NY Jets QB Aaron Rodgers seems to be handling New York just fine
By Justin Fried
NY Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (still feels weird to type that) has wasted little time endearing himself to his new city. Despite claims that he might not be able to handle the Big Apple, Rodgers has worked quickly to dispel those concerns.
Rodgers' introductory press conference with the supposedly daunting New York media went about as well as anyone could have expected it to last week. There were smiles all around and even a few light-hearted jokes.
Rodgers came across as a motivated and refreshed individual who was happy to be a part of a new organization. Not just any organization either — he seemed genuinely happy to be a New York Jet.
He even insisted that he planned to get to know the local area and engross himself in his new environment. That wasn't an empty promise.
Rodgers attended Game 6 of the first round of the NHL playoffs between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden this past Saturday night. He was spotted in the stands with longtime teammate Allen Lazard and new teammate Breece Hall.
That's not all, however. The very next day, some 12 hours following that hockey game, Rodgers was spotted court-side at Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals matchup between the New York Knicks and Miami Heat, also at Madison Square Garden. Lazard was once again by Rodgers' side.
NY Jets QB Aaron Rodgers is already proving he can handle New York
Rodgers isn't shying away from the spotlight. He's not tucking his head inside his shell under the bright lights of New York. He's embracing it.
The four-time MVP said all the right things in his introductory press conference and in subsequent media sessions. He's already buddying up to the local media and making the rounds at seemingly every local sporting event.
That's not someone who is hiding in the face of increased media attention — that's someone who is welcoming the spotlight. No one should be surprised, though. This is what Rodgers has done his entire career.
Despite playing in a small market in Green Bay, Rodgers has been one of the most heavily scrutinized athletes in the NFL for both on- and off-field reasons. It's up to anyone's interpretation whether that scrutiny has been deserved, but either way, that criticism has always been present.
Rodgers has played 18 years in the NFL. He's won four MVPs, won a Super Bowl, and is a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer whenever he decides to hang up the cleats.
Pretending a guy like that would fold under media pressure never made sense. He's had his spats with the media over the years, but that's all those have been: spats. Brief bickering that ranges between semi-humorous and slightly tiresome.
The New York media isn't going to derail Rodgers' tenure with the Jets. In all honesty, the New York media is a vastly overrated trope in the year 2023, anyway. Take it from someone who, even if ever so slightly, is a part of the so-called New York media.
Aaron Rodgers is going to be just fine in New York. He thrives on attention. He loves the spotlight. His time as a member of the Jets couldn't have gotten off to a more auspicious start.