Rodgers plays a mean game of waiting
Say what you will about Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers; the man is extremely well preserved. Pristine; practically untouched by human hands. Hermetically sealed and stored in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnall’s porch since noon yesterday.
Well, since early 2005, anyway. We didn’t come here to discuss old Johnny Carson routines, however, but instead to watch Rodgers actually operate in an ambulatory fashion for a change. He had the good fortune – or incredible bad luck, depending on how one looks at it – to be taken by the Green Bay Packers in the 2005 NFL Draft; the 24th player chosen overall, and second quarterback. That earned the former Cal standout a front-row seat for the Brett Favre Experience, which annually includes many spills and thrills, but rarely any playing time for the backup guy. Favre is practically indestructible of course, and Rodgers had run out of options, save the chance acquisition of a large lump of Kryptonite.
And so Rodgers got a crash course in Frustration 101, with a masters degree in “You have got to be $#%@*&% kidding me!” during the past offseason. This is when, as you may recall, Favre took exactly forever and a day to decide if he would retire. The “will he or won’t he” routine lasted for months, with Rodgers presumably rising to his feet with every retirement rumor – like a kid watching a long drive at a baseball game, then sinking back into his seat when the ball curves foul.
So yeah, golf. It’s something Rodgers can do without being called back to the bench after two plays. He’ll be back in that position in the fall (Favre has decided not to retire), but not before taking out his frustrations on various Titleists at the American Century Celebrity Championship at Edgewood-Tahoe.
To his credit, Rodgers will not play the victim card. He downplays his lack of playing time, and generally talks as if the whole thing doesn’t bother him that much.
“Last year, I think I learned at length that there are things that are beyond your control,” Rodgers said on Wednesday. “Basically the thing is that Brett’s in charge, and we are waiting on him. I still have a lot to learn in this game, and so I’m taking advantage of this as an opportunity to observe and learn more.”
These are impressive diplomatic skills. If, say, Zinedine Zidane possessed them, France might be World Cup soccer champions. Truly, what else is Rodgers going to say? We can’t imagine the following, for instance:
“Favre is so 1980s, man. I wish that guy would get his Hoveround scooter out of the way so that the world can experience my greatness. Go to bed, old man!”
Well, Aaron, we thought we noticed some subtle, between-the-lines sub-communication as we were talking, so we said it for you. You’re welcome.
This is the second American Century Championship for Rodgers.
“I love it here,” he said. “It’s in a small town that reminds me of Chico, where I grew up. How can you beat the atmosphere, and the way you are treated? It’s the best week of the summer for me.”
And it’s one place where he won’t be treated like a backup.
– Rick Chandler is the associate editor of Deadspin.com. He can be contacted at RickChand@gmail.com.
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