He secured his first of two consecutive regular season MVP awards while taking his team to the brink of a Super Bowl appearance, only to fall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady, the one QB who was universally considered to be better than him.
Entering his late 30s, Rodgers was one of a few superstars athletes, along with Brady and Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, who seemed to be openly defying age and mileage while enjoying nearly universal respect.
But over the last 18-24 months, that respect has seemingly evaporated after a series of missteps.
A Public Contract Dispute
Last offseason, it looked like there was a good chance Rodgers would leave the Packers, as he was engaged in a public dispute with them over contract negotiations.
It was deja vu, as he was in a similar situation following the 2020 campaign, a situation that ended with a restructuring of his contract that resulted in him becoming a free agent last spring.
But when the Packers fell apart in the 2021 divisional round and lost to the San Francisco 49ers, Rodgers seemed to openly criticize their front office.
He ended up returning on a three-year, $150.8 million extension, but he lost his top wide receiver, Davante Adams, who was shipped off to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Many blame Rodgers’ big contract for the Adams trade, as it slammed Green Bay against the salary cap, and now many believe the QB is all about himself rather than his team.
This season, the Packers surged late in the season after an anemic start, but their loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday ended their playoff hopes.
But what hurt Rodgers’ image even more was his COVID-19 vaccine controversy.
Last season, when he was asked by a reporter if he was vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, he replied “Yeah, I’m immunized” even though he had undergone a homeopathic treatment that doesn’t target the virus.
It was then found he had violated several league rules relating to COVID-19 safety protocols, and to make matters worse, he promoted widely debunked COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theories.
With the Packers’ season over, once again there is speculation Rodgers has played his last game for them.
Jameson Williams asked Aaron Rodgers for his jersey after the game.
Aaron's response: “I’m gonna hold on to this one.”
Let the speculation begin…pic.twitter.com/zU6CmcCfV3
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) January 9, 2023
If he has, it will be a dispirited ending to what has otherwise been a Hall of Fame career.