Advertising campaigns and social media managers’ stranglehold on the general public is no joke. Social media managers have an entire world’s worth of people held at the end of a string, waiting for the latest post from which people draw thousands of (mostly wrong) conclusions.
Fans had a fair share of scrutiny for a recent promotion for the upcoming Green Bay Packers game in London. See for yourself. Who is missing?
I (and many other writers) have written ad infinitum about the media circus that has surrounded Aaron Rodgers and the Packers the last couple of years. It’s all about whether he’s playing or not playing, or the things he has said or didn’t say. The all-encompassing egomaniacal sphere that Rodgers has curated is fueling a media storm the likes of which has not been matched in recent NFL history.
So, when a photo like this comes out and doesn’t include Rodgers, takes abound.
- The Packers are trading him to Denver!
- Rodgers is going to retire!
- Is Jordan Love going to be any good?
The headlines go on.
The recent scrutiny of this photo brings to light something that is perhaps a greater cultural issue in the NFL. The deification of the QB position is one of the league’s biggest detractors.
No other sports have one particular position that stands out as much and is as essential to a team’s success. Quarterbacks are the signal-callers, the shepherds and sages of the field that dictate the flow of play. Quarterbacks are also, historically speaking, predominantly white.
So, when fans are wringing their hands over something as simple as a team-oriented gag photo like this, it calls into question the legitimacy of these outcries. Sure, Rodgers is the reigning MVP. But the unspoken necessity that the Packers need to feature him in every single promotion is one borne out of dependency and a pyramid-influenced sense of structure. The prevailing mindset is that Rodgers is unquestionably the most important player on the roster, so the result of this thinking is that he should receive as much screen time as possible.
The fallout from this QB worship detracts from the greatness of the other players on not only Green Bay’s roster but across the league. Often this is coming at the expense of Black players in different positions. Green Bay would not have soared to the No. 1 seed in the NFC without the talents of Rashan Gary and Aaron Jones. Jaire Alexander and David Bakhtiari, who were next in line, are some of the franchise’s most critical long-term players whose 2021 seasons were marred by injury, so their return to the field deserves as much promotion as possible. Lastly, there is head coach Matt LaFleur, for whom one could make an argument that he was a snub for Coach of the Year.
The point to be made here is that all of these players matter. Football is a team sport, after all. That’s something that seems to be forgotten, and that notion is thrown out the window even further with counting statistics like QB Wins. It’s to the detriment of the most talented players in the sport solely because they do not touch the ball on every play.
Because of this, the player-fan experience in the NFL is inevitably flawed. Many players exist in the shadows for their entire careers because their positions do not garner the attention of the casual viewer. Instead of choosing to overcome this phenomenon, the NFL and its teams seek to perpetuate it in the interest of marketing and promotion.
Ultimately, who cares whether or not Rodgers is in this photo?
That public reception stands to be a problem that football will face so long as it exists. It’s magnified when the QBs in question are both prolific and media magnets. Aaron Rodgers likely won’t be going anywhere in 2022, but it is great for clicks and cash to post things that people could interpret otherwise. We’ll get these reactionary exclamations from simple posts like some Packers players walking on Abbey Road, but that is more emblematic of problems within American sports culture.