Aaron Rodgers: The Spark Plug
He’s possibly the most dynamic passer the NFL has ever seen. He is the two-time MVP and 2011 Super Bowl champion, Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers, who suffered an embarrassing, nationally televised fall during the 2005 NFL Draft has molded himself into one of the greatest to ever play the quarterback position.
Read about Rodger’s Engineer athlete type, and how that mindset has shown itself throughout his dominant career so far:
When you think about Aaron Rodgers, you probably think of a couple of different things. There are his iconic State Farm commercials, his patented “Discount Double Check” celebration, his two MVP trophies, and his Super Bowl ring from 2011.
Two of the more notable moments in Rodgers career came at times when his team’s backs appeared to be up against the wall.
Relax and go with the Flow
In 2014, when his team had serious Super Bowl aspirations, they crawled out of the gates to a 1-2 start, and many Packers fans were worried their favorite team was doomed. That’s when Rodgers uttered the five famous letters:
“Five letters here just for everybody out there in Packer-land: R-E-L-A-X,” Rodgers said on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show. “Relax. We’re going to be OK.”
Relaxing was exactly what the fanbase needed to do, and probably more importantly, relaxing was something Rodgers and his teammates needed to do as well.
An Engineer athlete, Rodgers is the type of player who is often comfortable going with the flow– in this instance, he was assuring not only the fans, but also his teammates and coaching staff that things would be alright in Packerland as he called it– they just had to R-E-L-A-X with him and go with the flow, the team would improve.
“He’s been the same person, still that laser focus,” receiver Randall Cobb said. “What you love about it is how calm he is with having that focus, too. You can see it in his eyes at the line of scrimmage. You can see it in his eyes in the huddle.”
And improve they did. From week four until the end of the season, the Packers tallied 11 wins and only two losses, behind Rodgers all-pro performance. In the 13 game stretch, Rodgers threw for just under 4,000 yards to go along with a 33-to-4 touchdown to interception ratio. He knew that he was capable of that level of play, and he knew if his teammates could keep executing the game-plan they would be just fine. All they had to do was go with the flow.
A-Rod Does it Again
The same could be said about the Packer’s 2016 season, which saw the team begin the year with a suboptimal 4-6 record. This time around, Rodgers had another message for the fans and teammates:
“I feel like we can run the table, I really do,” Rodgers said. “The offense is starting to click a little bit more; we’ve just got to put together a game where we’re more consistent from the first snap to the last. We’ve been, I think, getting closer to that. We’ve really been clicking, at times, in the last few games.”
Rodgers knew the offense, and by proxy, knew the team as a whole was on the precipice of clicking, and really starting to hit their stride. He is the straw that stirs the drink, so he got everyone on the same page– if they continued with what they were doing, the turn was going to happen, “You just feel like it just takes one,” Rodgers said. “We get one under our belts, things might start rolling for us and we can run the table.”
Just like when he told the fans of Packerland to relax, he was right here too. Green Bay finished the season on a six-game winning streak, ending the year with 10 wins and six losses. During the win streak, Rodgers completed a ridiculous 71 percent of his passes, throwing for a shade under 2,000 yards with 15 touchdowns and no interceptions.
“I wanted that extra pressure on myself,” he says. “If anybody had any nerves or stress or pressure or doubt, just, you know, put it on me. I’m going to play better. And then, in turn, if everybody else is less stressed and feels less pressure, they’re probably going to play better too,” Rodgers said during a profile story with ESPN’s Mina Kimes.
Practice and Preparation: The Ingredients for an Unstoppable Throw
One key to many of the successful seasons Rodgers has had with the Packers stems from the success of one important route in their arsenal: the back-shoulder fade. Perhaps more than any team and quarterback in the league, the Packers and Rodgers have the toughest throw in football down to a science.
This can be attributed to the large amount of work and tremendous amount of repetitions it takes to get this route-chemistry perfect between receiver and quarterback.
Perfecting the back shoulder throw takes many hours on the practice field, and more repetitions than you can count, the dedication to these repetitions are something that Engineer athletes take seriously.
Engineers go out of their way to conduct practice and countless repetitions until they’ve fully mastered something.
Much like fellow Engineer athlete Dirk Nowitzki mastered his iconic one-legged fadeaway jump shot by putting in countless reps in the practice gym and how MLB pitcher and Engineer, Tim Lincecum perfected a pitching routine that molded him into a dominant force— Rodgers and his teammates perfected the back shoulder throw through the same effort.
“Timing,” Rodgers said. “It’s all about timing. If you’re good with your timing then you have a good chance. It’s tough to defend. But if you’re late and the defender turns his head, it can be an easy play for him. So it’s all about the timing. It’s a tool I think you need to use sparingly.”
Passion on Display
One final way the Engineer mindset is prevalent in Rodgers’ game? They are quick to show frustration or anger, and are very passionate on the field. Who could forget this gem, where after tossing a game clinching interception, Rodgers took out his frustration on his replay tablet?
But when he’s playing well and that Green Bay offense is clicking, that passion boils over into physical and emotional exuberance.
“I’ve always wanted to be the best and hated losing, I think, more than I enjoyed winning,” Rodgers says.