Four months passed between the time Matt LaFleur took the ball out of Aaron Rodgers' hands in the NFC Championship Game and the afternoon the quarterback opted to serve a cold dish of revenge via the loose lips of discontent. It was a year removed from the Green Bay Packers' front office ignoring the most perfectly balanced and accessibly brilliant gunslinger of his generation to take his replacement. Circular storytelling appearing from the distant rearview which sent Brett Favre out to greener pastures before ultimate pasture.
Rodgers' relationship with the frozen tundra has chilled further and his future with the franchise is in Jeopardy. The two have fallen out of love with the addition of a Love. Their differences appear to be irreconcilable, but truth with time tells all. With no blockbuster trade materializing thus far, it appears there will be a Cold War in Northeast Wisconsin.
It was an awkward, unpleasant day for a franchise that collectively wishes it could step into a time machine to early September so meaningful games can distract Rodgers and the public from all the drama and games — both televised and otherwise. And that was just before dinner time. And the opening hours of a draft that saw the Detroit Lions snatch up Penei Sewell without having to lift a finger before the most impactful pick of them all that will change the trajectory of the NFC North for multiple decades to come.
Once Trey Lance went to the San Francisco 49ers at No. 3, pick after pick rolled in without any team realizing the golden ticket was available in the form of Justin Fields. Finally, the Bears, starved for competent quarterbacking play for so long they forgot what being satisfied felt like, finally jumped at No. 11 and brought in the player who will play the Russell Wilson 2.0 role.
The Lions got significantly better at one of the most important positions. The Bears did even better at an even more essential one. Without drama. With great jubilation. Each fanbase has real reason to celebrate. Chicagoans should be downright ecstatic.
Meanwhile, the Packers dealt with the messy seedlings of a divorce in public on the day the public most yearns for drama. This certainly feels like the end of things, even if they say they'll work it out. Rodgers is one-of-a-kind, the type of person who would earnestly pursue succeeding Alex Trebek. The type of person who seems capable of walking away at any time. Perfectly content.
Plus, he's stubborn enough to wait things out. To R-E-L-A-X on Green Bay's dime.
Make no mistake about it. Thursday was a horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad day for the Packers. Rodgers got his first taste of freedom and how everyone will be on his side. He saw his value on the open market. He further understands his leverage. That's if he even wants to keep playing football. Not like the Packers helped him in the draft either. They picked cornerback Eric Stokes from Georgia in the first round.
Justin Fields is poised to own that division. He's light years ahead of Jordan Love, who was a pawn in the whole harebrained scheme that tipped things off. Tomorrow will feel like the highest high in Chicago in years. It will feel like the lowest low in Green Bay. Two roads diverged in a Midwestern wood and the Packers are taking the one that leaves the gnarliest splinters.