Aaron Rodgers says he is not the New York Jets savior which is curious considering a fan was spotted in Times Square holding a sign that read, “Rodgers is God.”
Now anyone who had been to the Crossroads of the World can attest that all manner of human beings can be found at the intersection of 42nd Street and Broadway. There are businessmen and police officers, drug addicts and their dealers, street vendors and Disney characters, and yes, those who believe they have been touched by God or are his or her representative on Earth.
Truth is, after last season’s quarterback-induced collapse, Jets fans believe Rodgers, the most accurate quarterback in NFL history, is their savior, the man who will lead them to their first – and only – Super Bowl triumph since long before computers, ATMs and solar panels.
A Dark Hole at Quarterback
The Jets have a terrific roster of young stars, a defense that is dominant, and offensive with spectacular skill-position talent and a dark hole at quarterback. Enter Rodgers.
The former Green Packers quarterback was traded to the Jets just before the 2023 NFL Draft. He quickly made the rounds in the Big Apple, sitting courtside at Knicks and Rangers playoff games and eating at chic restaurants. Unlike the long hair, white A-frame undershirt, and jeans he sported at Packers training camp last summer, Rodgers had his hair stylishly coiffed, wore a Jets polo and sported a Cali smile.
Oddsmakers love the move. The Jets were +2500 to win the Super Bowl before the Jets acquired Rodgers and +1400 after. Rodgers is +1800 to win MVP honors.
With the addition of Rodgers, the Jets have become a hot TV commodity. The NFL announced that the Jets and Dolphins will play the first ever “Black Friday” game on November 24th. The Jets are -2.5 favorites. The Dolphins lead the series 57-56-1 with teams splitting last season’s games.
But will this work? Is Rodgers the last piece of a championship puzzle?
Rodgers is the 10th Super Bowl-winning quarterback to be traded. None have won a Super Bowl with their new team. None. Nada. Zero.
Did the Jets Overpay?
Already there is cause for concern. To acquire Rodgers the Jets sent a second and fifth round pick in this year’s draft, a second rounder than can easily become a first in next season’s draft and a swap of first-round picks in this year’s draft. Instead of picking 13th, the Jets picked 15th. And that might have cost them big time.
The Jets went into the draft making no secret of the fact that they needed an offensive tackle to protect whoever lined up at QB. The team’s projected starters are Mekhi Becton, a former first round draft pick who has had weight and injury issues, and Duane Brown, who will be 38 when the 2023 season starts.
Had the Jets stayed at 13 they could have drafted Broderick Jones, a 21-year-old, 6-foot-5, 311-pound tackle out of Georgia. But Jones, the last of four elite tackles picked in this draft, was off the board. The Pittsburgh Steelers traded up (with the New York Jets rival New England Patriots!) and took Jones with the 14th pick.
Of course, if Rodgers delivers, no one will remember that the Jets, who selected Iowa State edge rusher Will McDonald IV, an athletic, relentless player who could help Gang Green gang up on opposing QBs. But what if opposing teams gang up on Rodgers – again, and again, and again? No quarterback can be at his best when the pocket folds like beer pong table.
Rodgers Remarkable Accuracy
Rodgers has been remarkable throughout his career. His touchdowns-to-interception numbers are the best in history: 475 touchdowns to 105 interceptions. There are some quarterbacks who couldn’t do that in 7-on-7 drills. One of those QBs might be Zach Wilson, the Jets first-round pick in the 2021 draft. Wilson went 2nd. He’s thrown 15 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Yikes.
Perhaps, with Rodgers’s help, Wilson can save his NFL career. But that’s not the four-time NFL MVP’s focus. His mantra is to lead the Jets to their first – and only – Super Bowl win since 1969. The Jets have not even made it back to the championship game.
The other caution flag Jets fans must heed is the opponent known as Father Time. Rodgers is 39. His 2022 season was his worst-ever since he became Green Bay’s starter in 2008. Rodgers threw 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and had a QBR of 91.1 – worse than Kirk Cousins (93.7).
And for all his greatness, Rodgers only won one Super Bowl. If he wins another, imagine the signs Jets fans will hold aloft not just in Times Square, but Canyon of Heroes, the parade path in lower Manhattan where champions are celebrated.
It’s enough to make Jets fans believers.