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Aaron Rodgers is quickly becoming the King of New York. And if you thought that was a crown worn by Aaron Judge, Pete Alonso or hip-hop artist Pop Smoke before his untimely death, you obviously haven’t been paying attention.
Because in the five weeks since he was traded to the New York Jets, Aaron Rodgers has been on a whirwind coronation tour.
Rodgers celebrated his trade to the Jets by attending the first-round NHL playoff game between the Devils and Rangers at Madison Square Garden with several teammates. He got a rousing ovation.
Aaron Rodgers Makes The Rounds
The next day, that was him with new teammate Sauce Gardner back at the Garden for a Knicks playoff game. Another massive ovation went up when Rodgers was introduced on the scoreboard and it didn’t seem to matter that he’s actually a minority owner in the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Jets’ new quarterback chatted up Spike Lee and then, paparazzi in tow, headed to Carbone for dinner.
The paparazzi are making a mint from Rodgers, selling his photos to the tabloids. They spotted Rodgers in the North of Houston Street Area (NoHo according to people in the know) shopping at John Varvatos, a men’s boutique store on Bowery.
And then, of course, there was last weekend’s Taylor Swift concert. Yes, Aaron Rodgers is apparently a Swiftie.
That is clear based on the multiple videos of him swaying and enjoying the music at MetLife Stadium.
Aaron Rodgers Making The Rounds In NYC
That is classic. NFL royalty is an unapologetic Swift fan just like all the other in the cult.
But, believe it or not, that clip of Rodgers dancing and swaying wasn’t the moment everyone in the Big Apple is discussing. The crowning moment for the new King of New York came when he acted like he was celebrating a Jets Super Bowl win.
Confetti and all.
“The Jets won the Super Bowl,” Rodgers exclaimed.
Rodgers Already Beloved By Cynical Town
I have to admit, it’s kind of fun to watch Rodgers take to New York. As Rodgers takes over New York.
The dude is in the most cynical and difficult to impress city in America. Robert De Niro walks the streets of Tribeca and people barely notice. Indeed, Super Bowl XLVIII came to town in February of 2014 and it was just another event.
Most years the Super Bowl figuratively swallows the town it’s played in. Signs everywhere. NFL jerseys everywhere. Parties everywhere. Stars everywhere. It’s the thing for a week.
But that 2014 Super Bowl went to New York and just blended into the tapestry. It was if just another, yawn, show had come to town. That’s how New York is.
Hard to impress. Often unmoved.
New Yawkas Adopting Aaron Rodgers
I lived in New York for eight years as a kid but I’m not, you know, a New Yawka.
So I once asked a bonafide New Yawka why no one really says hello or nods or shows some friendliness to strangers.
“I pass maybe 10,000 people on my six-block walk from the train to my job,” the New Yawka snapped. “You want me to be the jabroni that tries to say hello to each of them? You want me to serve them a spring wawtah, too? Get outta heeah.”
And, yet, it’s these people Rodgers is winning over.
Rodgers shouted out longtime Jets fan and mascot-of-sorts Fireman Ed (Edwin Anzalone) when he announced he wanted to play for the Jets. And a love affair was born.
New York Harder To Keep Than To Take
So, yes, the Big Apple is there for Rodgers to take if he hasn’t already.
It sounds great. It’s the NFL’s largest media market. The Jets are a rich franchise. And there’s lots of attention on players which is fine because Rodgers clearly likes attention.
But are you ready for the caveats?
We’ve seen New York fall in love with Jets quarterbacks in the past.
Mark Sanchez was anointed the “The Sanchize.”
Joe Namath was “Broadway Joe.”
Richard Todd was going to be the next Namath because he too played at Alabama.
Ken O’Brien was going to come out of nowhere and surprise everyone.
And Geno Smith was supposed to be the guy for a while as well.
Multiple QBs Have Been Anointed in NYC
The Sanchize had the butt fumble.
Namath succumbed to chronic knee problems and was waived in 1977.
Todd pushed a reporter. O’Brien simply wasn’t Dan Marino, whom the Jets passed up in the 1983 draft to pick O’Brien. And Smith got punched and lost his job.
None of that means Rodgers is going to fail. But if he is to remain the King of New York he must somehow avoid the one issue that has plagued his career:
He was amazing during a 2010-11 postseason run to a Super Bowl championship. But since then he’s too often been an inconsistent postseason quarterback.
Never mind that he’s 11-10 as a starter in the playoffs. Quarterback wins and losses are perhaps the most controversial statistics there are because they try to measure an individual’s quality by measuring the team’s success. Weird.
Playoff Rodgers Has Sometimes Struggled
But Rodgers has laid some eggs in the playoffs, often while playing on what were considered Super Bowl favorite teams.
Three times the Packers with Rodgers at quarterback were the best team in the NFC. Those three times Green Bay earned the NFC’s top seed but were eliminated from the playoffs at home by a lower seed. With the one loss to Tampa Bay in which Tom Brady merely outdueled him as the exception, Rodgers struggled in those huge games.
That doesn’t mean anything to the Jets right now. They have an outstanding quarterback who is obviously an upgrade over what they had and he’s clearly thrilled to be on his new team.
So, for now at least, long live the new King of New York.