Money can’t buy you love, but it can earn you respect in the locker room. Aaron Rodgers’ leadership has come into question over the years. But more charitable gestures like the one for his Packers teammates will win most over. Green Bay has had a good season so far. And the locker room must be united if they want to make a run in the playoffs.
Aaron Rodgers has bought his teammates some expensive gifts
Aaron Rodgers has made a lot of money over the course of his career. He’s also spent some of that cash repaying his teammates for helping him to ascend to the top of the NFL. Rodgers has preferred to keep the extent of his gift-giving private up until now. He discussed what he’s gifted teammates on The Pat McAfee Show.
The clip first focuses on what Rodgers has given to longtime Packers left tackle, David Bakhtiari. The QB has spared no expense in spoiling his star blocker. Bakhtiari’s gifts include a jet ski, wave runner, 4×4 ATV, sauna, and watch. The left tackle was so excited about the jet ski that he posted about it on Twitter.
The connection between a quarterback and his weak-side tackle is one of the most important in football. A porous offensive line can be the difference between optimism and existential dread for a franchise. (The Cincinnati Bengals are the latest example of this.)
Then, Rodgers names presents he’s given to other teammates, such as TVs, home theater systems, and whale-watching trips to Cabo. He’s planned ahead this year and already knows his Christmas gifts. The QB does sound a bit annoyed that Bakhtiari hasn’t given him many presents in return. But helping him avoid getting jacked up by defensive ends is a gift unto itself.
This story rebukes the narrative that Rodgers lacks leadership
Rodgers’ generosity toward his teammates goes against some of the criticisms of him regarding his lack of leadership. Stories about his peculiar personality have been around for years. His role in the end of the Mike McCarthy era in Green Bay, according to Bleacher Report, paints him in a poor light.
These stories could have some truth to them. Even in the clip with McAfee, Rodgers shows some arrogance that could rub people the wrong way. It’s also possible that the QB has changed in the years since those accusations. Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley, two public critics of Rodgers, left Green Bay in 2012 and 2013, respectively. The QB they knew probably isn’t the one who exists now. Getting older can change a person.
Will these gifts help the Packers get over the hump in the playoffs?
You can’t really make a connection between being good at giving presents and winning football games, but Green Bay will certainly hope that the team’s performance can be elevated by a more unified locker room. Despite Rodgers being arguably the best quarterback of his generation, the Packers have only won one playoff game in the past three years.
After finishing under .500 two years in a row, the team got back on track with Matt LaFleur as the head coach, but even that improvement was soured by the unclear relationship between LaFleur and Rodgers. Drafting Jordan Love made the issues seem even worse, but the Packers have just played like a good football team this year.
They’re on their way to winning the NFC North division (not that there’s much competition for that title this year) and a top 10 offense. There isn’t a juggernaut team in the whole conference this year, so Green Bay has as good a chance as anybody as making it to the Super Bowl. Just think of the presents Rodgers will send out if that happens.