2020 has been a challenge for most Americans and it seemingly isn't getting better any time soon. With a tumultuous election a few months away and our country embroiled in debates over police treatment of Black people and whether or not you should wear a mask in public amidst a global pandemic that has killed over 180,000 Americans, the final third of the year isn't going to be easy.
Now imagine dealing with all that and being Aaron Rodgers. Feel better already, don't you?
Outside of being rich and famous, which I'm not so sure the latter is necessarily seen as a good thing by him, Rodgers has had a crummy year. It started with a terrible performance in the NFC Championship game on January 19 and continued today when the Vikings traded for one of the best pass rushers in the league in Yannick Ngakoue. In between the Packers upset Rodgers by drafting his presumed successor in Jordan Love, Danica Patrick and him broke up, Rodgers admitted he probably wouldn't finish his career with the Packers and the NFC became a tougher conference to win with the addition of Tom Brady.
Probably not what Rodgers was looking for as he approaches his 37th birthday in December.
One can make an argument this has been the most tumultuous offseason of Rodgers' NFL career, and that includes the Packers messy breakup with Brett Favre. That year Rodgers was in the middle of a beloved player and the franchise he was now supposed to lead and the year all the stuff came out about him and his family becoming estranged for multiple reasons. While family is important to most and being the focal point of a Favre-said, the-Packer-said squabble sucks, this feels different because of Rodgers age and the uphill battle he and the Packers face this year.
With Ngakoue added to an already-robust Vikings defense, plus the talent they return on offense, Minnesota is widely considered the favorites to win the NFC North. Within the conference, Brady and the Bucs are a new threat, the Saints remain a top contender with a chip on their shoulder after three straight tough outs in the playoffs, the Cowboys appear poised to be an offensive juggernaut and the defending NFC champion 49ers retooled their team and might be even better than last year when they picked off Rodgers twice and whooped the Packers 37-20 in the NFC Championship.
The Packers biggest offseason acquisition, meanwhile, was a wide receiver who is sitting out the season because of COVID (Devin Funchess). Their offense is devoid of elite receiving talent outside of Davante Adams and while their rushing attack and offensive line remain strong, pundits aren't projecting a big season for Rodgers. Simultaneously, Rodgers is dealing with questions and speculation about when Love will replace him and where Rodgers will end his career, assuming a team wants to pay big bucks for him in a year or two.
Oh, and he's single. Forgot to reiterate that. But here it is. He's single and, with a history of dating celebrities, I don't imagine it's easy finding Ms. Right in quarantine. If it was easy, he'd already be married with kids. Instead, he's rolling solo for now.
This isn't to say I feel bad for Rodgers. Kinda hard to feel bad for anyone who has made over $215 million as a player, plus unknown tens of millions more for being a State Farm (and others) spokesman. This is simply to point out Rodgers, like the majority of us, has endured a tumultuous offseason. The final four months do provide an opportunity at redemption on the football field, or they could prove to be another step out of the NFL door for Rodgers. Only time can tell what happens next, but so far the 2020 road has been anything but smooth for Rodgers.