Aaron Rodgers may be missing the most important quality a top NFL quarterback needs to have.
He’s brilliant, he can make all the throws, it’s undeniable that he’s one of the best to ever play. But when it comes to the greatest signal-callers in the game, Aaron Rodgers‘ lack of leadership sticks out.
Take Tom Brady‘s heroic Super Bowl LI comeback, his demeanor on the sideline as he rallied his New England Patriots to the greatest comeback in the title game’s history.
Maybe it’s just not Rodgers’ style, but it’s rare to find him doing anything to build his teammates up. Shots of the 35-year-old throwing his hands up in disgust after a broken play are an every-game occurrence.
Leaders don’t sit on the bench and pout when their young kick returner fumbles away a chance to beat the Los Angeles Rams. They are the first ones to meet them on the sideline and tell them to keep their head up.
To be fair, Rodgers’ displayed extreme toughness this season. He didn’t need to return for the second half against Chicago in Week 1. That was an all-time performance. He also didn’t need to play the Green Bay Packers‘ final two games of the season. He probably shouldn’t have, but wanted to display his leadership.
As he told the Wisconsin State Journal days before the game against the New York Jets:
"“I think it’s a lot about leadership,” he said. “If I want to be listened to and followed and looked up to, how could I stand here and say that these games don’t matter for playoffs (and) I’m going to cash it in? That’s just not the way I lead. And, I’m super competitive, and I want to be out there with the guys, and I look forward to being out there.”"
It was also a great chance to pad his stats against a reeling Jets team. Playing a meaningless game doesn’t make him a leader, it makes him a football player who would rather play football than watch from the sideline.
Everything Rodgers has done under the guise of leadership has been for himself. A comeback for his own legacy, playing out the season for his image add to the long list of reasons he’ll be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
His actions the rest of the time do little for the rookie receiver trying to learn a new system, or build the confidence of a young tailback trying to prove himself.
The best thing Rodgers can do over the next few seasons is to get off that bench and coach his teammates, stand up and encourage his defense and set examples for the young guys to follow.
Right now, Brady and Drew Brees are leaders players get fired up to go to battle with; Rodgers is a diva you try to keep happy.