Rodgers isn’t with the Jets to be ‘a savior’

Mike Florio and Chris Simms dissect Aaron Rodgers’ remarks from his introductory press conference with the Jets and outline why the QB gives New York fans a reason to be optimistic.

Video Transcript

MIKE FLORIO: The guy who has big-footed the entire draft week, given the fact that the trade happened on Monday. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, press conference yesterday, Aaron Rodgers, officially a member of the New York Jets. And you know how we know it, because we got the perfunctory slow motion walk into the facility. We can't have regular speed.

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MIKE FLORIO: Regular speed doesn't look good. We got to have slow motion. We got our first glimpse yesterday morning.

CHRIS SIMMS: He's that cool.

MIKE FLORIO: Of Aaron Rodgers wearing his Jets hoodie.


MIKE FLORIO: He's got the short hair. He's got the shades. That's not the one. That's Woody, Woody's shooting-- no, that's from Woody's account. Woody Johnson there. But there was the prior one where it reminded me of the Nicolas Cage walk-up wearing the--

CHRIS SIMMS: He's on the sidewalk outside the facility.

MIKE FLORIO: Sleeveless T-shirt and the long hair.



MIKE FLORIO: Everything's slow motion. There's Christopher Johnson. There's Robert Saleh. There's his buddy Nate Hackett. Everything's great. He gets the real hug. Everybody else gets the dab. But Nate Hackett got the real hug from Aaron Rodgers. OK, so 2:00 Eastern yesterday they gathered.

And these things are fascinating to me, because when it was Tim Tebow they did it in a big room. They did it in an auditorium and they packed the place. And people were standing. They did this in their regular press room.

And let me-- I don't know who all was in there. But there were multiple rounds of applause during the Aaron Rodgers press conference. Now one of the PFT writers said that like there were team employees in there, too.


CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, there was. You could see it.

MIKE FLORIO: But again, I'm not I'm not a classically-trained journalist, and it shows every hour of every day. I probably would say that the writers shouldn't be clapping. The people who cover the team shouldn't be clapping at the Aaron Rodgers press conference. But I don't know. It just, it was odd.

I can't think of many other press conferences where I heard clapping multiple times. Not, or once, even once, but it was multiple times yesterday.

CHRIS SIMMS: No, you're right. I mean, it did look like in the few shots I saw when they panned to the media and all the forum there in that media room, that there was employees there. So there is that. You know, again, some of those people, those cameramen, even the beat writers who are following-- they're Jets fans too. So I think it was a celebration day, right?


And, yeah, it does seem a little weird, especially if it was like national media people clapping. But I'm sure they did, too, because they just felt like, hey, there's happy vibes here in the Jets building. And Woody Johnson kind of encouraged it, right, after that first comment he made. I think that deserves a round of applause, and that kind of started it.

And then you're right, it was like one or two other times we got it after that. But there's your slow-mo, the new Jets version of Aaron Rodgers walking in. Broadway Rodgers right there. I like it. So I don't know. I had no problem with them clapping.

But you're right, it was a little different or weird. You don't see that during a press conference announcing a new guy to a team like that.



MIKE FLORIO: And look, it helped set the tone, because I wasn't necessarily expecting Rogers to be thrown to the piranhas. But I was expecting something slightly more pointed and slightly more aggressive than we got. It really was slow pitch beer league softball Sunday.

CHRIS SIMMS: It was the basics.

MIKE FLORIO: For the Aaron Rodgers introductory press conference.


MIKE FLORIO: It really was. And there was no one there who is beyond the boundaries of usual coverage of the team or the league. It was all locals. I think the only person who was there that isn't local Jets beat writer, Josina Anderson, asked a couple of questions. And she pressed him a little bit. We'll get to that.


But she pressed him a little bit on whether or not he's going to be there for the off-season program. Brandon Marshall was sitting there front row. He didn't ask a question. I don't know whether he tried to. That's the other thing, too.

It's not like everybody who wants to ask a question gets to ask a question. It was shorter than I thought it was going to be. They cut it off. That's what a PR person will do. Two more, two more questions, they only have to make him available for as long as they want.

It's not everybody gets to ask a question or everybody gets to ask two questions. And that's what's odd about it. Sometimes you'd like a little more access than that. But for now, that's what we got.

So it began with Aaron Rodgers talking about his decision to become a member of the New York Jets. Here he is from yesterday's introductory press conference.



AARON RODGERS: A big reason I'm here, I got to mention, is Nathaniel Hackett, who's here. Hack and I became really close friends for three-- excuse me, three years in Green Bay. And I love him like a brother. And I believe in him and I'm really happy to be back working with him again.

I grew up watching old VHS tapes of the Super Bowls. And so obviously I know about the guarantee and Broadway Joe. It's been a while since then. I noticed walking in this morning that that Super Bowl III trophy is looking a little lonely. There's some iconic names that have played here, probably none more iconic than number 12.

And I heard what he said about unretiring his number. But to me, 12 is Broadway Joe. And I didn't want to even go down that path. And I'm excited about going back to my college number. I'm not here to be a savior of any kind. I'm just here to be the best quarterback I can be to lead authentically and to inspire the guys around me to raise their level of play to an even greater spot.



MIKE FLORIO: There are many things that can be said. Let me just say this. I don't know why Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh were there. I don't know why they had microphones. They didn't get asked a single question.

CHRIS SIMMS: You're right, yeah.

MIKE FLORIO: They were just accessories.


MIKE FLORIO: They were bodyguards.

CHRIS SIMMS: Bodyguards

MIKE FLORIO: I really do think, I really do think they were doing their damnedest to not create a scenario where Aaron Rodgers is thrown to the wolves of the New York media.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, I agree.

MIKE FLORIO: And he actually acknowledged it multiple times. Oh, I've heard things about the New York media. I'm excited to work with the New York media. He had a little clip that's floating around that was almost intentional or not homage to Tim Tebow. He used excited, boom boom, pretty quickly when talking about the New York media.


It was almost like he doesn't really mean it. But he's putting on the best possible face so he doesn't stir up the New York media prematurely. He's trying to get the right relationship. But it's never going to be any better than it is on the way in the door.


MIKE FLORIO: That's the reality.


MIKE FLORIO: Whatever we saw yesterday, that's the high watermark. Unless they win every single game, unless there's nothing that he can ever be questioned about, it's never going to get any better than it was yesterday. It's only going to go down.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, it was, like we were saying a minute ago, it was a happy day. It was a celebration day. And, yeah, there was no real pressing on certain topics or, you know, we got a little question about the history with the Packers. I know we'll dive into that, and the phone call and the lack of communication between him and Gutekunst.

But, yeah, it was. It was a happy day. He did his best to bridge the gap between him and the New York media and the Jets fan base. I thought he did a very good job of that. You know, yeah, he was open. He's natural. Listen, I think he's very good in those settings.

That's the one thing, again, I know the last year or two we can all probably agree that he's been a little more free and that's rubbed people the wrong way. And even I'd sit here and go, man, there's days where I go, oh, gosh, we got to talk about Aaron Rodgers again. I get that, right?

But at the same time, the one thing I've always respected about him is really his openness, his honesty. I like that about him, and not that he went totally open yesterday. But you know, he's easy to talk to. He's got some thoughtful answers.

And you know, I thought he embraced the history of the franchise in a nice way. He a very smart guy as we know. He's very aware of Joe Namath and the history of the team and all of that, and did a good job of trying to embrace the fans and knowing how passionate they are, and bringing that up, bringing up Fireman Ed.

I mean, yeah, those are the little things that'll go a long way. It's as good as it's going to be right now like you said. But hopefully you can keep it up in that range with making yourself available, being good to people, answering questions honestly. And then hopefully he does the right things on the field that it can keep that perception up there at a high level as well.

MIKE FLORIO: Some of the things he said, too, were also contradictory. Now we played a mash-up of different things that make the contradictions more obvious. One significant contradiction, in one breath he says I'm not here to be a savior. And then in a prior breath he says that Super Bowl III trophy is looking pretty lonely out there.

So he's not the savior but there haven't been many guys that have come through there who have even mentioned the elephant in the room. They've only ever won one Super Bowl. And, oh, by the way, he's only ever won one Super Bowl too. His ring is pretty lonely.

Their trophy is lonely. His ring is lonely. Let's see if we can double the fun for franchise and for quarterback. But that's a long way down the road too. And I know everybody's caught up in that. And again, the NFL and its teams thrive on the selling of hope.

It doesn't have to be real hope. It doesn't even have to be plausible hope. It's just hope. That's why the draft is so popular. The draft is popular because fans of every team, except the Dolphins tonight, but hey, maybe they'll trade back in. So they're engaged too. But the fans of every team get excited about what may be, what is to come.

Tonight is about those possibilities. Who's going to get that player that changes the fortune of a franchise, and what about round two, three, four, five, six, seven, could there be a draft like the '74 Steelers? So it's that hope. And that's what yesterday was.

It was a very contrived, manufactured exercise in glass half-full hope. So buy jerseys, buy tickets, get excited, talk about the Jets, think about the Jets, forget about the Mets, forget about the Yankees, forget about the Giants, forget about the Knicks.

CHRIS SIMMS: That's right.

MIKE FLORIO: Forget about the hockey. I don't even know if the hockey teams are still playing.

CHRIS SIMMS: Oh yeah, they are.

MIKE FLORIO: Think about the Jets. Think about the Jets.

CHRIS SIMMS: All three are.

MIKE FLORIO: That's what it is. Oh, they're both playing. The Penguins aren't, so I don't give a shit. Think about the Jets. Think about the Jets. That's what it's about. And they did it. It's mission accomplished. It worked.

It worked, even though there's an element of Fugazi to all of it, it worked.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, I mean sure. I mean, yeah, it was a show. It's New York, you know. Welcome to the big show. They set it up and staged it the way they want, to your point. You said that yesterday a little bit.

It was a controlled environment. It was going to be happy. And I'm sure they were pretty sure about what kind of questions were going to be asked, maybe by some people. And you're right, they got to a point where, all right, he's elaborated on a few answers. Hey, a few more questions.

And they weren't going to let him sit there all day and let people dig in, you know. I think that's very real. But, yeah, he's king of the town right now. Definitely, there's a lot of things going on here in New York in the sports. All three hockey teams are still playing, Rangers, Devils, and Islanders.

Baseball is going on. Knicks are in the playoffs. So but the cover of the newspaper today, Daily News, New York Post, it's Jets. It's Rodgers. So he is king of the town. And I give him credit for embracing the elephant in the room, too. I do.

You know, again, this is a gutsy move. I don't know, you know, it is. I know he didn't have a whole lot of other options. But still it takes guts to do this. And, you know, I think Rodgers with his aware, self-aware, his awareness of the perception of him and the legacy, that he's there to win a Super Bowl.

I know he's probably, he was trying not to say he's a savior, but this is like, this is one way to get him back into the whoa, we've kind of like downplayed Aaron Rodgers the last year or two, didn't win the Super Bowl, didn't get to the Super Bowl. Like his legacy has taken a hit a little here. He goes here in the New York Jets and gets to a Super Bowl, wins to a Super Bowl, we start talking about him in a different way once again.

We put him back up there with Mahomes and all those kind of conversations again. So, you know, I do give him credit for embracing that. I do.

MIKE FLORIO: It'll be fun to watch, and as I said earlier this week, I'd love to see Jets-Packers in Las Vegas for Super Bowl LVIII. It would be awesome. But, but I don't see it happening.

CHRIS SIMMS: Well, yeah.

MIKE FLORIO: I really don't.


MIKE FLORIO: I mean, if I were one to bet, I would bet against it, because he's landed in a conference where all the great quarterbacks are, where all the best teams are. You got the 49ers and the Pack-- and the Eagles, excuse me. The Packers hope. For now the 49ers and the Eagles, the top two teams in the NFC. In the AFC it is a scrum.

And those playoff games are razor-thin, bounce of the ball here, quirky little thing there. I mean the Bengals had the Chiefs beat, and they had them beat. And it felt like the Bengals were going to win that game. And then it turned.


So, and even then, look, Jets, they're not the favorites to win the division, the Bills are. They got to play them twice, Dolphins twice, Patriots twice. Patriots odds are actually sinking a little bit. And we made this point earlier in the week. When you look at the schedule, every team from the AFC West, every team from the NFC East, it may only be one team that comes out of that division for the postseason. You may have to win it to get in.

So reality is going to set in at some point. And the next step of reality will be the schedule, when we can start to do the Mike and the Mad Dog exercise. That's a win. That's a loss. That's a loss. That's a loss. And it all just becomes real and you can see it, you know. Oh, Jets, everything's great. Oh, week one.


MIKE FLORIO: Oh, hmm, OK. Well.


MIKE FLORIO: We'll worry about that when we get there. Everything's still great. And so it's going to be a fun ride. It's good for the NFL. It's good for the Jets. It's good for everyone unless and until the Jets are 2 and 8 and they still have 4 more nationally televised games and Aaron Rodgers has an ankle sprain or a broken collarbone or whatever and he's not playing. Other than that, it's reason to be very optimistic about what happens now.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, no, that schedule, that schedule, like you said it's real. What September is real, like we always talk about, you and I. That's another reason I think you make the trade. You get it done. You get him there.

We got to hit the ground running. By all due accounts, we might be on Monday Night Football to start the year, with a really tough game. And the next week we might be in the big 4:25 game playing one of the better teams in football. So I think those are other reasons. Maybe you paid that premium to get the trade done, to get things rolling that way. I do.

But Mike, to your point, too, and I'm serious. I know I brought this up yesterday. But like I had every Jets fan in the world yesterday that I saw, what do you expect next year? What do you expect next year? What do you expect next year? What do you think? What do you think?

The team is as good as it's been in I don't know how long. I mean, I don't know, it's as good as it's been since the early 2000s or at least Parcells in the end of the '90s. It hasn't been better. OK, maybe Rex Ryan and that group there, but like in all due seriousness, I don't think the AFC has ever been better.

Like it's the '70s. It's never been better since the '70s. This is the best I can remember. And I know football from the '80s on and have been obsessed with it. And then the AFC East, has the AFC East ever been this good? I don't really ever remember it ever being this good, where it's like, whoa, all four teams are like legit.

There's no doubt about it, rosters, everything. So that's where it's hard for the expectations, to your point, Mike. It's like I don't know what to expect. They're damn good. But holy crap, quarterbacks and teams and everything in the AFC right now.

MIKE FLORIO: The reality is the Jets didn't make this move to try to win a Super Bowl. I think they made this move to try not to sink to the bottom of the standings, to sink to the bottom of the conference. They have to try to compete. They have to try to at least be in the conversation.

Without Aaron Rodgers they're not in the conversation. With Aaron Rodgers they are in the conversation. But there's a long way to go. And we know what happens, especially when you have a lot of great teams.

Seasons are determined by bad call or, for the other team involved, good call, bounce of the ball, just that one weird thing that happens in that one weird moment, that one play that turns a game around. The margins are so thin you can't presume that any of those teams-- I mean, any of those teams on the field take the field. Even the Chiefs take the field.

There's too much crazy stuff that can happen to conspire against any one team. Yes, one team will thread all the needles in the postseason and get to the Super Bowl. But there's no clear-cut favorite. There's no team you look to and say that's the one. Aaron Rodgers does not make the Jets the one. It doesn't even make the Jets the one in their own division, for crying out loud.


MIKE FLORIO: That's the other side of this optimism. So this is more, hey, we're in it. We're alive. We have a chance. This is a far cry from we're the team to beat.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, no, it is. Now the pieces are there. The potential is there. I mean, it's legit like we've been talking about. There the roster is, it's ready to explode.

So I do think it's-- yeah, sure, not sink to the bottom. But I also think it's we're going all in to win the Super Bowl. I think it can be both there. I don't think it has to be one or the other.

I think there's real, like, wait, we got the pieces here to make a run. And that's why they were so aggressive and intent on getting this guy, because they think he's the guy that could do it, at least out of the guys that were available out there, you know. And I can understand that. I'd question the other guys that were out there, whether they could take me to the Super Bowl and win it.

Yeah, I think that's fair. You know, but to your point, Mike, too, like agreed with everything you say. Except I'll even add on to that. I think you can, the conference is so good, and I think you can also peg one team and go bet on it. It's not only a great conference. We have a team that's in the middle of a little mini-dynasty too.

And even with that, we're still not like, hey, the conference is so good we can't even pencil you in there. We're not sure. That's what's crazy. That really is. I mean, I've been going chalk and bet, taking the Chiefs against the field the last four years. It's worked out OK, right?

You know that. I've kind of said that a few times. But, yeah, I mean to what we're saying here, it is. It's pretty unreal. And they got a lot of work to do. They definitely do, division, conference, all of it. And we got to see it to believe it. This is not like Brady and the Bucs and the AFC South has just got one team and it's a little wiggle room.

MIKE FLORIO: But even then, with the Chiefs, and then we'll get back to the Jets.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, I know.

MIKE FLORIO: They could have lost, should have lost to the Bengals, could have lost, should have lost to the Eagles. And what the Jets are going to need, assuming they face that same reality at some point, they got to muster big play in a big spot. Aaron Rodgers has not been in the postseason the master of the big play in the big spot.


MIKE FLORIO: Aaron Rodgers has been the regular season champ, postseason chump in recent years. And that's just the way it's been. He's been disappointing. He's been too careful. He's been too aware of what it means to his legacy.

He gets hypersensitive about making a bad throw, getting intercepted, the politics of the quarterback position, as you say, all the time.


MIKE FLORIO: He's going to have to shed that.

CHRIS SIMMS: Definitely.

MIKE FLORIO: And I thought the best way to shed it last year, would be get into the postseason field by the skin of your teeth.


MIKE FLORIO: Then your mindset is nobody expects anything from us. And maybe by the time the playoffs roll around, Jets are the last team in as the seventh seed, got to go on the road to face the two seed, get lucky, have Aaron Rodgers not be thinking about what it means to his legacy, not supposed to be here anyway. Get loose and play like he did in 2010, when they were the last team in, ran the table, won the Super Bowl.

So one of the big questions, two of the big questions were addressed yesterday. Is he there beyond 2023, and will he be there for the off-season program that is already underway with the Jets. Here is Aaron Rodgers addressing both of those questions.


AARON RODGERS: Right now I'm just going to focus on this season. And I'm excited about being here. I expect to be here for the duration of the off-season. And I'm excited to get to know my new teammates and the coaching staff and the organization.

And obviously I have a background with Coach Hackett and that offense. But I'm excited about just diving in and being a part of this group and getting to know some of the names of my teammates. And also I'm excited about working with all you guys. I've heard a lot about the New York media and excited to see what that's all about.

I'm going to be here for the foreseeable future. I think it's important. Obviously I know the scheme that Hack's putting in. There's some tweaks. But I want to get to know the guys and be around the facility.

There's a lot of reasons to be here. Most importantly, just getting to know the guys and put together some fun events to start that team building, which I think is really important this time of year.

- Can you expect time passing perfect, when you plan on practicing.

AARON RODGERS: Yeah, does tomorrow count?


Yeah. Yeah, tomorrow I'll be in there tomorrow.

- OK.