1_4PackersAaronRodgers (Yes, this is a continuation of thoughts that I wrote here…)

The quarterback is an arrogant SOB? Hang on, before I continue this post, let me go find my shocked and/or surprised face.

*wanders off and roots in desk*

Enough with the righteous indignation. Hubris, arrogance—whatever you want to call it is part and parcel to the definition of a quarterback.  If you don’t think egos play a huge role in professional sports, then you haven’t been paying attention.

Let’s get this out there before I get going: I am not defending Aaron Rodgers. I don’t know the guy, will never know the guy and have never been a fly on the wall in the Packers locker room. But I’m sure he can be a very nice guy. But you can’t take control of a football team and win championships by just being a nice guy. Nice guys finish where? Oh that’s right: last.

So is he a hubris laden buffoon who’s bought into his own brand of bollocks that thinks his poo does not stink or is he the squeaky clean nice guy from Northern California that others depict him?

Chances are, he’s somewhere in between both caricatures.

Again, I don’t know the guy.  Since I will never interface with him personally, that’s really not my problem.What we see is Rodgers playing the role of quarterback.  We don’t get glimpses into his personal life. Where my life intersects with his is football.  And he wins games. So, he’s okay in my book.

That myth that fans want to perpetuate, you know, that one where the pro athlete really is flawless, loves puppies and Christmas and can cure cancer with his mere touch has been around since there was such a thing as a professional sport. Fans seem to have this fatal flaw of putting these men (or women) up on pedestals only to be crushed when the stark reality smacks them between the eyes that players aren’t gods.

They’re just slobs like the rest of us.

So about Rodgers…He’s taken plenty of heat for his so-called leadership style. With all the daggers to the back, I’m sure he feels a little like a pin cushion this summer. Some of is likely warranted, but some is just par for the course. With all the egos fighting to be alpha dog in the locker room, the quarterback becomes the first and easiest target. The quarterback is the face of the franchise. And if you’re hacked off about your former employer, your former QB because the embodiment of the team you now hate.

And if you think a QB has an ego the size of Montana, take a gander those that wide receivers have.  Of course they want to hog the limelight. It’s the QB that, pending any dramatic turn in the game (or you’re just plain odious to the point of Ben Roethlisberger so you have to default to someone else) the winning QB is typically the one who is the Super Bowl MVP. They get all the credit when a teams does well. (And also becomes the goat when a team sucks dead toads through a straw.)

If you’re a WR who just played the game of his life, scoring twice in front of millions watching Super Bowl XLV, don’t you think you’d be hoping and praying that they would give you the keys to the car and the MVP trophy? Hell, I honestly thought Jennings had earned it while I sat in the end zone in Dallas. But then again, if it weren’t for an accurate QB, Jennings would not have scored twice. So ultimately the accolade was Rodgers’.

I often wonder if Jennings had believed he’d been robbed of that MVP trophy. Before that, he wasn’t talking about walking. He was Rodgers’ first lieutenant. Everything was hunky dory in Packerland. Perhaps Jennings was chafed the Disneyland trip didn’t help further the Jennings, Inc. brand.

But that’s the thing about receivers. The quarterback is your best friend as long as he keeps feeding you the ball and making you look good.  He’s an evil bastard when you’re no longer his favored child. I swear to god, receivers are no better than toddlers with a huge case of Look at Me that tantrum and fight for their mother’s attention.

Actually, the toddlers are better behaved, I think. Even when they’re kicking and screaming.

And what about Driver bashing Rodgers for not saying taking the fall for when receivers run bad routes and the ball is either intercepted or drops incomplete?

Excuse me? Did I hear Quickie right?

I think he meant to say, “Screw the evil QB and his giant ego, but don’t dare bruise mine by pointing out that I totally screwed up the play!”

Yup, that’s what Quickie said.

Here’s the deal, it isn’t acceptable in most lines of work, and it isn’t acceptable in the NFL either. How childish would it sound if the Secretary of State decided he wanted to send Vladimir Putin a box of chocolate because he’s feeling magnanimous and told his aide, “Send him a box of Chocolate Covered Cherry Bombs,” and the Secretary of Defense misheard him and decided to send Moscow a dozen nuclear bombs instead.  Now ask yourself which one of these guys screwed the pooch, blew it big time and should man up for his mistake? Who has to resign for their stupidity?

Yes it’s a ridiculous hyperbole, thanks for noticing. But that’s along the lines of what Driver expects of his quarterback, apparently.

What an asinine expectation. That’s choosing a patsy to make you look better, not the qualities of a solid leader. But apparently if you’re a wide receiver, you’d rather have sunshine blown up your ass than be accountable for your own mistakes. After all, losers don’t get Old Spice or Gatorade deals.

So Rodgers was a jerk and chewed you out in front of your peers. Man up and own your own mistakes!

Here’s the deal with quarterbacks: they weren’t drafted high in the first round to make you personally look good. They were brought into the fold to make the team look good and hopefully win a championship or two along the line.

Sure, Rodgers is still criticized for being a cocky, arrogant little thing after the 2005 draft. But remember he was 22 at the time. Think of all the stupid stuff you did and said at that age. And then there’s the string of embarrassing Tweets he lobbed at Braun’s critics. Rather immature and inflammatory if you ask me. Reeked of hubris and a chip on his shoulder that only seemed to grow bigger.

They say time, age, maturity and experience tempers behavior. We aren’t the children we were when we graduated college. We’re different at 20 than we are at 30. And hopefully we’ve grown as people even more by the time we hit 40. I’m pretty sure that Rodgers’ crap stinks like the rest of ours, but I’ve think he’s learned his lesson of Unload First, Think Later.

Maybe Rodgers is too busy pulling daggers out of his back to respond, or perhaps he’s matured enough to not fly off when baited. To me, that is the sign of a strong leader. If you want to gain the respect of your peers, you don’t stoop your adversary’s level when they’re slinging mud. Instead, he’s taking the high road much like he did when baited after the Packers’ victory against Titans. Remember what he said then that everyone lauded?

Shhhhhhhhhhhhh.

A quarterback is one part brains, another part physical prowess and, a final part hubris. They are groomed from their Pop Warner years that they are better than others, that they have the skills and personas to command the respect and leadership of a team. They are a product of their formation.

Is Aaron Rodgers like that in all aspects of his life? You and I will never know. Quite frankly, I don’t give a rip about his personal life. But there are plenty who want to knock him down for it and paint him with a wide brush that he’s an arrogant ass. But take a guess who also are arrogant, egotistical, full-of-themselves leaders? Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Jim McMahon, Bill Parcells, Mike Ditka, George Steinbrenner,  and Derek Jeter.

Now ask yourself what these men have in common. Here’s a hint, look at their fingers and the giant, diamond encrusted rings that they sometimes wear.

Because seriously, what’s the alternative? An insecure QB that is neither respect by his teammates nor has the capabilities to set the tone of the team?

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Exhibit A, Mark Sanchez.  Need I say more?

But he wins games. And to summarize, Charles Woodson said it best today, “A couple years ago, we were 15-1, and if we have any other quarterback other than Aaron Rodgers, we’re 7-9.”

Stop idolizing athletes. At the end of the day, the quarterback isn’t there to be your friend. He’s not there hold your hand and sign Kumbaya. He’s not there to take the fall when you blow it.  Aaron Rodgers is far from perfect. He probably curses like a sailor when the cameras are off him. He likely doesn’t drive the speed limit. And he likely can be as big of a jerk as you or me during one of lesser fine moments. He’s human, forty six chromosomes that gave him bushy eyebrows that like to meet in the middle, and no frailties when it comes to Krytonite. Well, unless you throw it at him. That might leave a mark.

 

 

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