After defeating the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night and improving to 4-0 on the season, the Green Bay Packers head into the bye week as one of two NFC teams remaining with undefeated records. Normally, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and other players would head out of town for some time away. But it’s 2020. Nothing is normal.
The future Hall of Famer will be staying in Green Bay just like the rest of his teammates during the bye week, per NFL protocols. In a recent interview on the Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers expressed his frustration with the NFL and its pandemic policies and not allowing the players the opportunity to act like adults.
NFL implements pandemic-specific rules for 2020
Four games into the NFL season, and it’s a very different look and feel from years past. While most stadiums around the league remain empty, some teams have started to allow a limited number of fans to attend games.
Although the individual teams are allowed to determine whether or not fans can attend based on state and local guidelines, the NFL has its own set of pandemic-specific rules for the 2020 season.
Among those, sideline reporters can no longer roam the sidelines, but instead are relegated to the stands directly behind the team benches. The same is true for team cheerleaders, who are also positioned up in the stands.
Aaron Rodgers mocks NFL’s post-game jersey swap policy
In addition to those rules for fans and media, the NFL has developed an entire set of pandemic-specific guidelines designed to protect its product, the players. Not surprisingly, some of those rules have been met with resistance from the players. As a result, the NFL has made some on-the-fly adjustments.
Initially, the NFL banned players from both the post-game handshake and jersey swap. After pushback from the players, the NFL allowed players to greet each other after the contest, but the post-game jersey swap was still not allowed.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently shared his thoughts on the matter during his weekly appearance on the Pat McAfee Show.
“We’re coming back and we’re playing and they’re now allowing people to at least say hi to each other after the game,” Rodgers told McAfee. “And God forbid, you take your jersey off and give it to somebody else. At least you got to shake somebody’s hand.”
Rodgers questions NFL and its ‘handholding’ approach
While Aaron Rodgers was happy to see the league adjust its policy on the post-game handshake, heading into the team’s bye week, he’s not particularly happy the league has prohibited him and his teammates from heading out of town. In fact, in a move that will keep players in town, they are required to be tested every day during their time off.
Rodgers gets it. He understands the league has the bigger picture in mind, i.e., completing the 2020 season. But that doesn’t diminish his frustration of not being able to get away for some much-deserved rest and relaxation.
“For the most part, they don’t want you doing a whole lot. Nothing really changes. It’s not like we have the opportunity to do a whole lot. I just think that at some point, you got to let adults be adults and make decisions and understand the consequences. We can’t hold everybody by the hand. I understand we’re trying to get to the finish line, playing 16 games, but I do miss the opportunity to enjoy a bye week and recharge.”
Aaron Rodgers’ frustration is understandable. He’s off to one of the best starts of his career, and he’s done it with no one in the stands to enjoy it. Now the league is preventing him and his teammates from getting away from the daily grind during their week off. There’s no doubt the circumstances are less than ideal. But the alternative of not playing at all is much worse.