Mazz: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and the curse of the entitled superstar athlete

By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub

In the midst of a pandemic, undoubtedly, emotions are raw. But as Brett Favre flapped his gums yesterday to Rich Eisen of the NFL Network – just weeks after Tom Brady departed the Patriots – please forgive those of us whose blood began to boil.

"I think he'll play somewhere else," Favre told Eisen, strongly suggesting that Rodgers would not finish his career with the Green Bay Packers.

So here’s the follow-up question:

So [expletive] what?

Here’s the problem with people today - especially, apparently, the former and current quarterbacks of the Green Bay Packers: they somehow think the world owes them something. And it doesn’t – with the obvious exception of those who were born disadvantaged from the start. But that’s real world stuff. The gifted athletes with the multi-million-dollar arms to go with strength, speed, and, in some cases, smarts? Please. Cry me a g.d. river.

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 30:  Quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers and Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots shake hands following the NFL game at Lambeau Field on November 30, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Patriots 26-21.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 30: Quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers and Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots shake hands following the NFL game at Lambeau Field on November 30, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Patriots 26-21. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

In the case of Rodgers, specifically, you know what the transgression is? That the Packers had the audacity to disrespect him and select a quarterback (Jordan Love) in the first round of the NFL draft. Favre told Eisen that the selection of Love “burned a bridge [with Rodgers] that’s going to be hard to overcome,” which would be comical if it weren’t so downright egomaniacal, self-important and insulting.

Burned a bridge? What bridge? Rodgers currently has a four-year, $134-million contract that averages $33.5 million per season and makes him one of the very highest-paid quarterbacks in NFL history. Last year, he ranked 12th in the NFL in passer rating. The year before, he was 13th. The Packers are paying absolute top dollar for a player who has bordered on mediocrity for the last two seasons, if not longer, and the truth is that Rodgers has been a disappointment and underachiever for a very long time now.

Over the last five years, Rodgers ranks sixth in the NFL in passer rating, just ahead of Dak Prescott and Matthew Stafford, just behind Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins. If the teams employing any of those guys brought in competition, nobody would bat an eye.

But this is Rodgers we’re talking about, which means he’s somehow off limits.

Um, why?

Oct 28, 2018; Los Angeles, CA: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers reacts during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)
Oct 28, 2018; Los Angeles, CA: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers reacts during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

And the fact that Favre is the one griping about it – the same way Favre griped about the Packers when he was replaced by Rodgers – is more than dripping with irony. It’s a joke. Favre hates the Packers because they actually got tired of his self-absorption and decided to move on. And he probably hates them more now because they were right to do so.

Back then, remember, Rodgers was something of an upstart. And he was easy to root for. Green Bay won the Super Bowl in 2011 – Rodgers’ fourth year as a starter – and he seemed destined at the time to become one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. The obvious problem is that he hasn’t won a title since – he hasn’t even made it back to the big game at all – and yet he somehow now regards himself (along with Favre) as a victim.

Is it just me or does this kind of whining just get incredibly old?

Here in New England, of course, we know all about this because we’ve lived it a thousand times, starting almost 25 years ago with Roger Clemens, who went 40-39 in his final four years with the Red Sox. Nonetheless, Clemens somehow became annoyed that the Red Sox were disrespecting him, even though he got fat, out of shape and relatively unmotivated. Only after Clemens left did he regain some level of motivation, which was further proof that he was coasting here at the end.

Jan 4, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) walks off the field as they take on the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 4, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) walks off the field as they take on the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

All of this brings us to Tom Brady and the Patriots, who finally broke up this spring after 20 years together. But at least it took 20 years. And at least Brady won six Super Bowls and went to nine of them. And at least he is 42 years old.

If Brady felt disrespected at the end, he certainly had far more right to be than either Favre or Rodgers, who have one Super Bowl ring each. One. From Favre to Rodgers, the Packers have had the best combination of quarterbacks in the NFL over the last 25 years, and yet they have a third of the Super Bowls that Brady has.

And Rodgers is now somehow being mistreated?

Please.

It’s enough to make you wretch.

In the end, here’s the ultimate point: if Rodgers had been performing to his capability in recent years, the Packers probably wouldn’t have drafted any quarterback in the first round. They wouldn’t have needed to. Maybe the Patriots felt the same way about Brady. Whatever the case, the combination of Rodgers’ spoiled brat attitude and his play are now worth far less than his salary, which inspired the Packers to take action.

If that meant strapping dynamite to the bridge between the organization and their quarterback, so be it.

I’d be happy to light the match for them.

Because there’s no point in saving a bridge that leads to nowhere.

You can hear Tony Massarotti weekdays from 2-6 p.m. EST on the Felger & Massarotti program. Follow him on Twitter @TonyMassarotti.