Photo Credit: All-Pro Reels, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Finally! Somebody did it! The Decision 2.0!
Aaron Rodgers followed up in LeBron James’s esteemed footsteps today. For the first time since Bron Bron pioneered the concept of making a spectacle of one’s own free agency, a world-class athlete declared his intentions to play for a new team. Congratulations Aaron, you’ve – wait a minute…are you telling me Aaron Rodgers isn’t actually a free agent? He still plays for the Green Bay Packers??
It’s true. After keeping the NFL world on its toes with darkness retreats and vague allusions to his playing future, Rodgers boldly proclaimed on the Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday that his “intention” was to play for the New York Jets – provided the Jets and Packers come to a trade agreement, of course. It was no different than LeBron’s Decision almost 13 years ago. Except, well, a couple differences. Maybe three.
LeBron James was actually a free agent who controlled his destiny. Aaron Rodgers is not.
LeBron was coming off an exceptional season in which he finished 2nd in the NBA in points per game, 6th in assists per game, won his second-straight MVP and led the Cavaliers to the Eastern Conference Finals. Rodgers is coming off an unexceptional season in which he was 11th in the NFL in passing yards, threw the second-most interceptions of his career, and led the Packers to a meaty 8 - 9 record in which they were knocked out of playoff contention by, of all teams, the Detroit Lions.
LeBron was 25-years old when he made his free-agency Decision and was entering the prime of his career. Rodgers is 39-years old and is entering the twilight of his career.
LeBron’s Decision benefited the Boys & Girls Club and raised over $2.5 million. Rodgers’s Decision 2.0 benefited Pat McAfee’s show and Aaron Rodgers and…the Jets? Maybe? Kinda?
Say what you will about LeBron James, but selfishness probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Sure, he can have wild takes on a wild number of subjects, but at least he had the decency to not make The Decision all about him and raised money for children. Rodgers? Not so much.
So, congratulations, Aaron Rodgers. You’re a New York Jet (almost). You’ll lead this team to a division title (oh wait, the Bills are in the way). You’ll lead this team to a Wild Card spot (oh shoot, there’s the Dolphins). You’ll lead this team somewhere (guaranteed).
All of this is to say, who cares? This Rodgers story got stale quickly. So he sat in the dark for a few days. Big deal. I’ll sit in the dark for a week but all anyone will do is call me an incel.
This is a win for the Packers. Yeah, Rodgers is/was a great player. But his time on stage is coming to an end, and the third act has been a weird, uncomfortable downer. Like a has-been Hollywood actor making one, last-ditch effort at relevance with a stint on Broadway, Rodgers is hoping for a similar career revival in the Big Apple. For a man who just spent three or four days in the dark, though, he City that Never Sleeps feels like an awkward fit.