Aaron Rodgers: The Man, THE MYTH

In the spring of 2002, Aaron Charles Rodgers graduated from Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, CA. Desperate to play quarterback at the collegiate level, young Rodgers couldn’t find any takers. It got so bad, nobody would even play catch with him at the park. Little kids laughed when he offered to act as “all time quarterback” in their touch football games.

Rodgers love of the sport however, led him to accept the water boy position for the football team at Butte Community College in nearby Oroville, CA. Then, on one particularly hot day in August, the team’s quarterback was late for practice. Rodgers, always the industrious type, began to warm up the receivers. The head coach, previously oblivious to the gawky water boy, nearly swallowed his whistle. Aaron Rodgers got his big break.

After a standout year at BCC, Rodgers yearned to take his talents to a higher level. The only four-year institution to offer him a shot however, was tiny University of California at Berkeley. Playing in the obscure Pacific 10 conference, Rodgers continued to shine, leading the Golden Bears to victory on Saturdays and helping old ladies across the street during the week. He had finally arrived…or had he?

After two years at Berkeley, Rodgers decided he was ready to for the NFL. But on draft day, it became clear the NFL was not ready for him. Team after team passed on the young signal caller. Minutes went by, yet Rodgers name was not called. He was stuck in the green room without food or water.

Unfazed by this traumatic experience, Rodgers took matters into his own hands. Lacking a reliable car or cash for a plane ticket, the resourceful youngster jumped into a box and traveled via UPS Ground to Lambeau field. Forced to buy a jersey in the team’s pro shop, Rodgers snuck onto the practice field and began winging balls around with his golden right arm.

With iron man Brett Favre on their roster, the Packers really didn’t need a backup quarterback, but general manager Ted Thompson liked what he saw from this diamond in the rough and, over Favre’s objections, kept Rodgers around. Unable to afford his own place on an NFL player’s salary, Rodgers found a roommate and rented a small apartment in Green Bay on a month-to-month lease.

Hoping to learn from one of the game’s all time greats, Rodgers naively courted Favre’s approval, but the veteran barely acknowledged him. As mean as Favre was to our hero, Rodgers never let it affect his resolve or positive outlook. After two years however, it appeared Favre had begun to thaw and actually invited “Eric” over for Christmas dinner. When Rodgers showed up, he found a seat a reserved for him…at the kiddie table.

Following the 2007 season, Favre finally retired and the path to glory was cleared for Rodgers. Quickly seizing the opportunity, he led the Packers to a 6-10 season in 2008. When Favre resurfaced with the hated Minnesota Vikings in 2009, Rodgers was forced to confront his demons. While Favre’s Vikings bested Rodgers’ Packers twice that season, it was clear to all objective observers they had cheated.

Despite Favre’s treachery, Rodgers still led the Packers to a playoff appearance. Although the Pack fell to Arizona in the wild card round, it was only because the Cardinals also cheated by grabbing Rodgers facemask on the game’s final play. Rodgers shook off the injustice the same way he deals with all negative experiences: by saying and doing everything the right way.

In 2010, the stars aligned for the QB. Having learned what not to do from Favre - have an engaging personality and throw interceptions - Rodgers used his natural ability and superior intellect to lead the Packers to a Super Bowl victory over Pittsburgh, besting Favre’s cheating Vikings twice along the way.

At the time of this writing, the Packers are 9-0 and on their way to an undefeated season. Rodgers meanwhile, is universally accepted as the greatest football player of all time.

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