After months of speculation, the Aaron Rodgers saga came to an end with the announcement that the four-time NFL MVP will now be the starting quarterback for the New York Jets, repeating almost identically the story of Brett Favre, who in 2008 joined the team in the Big Apple, played all 16 games, but did not transcend despite his legendary status.
Will the same happen to Rodgers or is he ready to surpass Favre and make the Jets competitive? His arrival immediately puts the team coached by Robert Saleh as a contender: their defense is Top 5 in the NFL, although their offense in 2022 was anemic, in large part thanks to the carousel of QBs the team had.
Rodgers is already a legend. He has won a Super Bowl, has been the MVP four times, is one of the greatest Packers players ever and has all the experience in the world. But will this be enough for him to achieve in NYC what Favre couldn’t do 15 years ago?
First, let’s analyze the pros:
- At almost 40 years old, Rodgers is still in good physical condition. Perhaps not compared to Tom Brady, who played at a high level until the age of 45, but Aaron has the arm and knowledge to make the Jets competitive from the beginning.
- He will have Nathaniel Hackett as his OC again, whom he had in Green Bay between 2019 and 2021. Despite Hackett’s terrible season as head coach of the Denver Broncos, as a coordinator he is phenomenal and Rodgers has the advantage that he already knows his system of play. In other words, Rodgers won’t lose weeks learning a new system.
- He will have Garrett Wilson as his weapon, who was named Offensive Rookie of the Year by AP, as well as his former Packers teammate Allen Lazard. The Jets’ offense should be explosive from the first week of the season.
Can he handle the pressure of the New York press and fans?
Rodgers is an old sea wolf, but it is also true that his media handling is not the most appropriate, so from this moment on, he will be under the brutal scrutiny of the New York press, known for their rudeness and demand.
It won’t be the same as when he was in a small city like Green Bay, as now Aaron arrives in a machine that only the fittest and smartest are capable of handling. New York is one of the world’s most important markets, so the demand will be something he has never experienced before as the new No. 8 of the Jets.
It remains to be seen if Rodgers is able to withstand the pressure, on the one hand, from the press, which will surely try to get more hidden things from his personal life, such as the bad relationship he has with his family or his previous partners. Every time he breathes, Rodgers will be questioned and analyzed.
And on the other hand, there is the pressure from the fans. If results on the field don’t come soon, it will be worse for him. Rodgers’ personality is similar to that of an old-fashioned diva, imposing his conditions, making himself scarce and believing that the world revolves around him. It remains to be seen if New York will accept these whims.
Rodgers has the sports intelligence and physical ability to give the Jets at least three good years. In theory, his reunion with Hackett and a system he knows, and having an elite defense should put the Jets in contention. However, it will be Rodgers’ personality and how he handles the pressure and spotlight that will determine whether the Jets can soar to great heights again or whether, like Favre, it will be a failed experiment. Only time will tell.