Sports stories sometimes write themselves. But the fabrication of athletes’ legacies due to their marketability has long tainted the industry and that is only set to continue.
Thankfully, nobody can ignore that we’re seeing the greatest player to ever play the sport of American football – Aaron Rodgers. Even in spite of him looking eternally awkward in those ads he did with Clay Matthews for State Farm.
The phrase ‘you couldn’t write it’ often circulates around any half-decent but unlikely narrative that’s spun in sport, but the thing about Rodgers’ career is that you could write it.
People have written it and will continue to write it long after him, never citing him as an inspiration.
His career trajectory is so laced in cliché that it could claim to be the source material behind most sporting tales.
Let’s throw you right in the deep end. Aaron Rodgers was stuffed in the middle of a collapsing pocket, before having his leg buckle under him. He limped to the sideline before being carted off the field altogether.
At this point, Green Bay were all but done anyway. You wouldn’t begrudge Packers coach Mike McCarthy for telling Rodgers to sit it out.
But unrealistic stories don’t allow such forfeit – nor, seemingly – does greatness. Rodgers was back in during the second half to drag his team from 20-3 trailers to 24-23 winners in the space of 30 football minutes.
Kurt Angle won Olympic gold with a broken neck, Tiger Woods winning the US Open with a torn ACL and the former California Golden Bears quarterback took apart a sterling defence on just one leg.
First, a 39-yard strike to Geronimo Allison while hobbling around to avoid an intrusive pass rush.
Then, something less glamorous but equally effective. Under severe pressure, Rodgers escaped the pocket before almost floating the ball into the hands of Davante Adams for a touchdown.
At this point, everyone knew how this story was going to end. You see, this is the thing. We only ever truly come to expect things we shouldn’t expect when they’re done consistently, yet out of the ordinary.
Rodgers is so good that you come to believe that he will manage to win regardless of the situation, even If all logic suggests otherwise.
Of course, there’s one major issue with the career of Aaron Rodgers: the fact that Eli Manning has more Super Bowl rings than him. Rodgers’ championship win was eight years ago now.
While this is primarily an appraisal of the man himself, it could also seamlessly double as a condemnation of the Packers’ front office.
They drafted the most talented quarterback to ever play the game and have only one moment in time to show for all of that.
Of course, Rodgers’ selection in the first place was far from a vote of confidence.
His now infamous green room agony where his draft stock plummeted alongside his ego meant he landed in the lap of the Packers.
But when you have the winning lottery ticket, you cash it in. Unless, of course, you’re from Wisconsin.
Then you just frame it, look at every week and expect good things to come to you. In his time at the franchise, the Packers are yet to build him any form of arsenal with which he could exploit inferior footballing minds and schemes.
They’re yet to build him an elite defence, too – so he could be on the field for longer in order to score more points.
The only thing resembling a running back he’s had was an overweight Eddie Lacy. The Packers haven’t had a running back lead the NFL in rushing yards since 1962.
The signal-caller has always done it by himself. Again, another narrative point in any given plot that’s been regurgitated time and time again.
Even though he’s not the most commercially-viable commodity, even though he’s got little in the way of a supporting cast and even though his team’s front office are likely to continue that approach – we’re witnessing the greatest player to ever play the game ply his trade, week-in, week-out.
Don’t waste your opportunity to embrace a real-life fairytale, narrated by a generational sporting icon.