Is Aaron Rodgers a Genius or Just a Football Savant?

When Brett Favre left the Green Bay Packers, NFL fans weren’t sure they’d ever see another like him. Enter Aaron Rodgers. He assumed the helm and quickly led the Packers to a Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010.

With his arm strength and quick thinking, Rodgers quickly became one of the best quarterbacks in the league. But fans quickly learned he wasn’t just a great football player. He was also smart, brilliant even, with a photographic memory.

Aaron Rodgers’ struggle to play college ball

Rodgers was a standout high school quarterback and student. He scored 1310 on the SAT and earned an A- average. But colleges didn’t seem to notice. His only offer was to compete for a scholarship at Illinois. He nixed that opportunity and instead decided to concentrate on his studies.

Luckily for Green Bay, though, a community college near his hometown of Chico, California, recruited him. He played for Butte Community College and led the team to a 10-1 record. 

His solid play earned him a spot on the California Golden Bears football team. During his time there, he threw 424 passes for 5,469 yards. Instead of playing his senior season, he entered the 2005 NFL Draft and went to the Packers in the first round.

One smart cookie

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Sure, Rodgers can read the field and possesses the mental capacity to make good decisions and great plays during games. But did you know about his photographic memory? He can remember the specifics of his memorable plays almost to a T, and ESPN even quizzed him on it. He was given tidbits about plays from his past, and he just ran with it. Rodgers remembered tiny details from plays as far back as 2002.

Rodgers said those games were easy to remember because they were milestones — “the things that are most important to you. You want to be perfect, and a lot of those moments are either close to perfect or they’re pretty far away.”

What is ‘Jeopardy,’ Alex?

With Alex Trebek’s passing, Jeopardy! is enlisting a slew of celebrity hosts to help fill the spot. And Aaron Rodgers recently announced he’ll be one of them. CBS Sports reports he’s thrilled at the chance. “One of my idols growing up was Alex Trebek … They’re doing some guest-hosting spots. It’s going to be released here very soon, but I had the opportunity to be one of those … I’m excited about the opportunity.”

But hosting won’t be his first time on the game show. In 2015, he won Celebrity Jeopardy! and donated $50,000 to his designated charity. Rodgers told The Athletic he grew up watching Jeopardy! with his grandparents and always wanted to be on the show.

In addition to his Jeopardy! obsession, he appeared on his girlfriend Danica Patrick’s podcast, Pretty Intense, and told her that to keep his mind sharp, he likes to do crossword puzzles throughout the week. Whether they’re from The New York Times or the local Green Bay paper, he thinks they help his brain function and keep him mentally quick.

Rodgers is also a big reader. But according to For the Win, he wishes he could do more of it. He’s also not afraid to mark up his books. “I love to highlight and underline in my reading,” he said, “because there’s so much information, and I want to retain it.”