Remember those first bizarre days of the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020? You’d wake up in the morning to the disorienting realization that virtually all businesses were closed, that you were only supposed to leave your house for essential supplies, and even that modest errand seemed like a foray into a sci-fi dystopia. Maybe this would only last for a couple of uncomfortable weeks, but a nagging voice in your brain kept suggesting it could be much longer. How could we possibly navigate this strange new reality, where even the familiar and the comforting were rendered dark and foreboding by the doomcloud hanging just overhead?
Look, I’m not saying that the latest round of the What Will Aaron Rodgers Do Saga is the equivalent of a global pandemic. For one thing, there seems to be no effective treatment for Aaron Rodgers — government-approved or otherwise. Even alternative therapies have proven ineffective. (I do know a guy who’s got something to calm your nerves during the whole ordeal, but what he’s selling isn’t technically legal in Wisconsin.)
For Green Bay Packers fans, the melodrama that has played out ever since Brian Gutekunst first uttered the words, “So, what do we think about this Jordan Love guy?” never seems to crescendo. Instead, the beat goes on. And on, and on, and on. Over the past three years, there have been occasional periods of calm, but the quarterback controversy seems unstoppably resurgent. It’s as though all of Wisconsin is suffering from Long Aaron Rodgers, and all the horse de-wormer in Mr. Ed’s medicine cabinet won’t flush it out of their collective system.
Whether you stan for No. 12 or think his ever-smuggening personality and seemingly bottomless self-regard have made him more trouble than he’s worth, we can all agree that this Groundhog Day loop of a narrative is wearing on our last, brittle nerves. Whatever it is that Rodgers and the Green Bay front office are going to decide, we just want them to, in the immortal words of Mel Brooks and Rick Moranis:
Maddening as it is, there’s no reason to tear your hair out and run around in frantic circles. It wont expedite the process, and people will just mistake you for Zach Wilson. Much like life in lockdown, we hunkered down, learned to adapt, and now things are pretty much back to normal.
So, if you’re feeling at your wit’s end, here are a few helpful tips to make it through another Aaron Rodgers Saga mentally unscathed. Or at least only slightly scathed.
You Are Now Amish On Tuesdays
Perhaps the No. 1 most important step you can take for your mental health is to convert to a new religion every Tuesday. Specifically, Amish. I know you’re not Amish already because you’re reading this on a website. (On the off chance you are Amish, happy Rumspringa!)
Every Tuesday, Rodgers goes on to one of the most popular sports talk shows in America to wax…let’s say philosophical (?) while host Pat McAfee flexes and gazes at his own biceps in a mirror located directly behind his webcam. Rogers always has something to say, even when there is nothing to say. That might be when he talks the most.
And every single week Twitter and the national sports media gobble up every word and digest it faster than a Taco Bell dinner combo. The final product is about as appealing as any post-consumption Taco Bell fare. And while you are more than welcome to pick through the sports media’s, um, “leavings” for clues about the future, I’d suggest just getting a Magic 8-Ball instead. Or, even better, totally unplug.
On Tuesdays, you are now Amish. Place your cellphone in a watertight container and sink it to the bottom of your aquarium. Or, if you’re not a fish person, bury it in your backyard. Your laptop computer? That’s just a weird, rectangular frisbee that’s no fun to throw.
Of course, the next day come back to Zone Coverage to catch up on the sports news you missed. Don’t worry, we’re all also ignoring the McAfee noise until something substantial actually happens. How do you think we’re all so well-adjusted?
Go For A Long Walk
Yes, it’s cold in Wisconsin, cold enough to invoke the well-digger’s rear end, the witch’s bosom, and the brass monkey’s cajones. Perfect.
Put on your coat and some good snow boots and step outside. Walk around the block. Hell, walk around the whole neighborhood. Studies have shown that walking is among the best exercises and stress relievers known to man. Not only will your endorphins start firing, but that brutal Wisconsin cold will numb your ears, and then your nose, and then your whole face. Embrace the numbness. When you can no longer feel, that’s when Aaron Rodgers can’t hurt you anymore.
(Note: Don’t walk outside in the snow for too long. Zone Coverage is not responsible for any frostbite incurred on your stress walks.)
Have A Drink
Wait, this is Wisconsin. You’re way ahead of me.
Actually, might I suggest a refreshing sparkling water?
Look, if Rodgers splits, it’s not the end of the world.
Even if he won’t take his own advice, heed the man’s words. Relax.
He’s one of the all-time great QBs, without a doubt, but he’s pushing 40. The Aaron Rodgers Experience is coming to an end a lot sooner than later, regardless, and the final chapter of most quarterbacks’ career is rarely steeped in glory. This isn’t the equivalent of a rookie Drew Brees refusing to play for your favorite team.
With their recent hiring of OC Nathaniel Hackett, all the smoke around the New York Jets might be proof of a fire. The idea of going to the New York Jets specifically to win a championship seems like slapstick strategy — what’s he gonna do next, take up basketball with the Washington Generals? — but maybe Mr. R-E-L-A-X really is angling to be Mr. J-E-T-S (Jets! Jets! Jets!). Remember the last time a Green Bay legend decided to flash his Croc to the Big Apple? That’s how we got here in the first place.
Jordan Love looked pretty feisty in his limited playing time this season, better than he’s ever looked before. Maybe the Groundhog Day loop will work in Green Bay’s favor, and they’ll usher in another star on the heels of a departing Hall of Famer. Chances are Love won’t be gold jacket material, but he may indeed be quite good. And, even if he fizzles, he — or someone else entirely — is the future, and that new day is just around the corner.
Fighting that won’t change anything. Obsessing over the endless updates won’t speed the plow. It’s a big, mostly beautiful league out there, with plenty of great football to come in 2023. There are 1,664 starting roster spots in the NFL. Let’s not drive ourselves mad over one of them and focus on the other 1,663.