What Does The Future Hold for Two Future Hall Of Famers?
A simple glance at the headlines prior to Saturday night would have pegged the Green Bay Packers as the favorite to win the Super Bowl. Instead, Aaron Rodgers lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs for the second time in just three years. Rodgers walked into the tunnel with laser vision and some have speculated that will be the final time he steps on that field representing the Packers.
The following day, as the clock ticked down to zero at Raymond James Stadium, for only the 12th time in his 21-year career would Tom Brady be out of the NFL playoffs without hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Now, as the NFL moves on to crown a champion without two of its brightest stars, speculation has run rampant and many are wondering what lies ahead for both men.
Starting with Rodgers, this season was full of peaks and valleys.
Rodgers is the favorite to win the AP NFL MVP and will net his fourth trophy. He also piloted the Packers to the first seed in the NFC, a division title and a regular season record of 13-4. Rodgers is still playing at an unbelievably high level despite being 38, he finished the season with 4,115 yards, 37 TDs and 4 INTs.
Despite his on the field performance, off the field the season has been a different story. Rodgers began the season ingrained in conversations about whether he would report to camp, retire or even become the new host of “Jeopardy.” Rodgers then caught COVID-19 and it was reported that he was unvaccinated, and his takes on the pandemic soon found him embroiled in controversy.
Despite all that, Rodgers seemed to finally find a sympatico relationship with the front office. Now, with his retooled contract about to expire, Rodgers said he “isn’t interested in sticking around for a Packers rebuild.” However, out of respect for his teammates, Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future sooner rather than later.
The team, though, has mentioned their desire to retain star wideout Davante Adams either with an extension or the franchise tag and retain other free agents. Although Rodgers has repaired his bond with the franchise, this feels like the time for both sides to split.
The Packers can look to add a veteran or proceed forward with former first round selection Jordan Love. As for Rodgers, the landing spot that comes to mind is in Denver with the Broncos. The team is looking for a new head coach and it just so happens Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett is a finalist for the job. If the team inks Hackett and Rodgers does ultimately decide to continue playing football and opts against staying put, then Rodgers to the Broncos makes the most sense.
As for Tom Brady, the Buccaneer quarterback and New England Patriots legend has been more inconclusive about his future than ever before saying on the “Let’s Go!” podcast, “I said this a few years ago, it’s what relationships are all about,” he continued. “It’s not always what I want. It’s what we want as a family. And I’m gonna spend a lot of time with them and figure out in the future what’s next.”
This quote doesn’t give a lot of indication one way or another, other than reiterating Brady’s family values which have always been known. The more telling quote truly may be Buccaneer’s tight end Rob Gronkowski who said, “If they’re like, ‘Rob, you’ve got to decide right now, right this second if you’re playing next year,’ I would say no right now.”
Given Gronkowski’s past comments about only wanting to play with Brady, Brady’s progressive move from the gridiron to business and media, the signs are pointing to a potential retirement for one of, if not the greatest to ever play the game of football.
Dylan Price is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.