The New York Jets acquiring Aaron Rodgers was the biggest story of the NFL’s offseason. Rodgers is turning 40-years old later this year, but had still been incredibly effective. He won the NFL MVP as recently as 2021, to join his Most Valuable Player honors from 2011, 2014 and 2020. There was an incredible amount of anticipation for a franchise that has not won a Super Bowl in 55 seasons, and has not even made the playoffs since 2010. Unfortunately for both Rodgers and Jets fans that excitement did not last long. Just four plays into his tenure with his new team, Aaron Rodgers was injured, in what is reported to be a torn Achilles, ending his season nearly as soon as it began.
Rodgers was hoping was follow in the footsteps of Tom Brady. Like Brady, Rodgers had played for many years with one franchise, the Green Bay Packers in Rodgers’ case. And like Brady, Rodgers had switched teams after a long and successful tenure in one place. Tom Brady went on to win a Super Bowl as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at age 43, the seventh and final championship of his illustrious career. Rodgers was hoping his change of scenery would put a second Super Bowl title on his impressive resume, joining Brady as championship QBs in their 40’s. If that does happen for Rodgers and the Jets, it will not be this year.
Impressively, the Jets managed to win on Monday Night Football without Rodgers. Xavier Gipson returned a punt in overtime 65 yards for a game winning touchdown, to knock off the Buffalo Bills. From the perspective of the non-participating AFC East teams, the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, the game made the Bills look vulnerable (and start 0-1) while taking the star quarterback off of the Jets roster for the season. Regardless, nobody roots for injuries, and the loss of Rodgers is unfortunate for both the team and the league.
New York will now turn to Zach Wilson at QB. The third year player was taken second overall in the 2021 NFL Draft (ahead of Justin Fields and Mac Jones). He has been unimpressive in the NFL to date, going 8-14 as a starter, with 16 career touchdown passes and 22 interceptions. He did, however, help guide the Jets to a win in their opener, and is still only 24-years old with plenty of potential.
But for now the big story is Aaron Rodgers being out. And though it might mean a slightly easier road for the New York Jets NFL rivals, nobody is celebrating.