When the Green Bay Packers play their first home game of the 2023 NFL season at Lambeau Field in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints, it’ll be the first time since 1992 that neither Brett Favre nor Aaron Rodgers will be under center. While it’s arguably a product of their own doing, moving on from Hall of Fame quarterbacks is never an easy task, and neither is replacing them.
Jordan Love will take over as the third Green Bay quarterback in the last two decades. And while Rodgers will play this upcoming season with the New York Jets and still has a couple of years left in the tank, Peter Bukowski, host of Locked On Packers, said on the latest episode of the Short and To The Point podcast that the Packers were ready to move in a different direction.
“The reason I think it’s gotten so toxic is actually the reverse problem in New York,” Bukowski told Comeback Media’s Jessica Kleinschmidt. “They haven’t had a star quarterback since Joe Namath. We’re talking about 50-plus years. And so, they’re so starved for this moment that they don’t want to hear anything negative about Aaron Rodgers. They don’t want to hear about the reality of the situation from a Green Bay Packers standpoint that by the end, speaking of toxic, it had gotten a little toxic there.”
Bukowski mentioned that we aren’t all that far removed from draft night in 2021, in which ESPN’s Adam Schefter dropped an “absolute bombshell” that Rodgers was never going to play for the Green Bay Packers ever again. The same Schefter who Rodgers told to “lose his number” this past offseason.
“That is his position. Aaron Rodgers wanted guys fired,” said Bukowski. “He wanted massive cultural changes. He wanted a massive amount of more input in what was going on in Green Bay and the Packers said, ‘No. No. 1, we’re not gonna trade you. No. 2, we’re not gonna give you all this input.’ Now they gave him some. They traded for [veteran wide receiver] Randall Cobb, his buddy, but that was kind of it. They didn’t do a lot of other things. Now, they did give him a little bit more control of the offense. I thought that made the offense worse. Then, they gave him a little bit more in 2022. That definitely made the offense worse. And he didn’t buy in.
“The Packers were ready to see Aaron Rodgers go, just as Aaron Rodgers was ready to go this offseason. This was as amicable as a breakup can be between a superstar and a team that wasn’t injury-related. Like the [Indianapolis] Colts moved on from Peyton Manning, only because they were getting Andrew Luck, who was the most sure thing in the draft since Peyton Manning, at least, maybe since John Elway.”
That was a different situation, though. The Packers had Jordan Love. Part of moving on from Rodgers was to hand the keys over to the former first-round pick, whom the organization has thrown their support behind as the quarterback of the future.
“Part of moving on from Aaron Rodgers was just moving on from Aaron Rodgers,” Bukowski added. “And he gets the most money ever in a contract extension in 2022—$150 million, $50 million a year. [He] blamed Dianna Russini (now of The Athletic) who reported that he wanted to be the highest player in the league. And then guess what? He signed a contract to be the highest-paid player in the league. The numbers were a little different than what Dianna was reporting, but that really aggravated that he would go personally after a reporter who was reporting something accurately…That kind of stuff is really frustrating and it’s why a lot of Packer fans were just ready to see him go. Just ready to have a normal person play quarterback. And that’s hopefully what Jordan Love is. That’s what Jordan Love seems to be.”
Rodgers isn’t for everyone. Developing a reputation as one of the most polarizing figures in American sports, he presents contrarian views on everything from COVID vaccination to psychedelics. Whether it’s embarking on a four-day darkness retreat, cosplaying as Cameron Poe, or debuting a new tattoo, it’s hard to categorize Rodgers as “normal.”
But, Jets fans don’t seem to care, as Rodgers gives them a shot about ending the longest playoff drought in the four major sports leagues. If Love turns out to be a franchise quarterback, then it’s hard to envision this blockbuster trade as anything other than a win-win for both sides. It’s still interesting noting why the Packers wanted to move on from the future Hall of Fame quarterback, and while that shouldn’t just be glossed over, it seems at the very least that the 39-year-old Rodgers is rejuvenated and determined to win with his new team, who he’ll debut for on Monday, Sept. 11.
Short and to the Point with Jessica Kleinschmidt is available wherever you get your podcasts.