10 Questions With Kyle Brandt is the newest addition to the Ringer Podcast Network, and it’s a sports show with a twist: It’s also a game show. Brandt will ask each of his contestants 10 trivia questions, on topics ranging from sports to historical facts, with each one relating to an aspect of that contestant’s life.
The first episode features Aaron Rodgers. A portion of that conversation is transcribed and embedded below. You can listen to the full show on August 12.
Big [Roger Goodell] gets up there with the card, the commissioner. “With the 26th pick in the 2020 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select Jordan Love, quarterback, Utah State.” What’s your reaction?
Well, and I said this in the interview a few weeks after that, I was definitely surprised. When they drafted up—you know, I was watching the draft and thinking about which receiver might be there at that time. And I think there was a run on them there in the early 20s. I know the kid from LSU [Justin Jefferson] who I loved watching went, I think, to Minnesota in the early 20s. I knew the kid from Clemson [Tee Higgins] was still there and I enjoyed watching him as well. I didn’t know maybe as much about him. And the kid from Arizona State [Brandon Aiyuk] as well, I think they liked him. His teammate was with us, Manny Wilkins, a quarterback. So when they traded up, I definitely perked up a little bit.
And then I got a text—because everything’s so delayed—I got a text from my agent, marketing agent who I love and he just texted “quarterback.” I was like, “Oh, wow. OK.” I love scotch, but I’ve been drinking some sipping tequila as well. Once I got that text, I went to the pantry, I poured myself about four fingers, and I knew it was going to be one of those nights where people were going to start calling, and there was going to be the, “Hey, is everything fine? You OK?” “Yeah, I’m fine.”
Like I said, I wasn’t elated by the pick, especially being one game away from the Super Bowl and feeling like we’re a couple players away. But at the same time, I understand it’s a business. I know that’s the reality. But I will say I definitely, as much as people want to make parallels to certain things—in 2004 the Packers were 10-6 and lost in the first round of the playoffs; [last season] we were 13-3 and one game from the Super Bowl, won a playoff game at home, obviously won our division. A little different circumstances. Not to mention that Brett [Favre] had talked about retiring for a few years before that, and I’ve talked about playing to my 40s. When people started talking about the parallels to this and that, well, I fell to 24th [in the 2005 draft]. They traded up and drafted Jordan. I see the parallels based on age, for sure. And I think it was important for me to go through that experience to understand really what he’s going through, and what he’s going to be thinking when we go through the season together.
Yeah, that’s basically it. I poured myself some tequila and FaceTimed and talked to a bunch of people that night. And the next day I called Jordan because I just wanted to make sure he knew that, you know—I know what he was thinking. I know what he was going through. The last thing you want is to deal with any negativity around realizing a childhood dream. I just told him, “Congrats, man. I understand what you’re going through, man, it’s super exciting. I’m excited to work with you,” which I am. And I understand it’s a business, I understand the nature of the business. I’m not here abdicating my spot by any means, that’s not going to happen. But I understand how the business works. That’s basically what happened.
So when you’re sitting around just over the last few months, scotch, tequila, whatever, at some point there’s a ridiculous decision that has to be made. Because if you’re just you, and you can stay healthy, the team either has to choose, “We’re going to move on from Aaron Rodgers,” which sounds nuts. Or “We’re just not going to play our first-round draft pick.” How does this end?
I think probably the first. The former. I think that’s probably what happens. Based on just the circumstances around everything. Just look at the facts. They traded up, they drafted him. I would say they like him, they want to play him.
It’s a different environment. In 2005, my first year we were 4-12. Second year, we were 8-8. There wasn’t a clamoring to play me because it was normal for young guys to sit. In the third year, ’07, we go 13-3. We’re one play—we’re overtime in the NFC championship playing at home against the Giants—from going to the Super Bowl. Different scenario now, I think, quarterbacks are playing earlier. It gives some latitude for young coaches and GMs to play their guys.
And I get it, I really do. I don’t harbor any ill will about it. Was I bummed out? Of course. Who wouldn’t be? I wanted to play my entire career in Green Bay. I love the city. I grew up there, really. I got there when I was 21, I’m 36 now. You know, a lot changes during that time. But look, I get it. I see it completely clearly and I’m not bitter about it. It just kind of is what it is.