Tom Brady's retirement announcement has been received with the expected pomp and circumstance. Say what you might about the divisiveness of the man over the last two decades, people recognize greatness when they see it and even his staunchest doubters have to appreciate what he's done now that he's walking away. All of your favorite sports content sites have posted tributes to Brady in some fashion (including The Big Lead) and the fawning will likely continue until next September, when the first NFL season without Brady since 1998 will commence.
Skip Bayless, who was utterly devastated by the news his favorite football player was hanging 'em up, touched on the topic today and argued that Aaron Rodgers must be downright horrified. His reasoning is that Rodgers is next in line to retire as an all-time great and the reception to that inevitable announcement will not be anywhere near the overwhelmingly positive level Brady enjoyed.
On the one hand, Bayless is right to believe that the guy who follows Brady into retirement isn't going to get the same shower of affection and appreciation. That's the deal when the best player to play the sport walks away. It's easy to remember Michael Jordan retired in 2003 and easy to forget John Stockton did the same three weeks afterwards.
On the other hand, I wonder what Bayless knows about Rodgers that we don't. Nothing the man has said or done over the last six months shows even the slightest indication that he'd give a damn what the public reception will be to his retirement. He has, in fact, spent a large part of those six months complaining that people have opinions about his actions. Should Rodgers decide to retire, it won't be motivated by a hope that we'll all give him his flowers for a great career.
The only manner in which Brady's retirement affects Rodgers' decision-making is that it is now inherently easier (even just slightly) for Rodgers to win another title because Brady isn't in the picture. Horrified? I doubt it.