Is Aaron Rodgers Leaving the Green Bay Packers? Did Adam Schefter Lie?

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Photo from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

By Terrance Turner

April 28, 2021

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers reportedly wants out.

NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported the bombshell development: “Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers is so disgruntled with the Green Bay Packers that he has told some within the organization that he does not want to return to the team, league and team sources told ESPN on Thursday.

The Packers are aware of his feelings, concerned about them and have had team president Mark Murphy, general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur each fly out on separate trips to meet with Rodgers at various points this offseason, sources told ESPN.”

But the writing may already be on the proverbial wall. Former ESPN host Trey Wingo tweeted today that the two parties have been engaged in a “bleep show” for days. According to Wingo, Rodgers has already informed the team that he’s headed out the door:

Over the past week (and even before that), teams have been calling, ESPN says. “The San Francisco 49ers called the Packers on Wednesday night, a source told ESPN, and the Los Angeles Rams inquired about Rodgers in January before they traded for Matthew Stafford.The Packers quickly dismissed the Rams’ overtures, the source said.” (The 49ers part is especially interesting: Rodgers, who was born in California, had originally wanted to play for San Francisco when he began his career.)

But reporter Tom Pelissero put the brakes on these headlines, saying that there’s “zero” chance of the Packers trading Rodgers. While teams have inquired about Rodgers this offseason, no team has made a trade offer for the three-time MVP, a source told ESPN. The Packers have even offered to extend Rodgers’ contract, sources told ESPN. But veteran NFL reporter Ian Rapoport says that negotiations have broken down:

Why is Rodgers unhappy? Schefter says: “Rodgers is unhappy for a variety of reasons, with some of it dating to last year’s draft when the Packers didn’t inform him before trading up to draft a quarterback with their first-round pick. (The Packers selected Jordan Love.) Some took this as a sign that his days in Green Bay could be numbered.” But after Rodgers’ sensational performance in the 2020 season, today’s news comes as a shock.

No NFL player has ever been traded after winning the MVP award in the previous season. The only MVPs to not return to their team in the season after winning the award were Norm Van Brocklin (retired after winning in 1960) and Jim Brown (retired after winning in 1965), per ESPN. Rodgers won the NFL MVP Award in February, after a stellar season in which he threw 48 touchdowns.

During his acceptance speech, Rodgers casually mentioned that he’d gotten engaged. It was later revealed that his bride-to-be is actress Shailene Woodley, whom he’d been quietly dating for all of six months. The two visited Disney World in Florida weeks ago, while Rodgers was doing a guest hosting stint on the show “Jeopardy!” Rapoport adds:

UPDATE (May 1, 2021): Rodgers broke his silence today. In an off-camera conversation with Mike Tirico, Rodgers confirmed that he is discontented with the organization. The two spoke at the Kentucky Derby; Rodgers didn’t want to speak on camera. But Tirico relayed his sentiments via Twitter today, saying that Rodgers was “disappointed” about how the matter had become public.

UPDATE (MAY 6, 2021): When Adam Schefter “broke” the news about Aaron Rodgers wanting out of Green Bay — one week ago today — I went into a frenzy. I brought together data and alternate sources to form the bulk of my story, which was based partly on Schefter’s reporting. I quickly crafted this story (and took time away from packing for an upcoming trip) because I believed this to be a breaking story. It in fact was not.

Today, Schefter admitted that he had been sitting on the story for weeks, only releasing it on the day of the NFL Draft. In an interview with host Dan Patrick, Schefter conceded that he had written and released the story without new info. Schefter cited an interview Rodgers had given after the Packers lost the AFC Championship Game to the Buccaneers. That interview gave the impression that Rodgers had “unhappiness” or “uncertainty” about his future, Schefter said. Schefter eventually admitted that he had released the story with no new information. But that revelation came only after some direct questioning by Patrick.

“So you chose to release the news on Draft Day?” Patrick asked.

“That is absolutely accurate, yes,” Schefter replied.

“So it wasn’t something that you got information about…?” Patrick asked.

“No,” Schefter answered. “And it was nothing that morning that came in.”

Patrick noted that, according to Schefter, his information “didn’t come from Rodgers, didn’t come from the Packers, I was wondering: OK, you’re not gonna tell me your source–“

“Dan!” Schefter insisted. “There’s not a source.

Interesting. Schefter wrote in his article that “league and team sources told ESPN on Thursday.” But now he’s revealing that the story wasn’t based on anything that “came in” that Thursday morning. And that “there’s not a source”. Does that mean sources didn’t tell ESPN anything on Thursday? Or that there was no “source” at all? Because that would be a lie.

Schefter claimed that “it just happened to be draft day” when he released the story. Unclear how truthful that is. Updates will be made public as they become available.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Headed to Super Bowl After Historic Win

By Terrance Turner

Jan. 24, 2021

It was a game for the ages.

The Green Bay Packers were playing their second straight NFC Championship Game. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were battling to become the first team ever to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium. The match was played at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field. The Super Bowl they were aiming for will be played at Raymond James Stadium – the Bucs’ home turf. And it was the Bucs who would prevail. They won, 31-26.

The score was tied 7-7 at the start of the second quarter, after Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw a touchdown to WR Marques Valdez-Scantling. Tampa Bay took over. They caught fire with a 52-yard catch by WR Chris Godwin. Then running back Leonard Fournette turned what looked like a nothing play into pure gold. Fournette hurdled a player, scooted away from one tackle, spun out of another, and found the end zone for the touchdown. That put Tampa Bay up 14-7.

Green Bay’s offense ran down the field to 1st and goal. WR Davante Adams had a rare drop on 1st and goal, and 2nd and 3rd down plays also failed. Green Bay settled for a field goal. That 24-yard field goal was good. That made it 14-10, and the Packers also played deftly on defense. Tampa Bay had a big play-action play on 3rd and 2, with a 19-yard catch by Godwin. But the Green Bay defense forced a stop.

Green Bay had a big play on 3rd down, but then Rodgers was sacked by Bucs defender Jason Pierre-Paul. Then Rodgers got picked off by Bucs cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting. Tampa Bay took over and were unable to convert on third down.

It looked like the Buccaneers were going to punt. But then, on 4th down, the Bucs called a timeout. They decided to go for it on 4th and 3; Brady found Fournette for a first-down catch. After another timeout, the Bucs made a huge play with just eight seconds left. Brady hurled the ball to wide receiver Scotty Miller for the touchdown. That stunning 39-yard TD made it 21-10 at the half.

The second half began in equally stunning fashion. Green Bay got the ball to start the half, but then Aaron Jones fumbled the ball. The Bucs defense recovered, taking the ball to the 10-yard line. Their offense immediately cashed in. Brady threw another touchdown to tight end Cameron Brate. Tampa Bay took a commanding 28-10 lead.

But Green Bay put up a fight. They launched a successful scoring drive, evading the Bucs defense with both running and passing plays. Before the third quarter was halfway done, they’d reached 1st and goal. Rodgers threw to wide-open tight end Robert Tonyan for the touchdown. It was 28-17.

Tampa Bay continued to struggle on its drive. Brady got picked off by Adrian Amos, and then Tampa Bay’s defense got flagged for offsides. Green Bay had the ball and the momentum. They continued streaking down the field as the third quarter went on. Then Bucs cornerback Carlton Davis got flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit, setting up 1st and goal for Green Bay. On 3rd and goal, Brady threw to Adams for the touchdown, capping a drive in which Tampa Bay’s defense was badly outplayed. The Packers went for a two-point conversion but failed. That made it 28-23.

Tampa Bay’s drive got off to a promising start but was foiled. Brady got picked off by Packers cornerback Jaire Alxander after WR Mike Evans failed to make a catch. But the Bucs got the ball right back after Rodgers was sacked on third down. They gave it back, too: Brady was again intercepted on a pass intended for Mike Evans. Then Rodgers was sacked again on 3rd and 11.

The mayhem finally ended with Tampa Bay’s next drive. The highlight was a 29-yard catch-and-run by Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Bucs managed to get within field-goal range. Kicker Ryan Succop drilled a 46-yard field goal to extend the lead. The Bucs led 31-23.

The Packers advanced once again to 1st and goal. But the Bucs defense stymied Green Bay’s offense. On 3rd and goal, Rodgers got mobile, running a few yards before throwing to Adams. But the pass was incomplete. The Packers settled for a field goal instead of going for it on 4th down. The field goal was good, and the score was now 31-26.

Back to a five-point lead, the Bucs got the ball with just over two minutes remaining. The Packers defense was flagged for encroachment. Tampa Bay picked up the first down. (The play may have been strategic, according to announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.) But that strategy was soon overshadowed by a late flag. The Packers defense got called for pass interference after an incomplete pass by Brady. Then, after a lengthy review, it was determined that the Packers had 12 men on the field. That 5-yard penalty put the Bucs at 1st and 5.

The Buccaneers finally returned to play with little more than a minute left. On 3rd and 5, Godwin took off for a first-down slide. And that first down sealed the game. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won, becoming the first team ever to play the Super Bowl at home.

Super Bowl 55 will be played on Feb. 7, 2021, in Raymond James Stadium. It will be Tom Brady’s 10th Super Bowl appearance. It is head coach Bruce Arians’ first Super Bowl as coach. “We’re comin’ home, and we’re comin’ home to win,” Arians said after the game.

Buccaneers Steamroll Packers Amid Sports Frenzy in Tampa Bay

By Terrance Turner

The Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup.

The Tampa Bay Rays are headed to the World Series.

And the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 4-2.

The Buccaneers stunned the once-undefeated Green Bay Packers Sunday evening with a burst of offensive power. Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady shined, leading the team to its fourth win. According to UPI, Brady completed 17 of 27 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns in the 38-10 win on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers went 16 for 35 and threw two interceptions.

The Packers jumped out to a 10-point lead early, but then the Buccaneers scored 38 unanswered points. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers got picked off by Bucs cornerback Jamel Dean in the second quarter. Dean lit up the team with a 32-yard interception return to the end zone. That pick-six put the Bucs on the board.

Another interception by Rodgers opened the door to a TD rush by Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II. That touchdown put Tampa Bay up 14-10, its first lead of the day. It was a lead that the team would never let go.

Later, Brady slung another touchdown pass to Bucs receiver Tyler Johnson as the second quarter wound down. Then, with just over a minute left in the first half, Brady threw a laser-point pass to Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski. It was Gronk’s first touchdown of the season — and his first in nearly two years. The last time Gronkowski caught a touchdown, it was 2018 — 679 days ago — in a Patriots game versus the Miami Dolphins.

That added to an already commanding lead. The game was 28-10 at halftime.

Rodgers continued to struggle in the second half, contending with an aggressive Bucs defense that swarmed and sometimes sacked him. (Tampa Bay’s Ndamukong Suh was especially difficult to evade.) Rodgers’ woes continued when Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari suffered a chest injury and had to return to the locker room.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay continued to roll. Kicker Ryan Succop drilled a 50-yard field goal to give the Bucs a 21-point lead. And the team benefited from some costly mistakes by its opponent. A massive defensive pass interference call on the Packers was followed by a flag for having too many men on the field. Those penalties set up Tampa Bay’s next (and final) touchdown, courtesy of running back Ronald Jones. The Buccaneers defeated Green Bay handily, 38-10.

Notably, the Buccaneers were one of the most penalized teams going into this game. But they managed to play this game from start to finish without any penalties. The Buccaneers haven’t played a penalty-free game since 1983.

“… It was good. I think not turning the ball over helped a lot and I think not being behind on down and distance helped a lot,” Brady said after the win, per the team. “But certainly (there are) better things that we can do (and) things better than what we did today. We’re going to keep working at it.”