Typically I do not watch NFL press conferences, because if you have seen one, you have basically seen all of them. However, that was not the case with Green Bay quarterback (QB) Aaron Rodgers’ recent press conference. It was one for the ages.
NFL guys can usually talk for long periods of time without really saying anything, and they are masters at rhetoric and circle talk. I am not even sure the press asks any questions that have not been pre-approved. Most of the press conferences are like watching paint dry.
However, that all changed when Rodgers stepped up to the podium on July 28.
Honestly, it was the most bizarre press conference I have ever seen in 40 years of watching NFL football. It was raw, it was real and I cannot believe the Packers organization allowed it. It must have been one of the “conditions” Rodgers had when he agreed to return for the 2021 season.
In essence it was close to 32 minutes that reminded me more of a coup attempt than anything else. Rodgers tried to be somewhat graceful as a bull running through a china shop as he openly continued strategically undermining the team’s infrastructure. It is nothing new. He has been doing it from the moment he made his remarks walking off the field after losing the NFC Championship game this past season. The press conference is something you will have go see for yourself. It is otherwise challenging to properly frame his arrogant manipulative selfishness.
The most concerning part of Rodgers’ controlled tantrum was the fact the Packers actually have responded and brought back wide receiver Randall Cobb because that is what he wanted. The fact he actually got a player back on the roster that otherwise would not be there based on Packers’ general manager (GM) Brian Gutekunst’s remarks, is flat out alarming. And the most disturbing part of the press conference is Rodgers actually believes he should “be in the discussion” involving personnel decisions.
I am sorry to tell you Aaron Rodgers, you are the QB, you are not the GM. Apparently Rodgers does not understand an org chart and he does not seem to respect chain of command. It was enough to make Vince Lombardi roll over in his grave.
Someone needs to cool his ass off. I know if I was the GM in Green Bay, he would have been long gone by now. I would have cut him in a heartbeat. The last thing the Packers or any team needs is a QB who has gone rogue. His recent remarks should also be enough to alarm every single NFL GM and anyone else in an NFL front office because his conduct sets clear future precedence for players wake up one morning and use the media to try to hijack team leadership and attempt to take over. What is stopping a player like Ezekiel Elliott from coming out and questioning past and current roster moves of the Dallas Cowboys at a press conference? The short answer, nothing.
It is none of Rodgers business who Green Bay drafts, signs or cuts. His job description (since he has forgotten it) is as the Packers’ QB. That is it – – and that is the way it has always been. Players do not run teams. Despite the fact I personally have offered various players the opportunity to be my assistant GM if they could help me secure a GM interview with an owner, I do not believe in how Rodgers is trying to do this. In my scenario, I am inviting a player to potentially be the first ever dual-role player/front office executive in NFL history and to have say from the field level. In Rodgers’ scenario he is just trying to push himself around in the personnel department.
Shame on the Green Bay Packers organization for allowing this to take place. This is a team sport and with Rodgers current frame of mind, he is the most ill-equipped leader I have ever seen under center. He is not demonstrating any of the known leadership characteristics that are necessary to successfully lead a team. It takes a hell of a lot more than an arm. The game is won or lost from the neck up and it also takes the ability to get grown millionaires to follow. He has literally made this entire off-season grossly about himself and he has done everything in his power to undermine his team’s chances and the Packers’ front office. Rodgers may have “cleared the clutter” from his head as he says it, but clearly the way he is talking, it seems more like he has taken one too many shots to the head.
Right now Rodgers is dangerous, very dangerous and I do not mean his QB rating. Rodgers is a very real threat to the entire infrastructure of the National Football League. Without respected organizational hierarchy and a proper chain of command, none of the way front offices are structured works any longer. Our entire society is set up differently than the fantasy world that Rodgers envisions where he (and maybe others) are in this forced pseudo self-appointed “consultant” role based on their own sense of entitlement.
I get that Rodgers is trying to subtly use his platform to lobby to become the next GM of the Green Bay Packers, but he has pushed way past the point of no return and his conduct has gone way too far. Troy Aikman has been able to lobby for the Cowboys GM job subtly, but as a member of the media. Nobody ever heard Aikman go off half-cocked like Rodgers did back when he was winning Super Bowls in Dallas.
Someone needs to put an end to this madness before it gets worse. No player has the right to stand up in front of the media and list off a name of players he feels the organization did wrong and by doing so be allowed to undermine the authority of who made those decisions. If he wants to do that he can start a You Tube channel like the rest of us. He cannot stand at a Packers podium and do that.
Rodgers needs to be immediately cut, forced into retirement and banned from the Pro Football Hall of Fame for conduct detrimental to the game. I am telling you right now, if this is allowed to go on any further, we will start seeing this type of thing pop up all over the league and every GM in the NFL will have wished it was handled properly back when this article came out. Hire me in Green Bay and I will show the world how to handle Rodgers in my opening press conference.
Nobody is up for a season of Rodgers playing arm-chair GM and using his air time to push himself around and publicly question and criticize everything, least of all the Green Bay Packers.
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.