Ever since Aaron Rodgers took over for Brett Favre as the Packers’ starting quarterback in 2008, Green Bay has been one of the most successful franchises in the NFL—if not the most successful. With six straight playoff appearances and counting, the Packers are tied with the New England Patriots for longest active streak of making the postseason.
The relatively few games the Packers have lost since 2008 have been mostly attributable to a shaky defense, a poor offensive line, and/or a complete lack of a running game. Or, you might just say, Aaron Rodgers has won all those games by himself—and that would not be far from the truth; without him, the Packers fall apart, as evidenced by Green Bay’s 2-5-1 record without their star quarterback a season ago.
Last Sunday, coming off a near-disaster against the Jets in their home opener, the Packers traveled to Detroit, where Rodgers did the unthinkable: he played terribly. Packers fans were left grasping at thin air for explanations for the embarrassing divisional loss.
It wasn’t the defense; the defense forced three turnovers and kept Detroit superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson out of the end zone. It wasn’t the offensive line; though the unit played atrociously, they were no worse than usual. The running game could partially be blamed, considering the fact that Eddie Lacy coughed up a fumble that directly resulted in six points for the Lions, and later was tackled for a safety in the end zone. But still, Rodgers has never let a sorry rushing game keep him from winning before. What went wrong?
Some horribly misguided fans say the culprit is Olivia Munn, Rodgers’ high-profile love interest. They contend that Olivia Munn has poisoned the mind of Aaron Rodgers and has him so preoccupied with her charm and beauty, that he cannot maintain his excellence on the gridiron. He is inaccurate, immobile, prone to turnovers, and unfocused, and it is all Olivia Munn ’s fault.
The fact that this absurd hypothesis is being taken seriously for even a millisecond is asinine.
This situation harkens back to the 2006 playoffs, when Tony Romo of the Cowboys spent Dallas’ well-earned playoff bye week vacationing in Cabo with then-girlfriend and then-celebrity Jessica Simpson. Upon his return to the team, the Cowboys choked in their first playoff game, as Romo sealed a loss and early exit from the postseason tournament with a costly late-game, red-zone interception.
The most famous result of Romo’s gaffe came at the post game press conference at which the notoriously animated Terrell Owens tearfully endorsed “his quarterback” and “his teammate” when the press implied that Romo’s poor performance resulted from personal distraction caused by his high-profile romance. Luckily, neither Jordy Nelson nor Randall Cobb has had to rush to Rodgers’ defense in such a way.
Frankly, the idea that Olivia Munn is responsible for the Packers’ slow start to the season in ludicrous. Celebrities are entitled to romantic relationships, and when that celebrity happens to be a superstar quarterback, he is not all of the sudden more prone to error just because he has taken on the personal responsibility of being a boyfriend. Aaron Rodgers has not forgotten his job and his obligations to his teammates and fans. When the pads go on, it is all business, and Rodgers will bounce back. When Rodgers very publicly tells the fans and media to “R-E-L-A-X,” as he did earlier this week, he is totally right.
The Rodgers-era Packers have been in this position before. In fact, this is the third straight season that Green Bay has started 1-2, and believe it or not, this is not the first time Rodgers has not played well either. The only difference between the Packers now and the Packers of 2013 and 2012 (teams that made the playoffs, might I add) is that Aaron Rodgers has a girlfriend and we all know it.
Good for him, but it has no bearing whatsoever on his performance on the field.
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