April 29th will forever go down as the day we all learned that Aaron Rodgers hated the general manager of the Green Bay Packers. Oh wait, it’s not, we already knew that and it seems strange that people cannot understand why a guy who’s unhappy at work would want to work somewhere else.
We will at some point get into how this is bizarrely being perceived on social media and by members of the football media. For now however, we’ll start with why it is that A-Rod appears to be unhappy. While the team certainly has not done him any favors, the entire football world was shocked to see that the Packers traded up in the first round to draft Quarterback Jordan Love. Love is definitely a talented player, if somewhat of a project. However, when Love was drafted, I think most people would have understood if he was the best value and that value had fallen to Green Bay. The fact that they traded up to get their star quarterback’s replacement is strange in and of itself. It has also been reported widely that Aaron Rodgers was not involved with the conversation with his front office regarding this decision.
Now, this is for some reason, a polarizing conversation. What is owed to a superstar player? The player is compensated financially, but anyone who loves their job and commits to their craft will say that while fair compensation is important it’s only a singular factor. People want to achieve and be placed in a situation when they can succeed. Moreover, when people achieve high levels of success they want to be involved in the strategic planning of the future of their organization. This, in my opinion, seems logical. We want players to be in it for more than the money, we want them to want to compete and to win, and from what I’ve seen from Aaron Rodgers demands on his front office he wants just that. It’s hard to believe that the team set him up for success when the Packers went to the NFC championship game and didn’t have a single rookie who started a playoff game for them.
The Packers not working with their superstar shows an absolute failing from one of Football’s oldest teams. I heard Peter King discuss the Packers organizational structure on one of the many platforms he was interviewed on after the draft. He talked about the Packers as a very hierarchical “top-down” organization. He described a situation where coaches have no influence on GM decisions and players have little input with coaches and less with the front office. This weirdly refuses to acknowledge the age of player empowerment that saw Tom Brady have influence in two cities and allowed him to win championships in both of those cities. The real asset on football teams are the players. No one has paid to watch Mark Murphy since he was a chubby safety in a far less athletic age in the NFL.
So the next question is, can I see why Aaron Rodgers is frustrated. Given that, I think Davante Adams is a very good receiver but I’ve always felt as though Green Bay’s second and third receivers were guys who A-Rod helped look better than they were. Aaron Jones only really took over the job as a star running back after out playing backfield teammate Jamal Williams time after time. Furthermore, the lack of inclusion in the decision making seems to be the concern. The only guy Rodgers seems to have an issue with is Brian Gutekunst and this seems reasonable if you view the GM as a collaborator with the coach, president and players (the way I do).
Since the draft many have come down on Rodgers because this story got out. He has not denied it but he did express regret while at the Kentucky Derby that the story was leaked. Of course many of the NFL’s pundits, quick to protect the shield and the logos pounced on Aaron Rodgers for letting the information become public. However, it got me thinking. Is Aaron Rodgers the most likely source of the leak?
Leaks of this nature are always let out by the player or the team. Very few times is Adam Schefter or Shams Charania will be just chilling at a hotel bar and overhear a conversation between a star player and team management. Most commonly we need to ask ourselves, who benefits from the information becoming public. Given the proximity of the draft, I don’t see why Rodgers camp would leak the information. Teams at this point have signed players and developed a draft strategy. Instead, I see the Packers as using the power of information to gauge interest in their aging quarterback. If it seems strange, remember this was a team that drafted the heir apparent last season.
So this brings me to the specific issue of Terry Bradshaw. Bradshaw’s playing career was at its height when winning was considered to be a quarterback competency, his acting career mattered when celebrity was enough to replace acting chops and his analytical career has coasted off the back of sports cliché and a reputation that’s as bloated as his waistline has become. Terry Bradshaw criticizing how Rodgers has chosen to manage his career (or equally moronic, his footwork) is like an English literature professor telling Shakespeare to get over himself. Wow, even comparing Bradshaw to an actual quarterback and a professor in back to back sentences felt gross.
Ex-players, especially those who used their fame to build their legacy are often called upon to speak on contract negotiations and player empowerment and often miss the mark. Rather than celebrate how far players have come they look upon it with jealousy and pettiness. At this point, holding Aaron Rodgers accountable while refusing to hold the team who failed to support him and then, I believe, leak the information to the same level of accountability is as asinine as it is out of date. I just hope that Rodger’s last stop will be as heartwarming and redemptive as fellow Hall of Famer Tom Brady’s.