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Brian Murphy: Aaron Rodgers’ sad demise turned a true reckoning into a pity party

Six months of hype and hope ruptured in a New York minute.

The inevitable cascaded from Mount Schefter, chiseled on Tuesday’s breaking news tablet with the same rusty blade that daggered Jets fans 12 hours earlier, leaving the agnostic to ponder a simple question:

What are we going to do without Aaron Rodgers to kick around anymore?

Empathy is a lost emotion during our troubled times and often forgotten in the cutthroat realm of the NFL. But we can all identify with the sad green-and-white faithful of Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island who dared dream the Jets would finally pair another Lombardi Trophy with Joe Namath’s Super Bowl III triumph.

The fantasy lasted all of four snaps Monday night at soggy MetLife Stadium.

Rodgers tore his left Achilles tendon trying to twist out of a sack by Buffalo Bills defensive end Leonard Floyd on his initial drive of the season.

Dread was palpable and unforgiving as the 39-year-old tried to get up but sat right back down in pain. Medical staff helped him into the injury tent. Then a cart was summoned to carry Rodgers’ broken body and hangdog face to the locker room.

X-rays were negative, but broken bones were never the concern. Rodgers ended up in a walking boot, shared knowing glances with his crestfallen teammates at halftime and left the stadium long before New York’s dramatic overtime victory.

A morning MRI confirmed the Jets’ greatest fears. Six months of hype and hope ruptured in a New York minute.

“I hurt for Aaron and how much he has invested in all of this,” lamented Jets coach Robert Saleh.

Who would have thought that Brett Favre’s aborted failure with the same snake-bitten franchise 15 years ago would have been longer and more productive than that of his successor in Green Bay?

Nobody should feel good about any of this. OK, maybe Brian Gutekunst, the Packers general manager who was liberated from the relentless A-Rog drama in March.

You never want to see fans robbed of potential greatness or unescapable failure. It’s also unnerving to see Rodgers humbled by a season-ending injury.

I wanted to see him devoured by haughty expectations and the ravenous New York media. A real reckoning, not a pity party.

To be sure, Rodgers cannot help himself. He tried to pin the disaster on someone other than fate or Father Time.

Less than an hour after his season was given last rites, leaks surfaced that Rodgers didn’t like the play calls or a protection scheme involving cut-blocks and griped as much to Jets coaches, according The Athletic.

Who knows who’s lashing out at who and for what motives? But the narrative bending from his camp is enough to validate Rodgers’ Machiavellian management of his business and image.

It also bears asking whether Rodgers will rely on modern medicine to reconstruct his shredded Achilles and resuscitate his career at 40. Or will he immunize himself by boiling herbs and spices and rub them on the back of his mangled leg.

Regardless, we will finally see how creative the league and its television cartel gets flexing the Jets out of prime-time games. Because the Packers would like a word.

Wisconsin boasts more citizens of German ancestry than any of the United States, so forgive the Cheeseheads for savoring their schadenfreude.

Rodgers’ wonky leg didn’t fail him on the natural grass of Lambeau Field but the plastic turf of New Jersey.

Moreover, Jordan Love seized his quarterbacking debut Sunday by burying the Bears in Chicago while the Vikings face-planted at home against harmless Tampa Bay.

We all have skin in this saga. The NFL made sure of that.

The PR sharks bullied the Jets to cry uncle and welcome “Hard Knocks” cameras and microphones to chronicle Rodgers’ rebirth, from breaking down training camp huddles to bro-hugging teammates on Broadway.

The saddest song of tongue and pen, what might have been.

One minute, there was Rodgers on the 9/11 anniversary carrying an American flag leading his Jets out of the tunnel, basking in the unmistakable roar of a well-lubricated and reflective New York crowd.

Then, pfft! He was gone, retreating into the darkness.