. Here’s Robert Zeglinski.
Aaron Rodgers knows he doesn’t have to keep doing this, right?
The man has done everything. He has the Super Bowl win. He has the MVP trophies, the individual accolades. His legacy is secure as one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game.
This silly annual offseason side show doesn’t have to continue. Everyone doesn’t have to keep showering him with attention as they guess and speculate about his future. I say this in the nicest way: Buddy, you are a 39-year-old multi-millionaire with your entire life ahead of you… what are you still doing here?
For once, Rodgers should take cues from Tom Brady and retire. Like, right now.
Stop thinking about the implications of what it’d mean to walk away from a sport you’ve spent more than half of your life playing. Stop dragging everyone along on this attention circus because you’re too proud to, quite literally, find a new slant rather than continue throwing slants to receivers. Stop this sad chase of a second Super Bowl championship (or just another MVP?) that is not closer than appears in the rearview mirror by the year.
If Rodgers weren’t winning it all with any of these relatively recent stacked Packers teams, what makes him think that’s changing in Las Vegas, New York, or San Francisco (well, not necessarily San Francisco, according to Rodgers himself at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am) as he finally loses his fastball?
Stop. Playing. Quit while you’re still somewhat ahead.
I don’t know who Rodgers thinks he’s fooling to fight and defeat Father Time. But the only QB who’s ever really successfully done so in the NFL is Brady, and he finally called it quits at 45 years old (!) after dragging his career on way too long.
Brady kept playing well into his 40s and found a new team he could play with to show his success wasn’t all due to Bill Belichick. Then, after achieving his petty mission while seemingly still at the top of his game, Brady kept going! He kept playing! By 2022, he had the arguably worst year of his career on and off the field, culminating with his first losing season in 23 years.
Brady didn’t know when to let pro football go, which cost him. Dearly. But before finally showing signs of being washed up, he was the NFL’s unicorn. The ultimate exception to being an elite player in middle age.
Rodgers might think he’s just like Brady and that he could continue soldiering on in a quest for one more title shot, one more chance at glory, one more chance at achieving that delicious spite (in this case, if he leaves, showing the Packers how wrong they are! How dare they!).
But he’s not. As much as he undoubtedly compares himself to him, Rodgers has never been like Brady.
Rodgers is a September through December quarterback who wilts the moment permafrost sets in in January. Brady always used the fall as a foundation for making January and February his time of year. They are two of the best to throw a football, and Brady was still leaps and bounds of Rodgers in almost every meaningful way you can think of.
It will stay that way. Forever.
In this respect, Rodgers should take a lesson from his superior peer. Few things in this sport are sadder than a superstar clearly on their last legs, torpedoing how everyone sees them as they slowly become Just Another Guy.
What happened to Brady as he hung onto the NFL for too long will absolutely happen to Rodgers, too. It’s not up for debate. Depending on who you talk to, his eventual demise might be even more depressing. But I know how Rodgers thinks. He probably watched the GOAT’s 2022 season and shamelessly thought, “Oh, that won’t be me. It can’t be! I’m only 39! I’m Aaron Rodgers!”
So (sigh), let’s spin the giant wheel and see where it lands for Rodgers in 2023, I guess. Rodgers might wholeheartedly believe he can still be great, but I’m pretty sure it won’t matter.
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Dillon Brooks absolutely deserves a suspension after the cheap shot to Donovan Mitchell's groin2023-02-03T13:50:55Z dg43tfdfdgfd