The best part of the news cycle following the first week of NFL action is that every story is not reactionary, short-sighted, or a hot take in any way.

All media outlets are completely reasonable following one game, and everything will appear as it seems for the rest of the season.

Oh wait, it’s actually the complete opposite of that.

We jump the gun to crown teams that started out 1-0 Super Bowl contenders and others that lost as dumpster-fires. It’s the nature of the narrative-driven league, where storylines are often created out of thin air before the ball is even snapped.

One of the biggest stories of the glorious premiere of the season was Aaron Rodgers absolutely torching the division-rival Minnesota Vikings in a 43-34 victory that was not near as close as the scoreboard makes it out to be. With a 92.9 QBR, he was 32-44 for 364 yards, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions. But it wasn’t just that- it was the way he was doing it. He was threading the needle with heaters into some of the smallest windows the Vikings secondary neglected, looking like the dynamic player who brought thousands of cheese-top-hat-wearing fans a Super Bowl in 2011.

It was refreshing to see given that they haven’t been back to the big game since then, and despite going 13-3 last season, new head coach, Matt Lafleur put the ball in the hands of the running backs much more frequently than Mike McCarthy did, making the world wonder whether or not he was still playing at the elite-level that defined the first part of the decade.

The headlines and hot takes immediately rolled in regarding the “new life” Rodgers appeared to be playing with, but it had more to do with the Packers’ offseason. Rodgers infamously has played with a lack of top-tier receiving targets in Green Bay, so after going 13-3 with a need at wideout, there was an opportunity to find him the missing piece to reach another Super Bowl and draft an elite-level receiver in what was one of the most loaded drafts for that position in years.

Green Bay traded up… for his assumed potential replacement in 2-3 years, quarterback Jordan Love, despite having signed Rodgers through 2023.

Understandably upset with the front office, he didn’t hold back his feelings:

“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.”

Thus, after putting up 2011 Rodgers-like stats and highlights, the suggestions that it was the drafting of Jordan Love merely to get him to play angry and play with a fire roaring under his seat rolled in from the media. “The pick was merely a mind-game,” or “It was all just to revitalize his passion for the game” was all you heard about his dominance the following day.

Yes, drafting a potential replacement is guaranteed to anger the individual being replaced, but to suggest that the Packers traded up for Love solely to anger the face of their franchise so that he would play better is absurd. They already have a history of flustering him by not involving him in the decision to hire Lafleur- they just got lucky the two seem to get along smoothly.

Call me crazy, but maybe Green Bay actually likes Jordan Love and didn’t want to pass up on him.

You don’t trade up for a position as important to team outlook as quarterback merely to inspire your current one.

Love is definitely in the picture here whether Rodgers likes it or not, and the franchise made that long-term decision knowing that there would be tense repercussions with their current face of the team.

We can’t just mar the decision to take Jordan Love as psychological warfare with Rodgers and praise Green Bay for it. He might be playing on a fiery revenge tour now against his very own team, but taking Love, a long-term commitment at a price that high is way too much of a risk to take if it doesn’t work or if you’re not in on him eventually being the successor.

It may have been difficult to evaluate a quarterback coming out of the inflated-offensive Big 12 Conference when Kansas City drafted Patrick Mahomes, but it’s not like Love’s evaluation is any easier coming from a small school in Utah State and playing under multiple coordinators with completely different results.

Of course, none of this will be proven right or wrong until we actually see Love play- Alex Smith was a perfectly competent quarterback in Kansas City when they drafted Mahomes who eventually won them their Super Bowl, but Smith moved on the following year after willingly mentoring Mahomes.  Rodgers wants to win now.

Now, Green Bay just has to root for a man who will be mentally flipping them off for the rest of his contract until they go their separate ways, one Discount-Double Check touchdown celebration at a time.

Featured Image: Tim Fuller/USA Today Sports
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