This story from Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writer Rob Reischel on Aaron Rodgers’ leadership skills certainly got a chuckle from Viking fans. The piece contends, rather strongly in fact, that though Rodgers is certainly a great quarterback, he is far from a great leader. Reischel cites many many examples of Rodgers behaving in a way that some might characterize as “Cutler-esque.” Here he describes some of Rodgers’ more questionable locker room antics:
Aaron Rodgers, one of the leaders of the Green Bay Packers, sat alone at his locker, staring aimlessly around the room. Rodgers was asked if he’d talk about the season that just ended. “Nope,” Rodgers said. Instead, Rodgers began eavesdropping on an interview linebacker Desmond Bishop was conducting. After each question, Rodgers made a snide remark about the queries loud enough for anyone within earshot to hear. “I can’t believe they’d ask that,” Rodgers said. “Nice question,” he said another time. Finally, doing his best Drew Rosenhaus, Rodgers bellowed, “Next question.” Instead of preparing for the NFC Championship Game, Rodgers was now critiquing reporters. It’s this type of leadership that had some taking shots at the 2011 most valuable player this season.
Reischel then lists multiple instances where Rodgers was called out on his lack of leadership. Jermichael Finley’s agent said, “ARod is a great QB he isn’t a great leader. Leaders take the blame & make every1 better. He doesn’t.” Shannon Sharpe said, “He strikes me as a guy that, it’s always someone else’s fault other than his own.” Then of course there was Greg Jennings’ sister who famously crushed Rodgers on Twitter after the playoff loss to San Francisco. “ARod is the most overrated QB in the league! He is no where near Peyton or Brady! It sickens me, Peyton would avg. 5 TD with this squad!!!”
Okay some of these people have an agenda, I admit that. But let’s delve into some other interesting examples of Rodgers coming up short in the “team guy” department. What about when he called out the scout team? A lot of people questioned that move. How about him always sticking his nose into discussions about personnel? Lobbying for Charles Woodson to stay. Telling Mike McCarthy to pull Randall Cobb from special teams. Pressuring McCarty to bench Jeff Saturday in favor of Evan Dietrich-Smith. Is this how a leader acts? Or is this how a selfish prima donna acts?
Speaking of selfish prima donnas…to me these were the money lines from Reischel’s piece:
A little more than a decade ago, Brett Favre was in the process of becoming larger than the Packers organization. Green Bay must now do all it can to ensure that never happens with Rodgers.
Unfortunately I believe the Packers are fighting a losing battle here. To me Rodgers has a lot of characteristics reminiscent of Favre. He has a massive chip on his shoulder. He seems to like media attention maybe a little too much. He has somewhat of a contentious relationship with people in the organization, possibly because he thinks he knows better than they do. But the biggest problem for the Packers? The reality of the Green Bay fan culture. Great QBs become heroes in other places, but in the Green Bay fish bowl, where football is arguably way too important and personal a thing, they become gods. Packer fan are in the process of deifying Rodgers the same way they did Favre. And I believe it will end the same way it ended with Favre. They will place this guy on such a high pedestal, he comes to believe he is bigger than the team. Bigger even than the league.
Rodgers and Favre both strike me as somewhat insecure guys. The signs are there anyway. Remember Rodgers’ 60 Minutes interview where he got all bent out of shape about a comment about his height? Insecure guys like that, their psyches all full of holes longing to be filled, are more susceptible to the darker ramifications of fan adulation. They slurp it up. They fall in love with their own larger-than-life myth. They go full diva on it. Won’t be long before the Packers are letting Rodgers skip training camp. Then they’ll draft a young QB to take his place and Rodgers will resent him and refuse to mentor him. Before long the Packers will be dumping Rodgers, and Packer fans will be turning on him the same way they did with Favre. The cycle is repeating itself and I don’t believe anything can stop it.