Aaron Rodgers calls into 'The Football Files'
Green Bay Packers quarterback and Super Bowl XLV MVP Aaron Rodgers was Steve Levy's special guest on a live edition of "The Football Files" on Tuesday night. The show was broadcast on MSGVarsity.com and is available on-demand.
The former University of California teammates discussed a variety of topics involving youth sports, including the importance of academics, the debate about being a one-sport athlete, and never giving up on a dream during one’s high school years.
“Coming out of high school, I knew I wasn’t where I needed to be,” said Rodgers, who did not have a college scholarship out of Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, Calif. “But I knew I wanted to play football on Saturdays on TV. I knew there’d be an opportunity to start somewhere at some point.”
Rodgers said he continued to persevere, enrolling at Butte Community College as a 5-foot-10, 175-pound signal-caller. At Butte, he was discovered by Cal coach Jeff Tedford and later transferred to the Berkley school. Rodgers admitted he wouldn’t have been able to transfer to the big-time institution had he not taken his school work seriously.
“Had I not been a good student and gotten cleared by the NCAA clearinghouse, I wouldn’t have made it to Cal,” he said. “If you take care of academics, there are ways to get scholarships or partial scholarships.”
Rodgers eventually became one of the most celebrated collegiate athletes around the country, posting 5,469 passing yards and 43 touchdowns compared to just 13 interceptions over two years with the Bears. Rodgers was projected to be a top pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, but experienced some adversity when he dropped to No. 24 overall to Green Bay.
“It was very different to go from being the guy at Cal to being a backup,” Rodgers told Levy about his first impressions as Brett Favre’s understudy. “It was a great opportunity. I learned about defenses and got a first-hand look at one of best quarterbacks to ever lace ‘em up. It was important for me to learn the game and have immediate pressure.”
Now, he is one of the top athletes in the world.
Rodgers, who teamed up with Levy at Cal in 2003 and 2004, has been the starting quarterback for the Packers since the 2008 season and has led them to the playoffs in every season since 2009.
He guided the Packers to a 31-25 Super Bowl XLV victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rodgers completed 24 of 39 pass attempts for 304 yards and three touchdowns and earned MVP honors for his performance.
The two-time Pro Bowler is the only player in NFL history to throw for over 4,000 yards in his first two seasons as a starting quarterback.
While Rodgers worked feverishly through multiple obstacles, he experienced the ultimate feeling of accomplishment when he guided the Packers to that illustrious Super Bowl title.
“That was a top-of-the-mountain feeling,” he said. “To do it with guys you really care about, it helps we went through that year and came together as a group. It was a special moment, special team, and they can’t ever take that away from us. I remember standing on that podium… having that special, content feeling we accomplished something incredible. I’ll never forget that feeling.”
Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter