Well, it’s safe to say Aaron Rodgers had himself quite an unusual offseason. Most notably, of course, he flirted heavily with a divorce from the only franchise he’s ever known — even acknowledging upon his recent return to Green Bay that he contemplated retirement. Aside from this drama too, though, Rodgers involved himself in much more public drama than we’re used to seeing from NFL quarterbacks.
First, he made his relationship with actress Shailene Woodley a great deal more public, more or less setting the internet on fire when photos surfaced of the couple on vacation (along with actor Miles Teller and Teller’s wife, Keleigh). Then, he joined the growing list of guest Jeopardy! hosts, and did so well there was semi-serious speculation that he could become the permanent host. And most recently, Rodgers took his turn in “The Match,” a promotional event pitting two duos of one pro golfer and one other pro athlete each against one another. Alongside Bryson DeChambeau, Rodgers won the match (over Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson) with a surprising five birdie putts.
Now — thankfully — Rodgers is back. And while it sounds very much like we’re heading for a curtain call (at least in Green Bay), there’s hope that the competitor in him will win out, that he’ll have a great season, and that things can end on a high note. The image of Rodgers has changed though. It’s not as if he did anything wrong, but he took a clear leap from “prominent NFL quarterback” to “celebrity,” and seemed pretty determined to do so. Given this, as well as his acknowledgment of a potential looming retirement, we can’t help but wonder what off-field activity he might get up to next.
This is all just for fun, but there are some realistic possibilities that come to mind.
A Midseason Escape
Remember when LeBron James just took a two-week break from the Cleveland Cavaliers to fly back to Miami and recharge? The move is praised now as something that was necessary, and which allowed James to get his body right for the home stretch of that season. But in the moment, it felt like James wanting an escape, and perhaps being a little bit bigger than his team in his own eyes.
Hopefully we won’t see any such thing from Rodgers this year. But would you be surprised if we did? Say, come late November, we hear that Rodgers will be sitting out the Rams game to take an extra week before the early-December bye… and then we see photos of him skiing with Woodley, or getting some sun out in LA. Would those be shocking headlines at this point? Frankly, it seems pretty on brand for the “new” Aaron Rodgers. Let’s just hope if we’re right he comes back ready to lead a playoff push.
More TV Work
The idea of Rodgers becoming a permanent Jeopardy! host seems to have lost steam. But the bottom line is, he was really good. On top of that, he seemed to enjoy his foray into show business. For these simple reasons, it seems virtually guaranteed that he’ll find more work in host-like roles on television — whether it happens during the upcoming season or after. What this will look like exactly is impossible to guess. There could be another Jeopardy! stint, at least. We could imagine Rodgers guest hosting sports talk shows on ESPN or Fox Sports. It’s not even a stretch to imagine him getting his own game show, akin to Dwyane Wade’s The Cube.
Appearances on The Poker Circuit
The idea of Rodgers making his way onto the pro and/or celebrity poker circuit comes to us for two reasons. One is that it kind of just seems like a logical next step for a massive celebrity who appears to be enjoying his own fame a little bit more. The other is that there have been some indications over the years that Rodgers played a lot of poker back at Cal — though it’s unclear just how much validity there is to these stories. Nevertheless there are at least some who have cited Rodgers’s interest in the game.
Aside from all that, it’s a pretty logical hobby for a high-end quarterback to get into as well. Someone with a savant-like ability to master a playbook (and host trivia shows) should have no trouble calculating poker odds and recalling strategies in real time. A quarterback with such an innate ability to read defenses and see things a step ahead ought to read opponents well and stay calm under pressure. Basically, Rodgers has the skills to be a solid poker competitor — particularly if it is true that he was a regular poker player back in college.
A Bit of Basketball?
This may be even more of a shot in the dark than Rodgers joining the poker community. But Rodgers’s participation in “The Match” has to at least make you wonder what other sports he might have interest in also. He’s actually spoken before about how much he believes playing multiple sports growing up helped him, so we know he’s a little bit of an all-sport athlete. That includes basketball, which right now has a few more side shows than, say, baseball or soccer. In basketball for instance, competitions like 3×3 (now an Olympic sport) and “The Basketball Tournament” are practically made for semi-random celebrity participation. Granted, those celebrities usually have ties to basketball, but something tells us Rodgers is probably pretty good out on the court. Seeing him in one of these competitions — or at the very least the celebrity game at the NBA’s All-Star weekend — wouldn’t shock us.
Once again, this is all pretty much just-for-fun speculation, informed slightly by some Rodgers interests and the general direction in which he’s trending. The hope is that now that he’s back, Rodgers will be wholly focused on the NFL, and time will heal wounds with the Packers. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll fall in love with Green Bay all over again, have a great season in 2021, and decide to re-dedicate himself.
But at this point it’s easier to imagine a post-football celebrity journey for Rodgers, or at least a few hobbies alongside his main sport. Everything above at least seems to be on the table.