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Sorry, Aaron, You Are the Savior for the Jets

Rodgers said New York's Super Bowl III trophy ‘looks lonely.’ Now he can be the hero to change all of that since Broadway Joe did it 54 years ago.

Aaron Rodgers got it right by saying No. 12 with the Jets belongs to Broadway Joe Namath. He also got it right by crediting Jets GM Joe Douglas for his successful draft picks and for committing to coach Robert Saleh’s offseason program.

“Does tomorrow count?” said Rodgers, after being asked when he plans to join his new teammates. “I’ll be there tomorrow.”

Rodgers got plenty right during his introductory news conference Wednesday at One Jets Drive, but he was wrong when he said, “I’m not here to be a savior of any kind.”

The Jets traded multiple high draft picks and absorbed Rodgers’s $58.3 million option bonus so he can be the savior—the hero that Gotham Green needs right now. And if that cheesy line from Batman didn’t hit, choose a quote from any Marvel movie, because the Jets added Rodgers to be a savior of some kind, preferably the kind that wins Super Bowls.

Aaron Rodgers meets the media along with Jets owner Woody Johnson during Rodgers's introductory news conference Wednesday at One Jets Drive.

Rodgers can add to his legacy by winning a Super Bowl with the Jets.

And this is not another column to criticize Rodgers for his words. He effectively provided insight into his messy departure from Green Bay without taking the spotlight away from his grand arrival in New York. And he only mentioned his darkness retreat twice, another talking point the four-time MVP got right.

Rodgers didn’t want to call himself a savior, although he’s never been one to hide his self-importance. He recently made his case for possibly being the greatest Packer of all time. But that at least signifies he prefers results before boasting.

So he wouldn’t go as far as calling himself a savior for the Jets, but he is willing to embrace the high expectations in New York, saying the Super Bowl III trophy “looks lonely” while walking through the Jets’ facility for the first time.

Rodgers mentioned adding to his legacy as a reason for why he’s motivated to play for a new team as a soon-to-be 40-year-old starting quarterback in the NFL. Rodgers is clearly one of the best quarterbacks of all-time, but to be mentioned in the same breath as Joe Montana and Tom Brady, he needs to win multiple Super Bowls, and his one Super Bowl trophy is also looking a little lonely.

Ironically, Rodgers’s Super Bowl drought extends to the 2010 season, the last time the Jets made the postseason.

“It’s similar to Green Bay that way,” Rodgers said. “When you win, in a city like Green Bay, I assume for a team like the New York Jets, you go down in history. There’s something special about adding that to your legacy.”

Joe Namath only won one Super Bowl, but he’s iconic because of his famous guarantee of defeating the mighty Colts in Super Bowl III, and his legend also grew because the Jets have struggled for many decades since that defining moment in league history.

As for more irony, Brett Favre attempted to be the Jets’ savior 15 years ago and failed with a tumultuous 9–7 season and missed the playoffs during his lone year in New York. Rodgers mentioned that he spoke to Favre in years past about his transition from Green Bay to New York.

Perhaps there’s some motivation for Rodgers to achieve something Favre couldn’t by turning the Jets into winners. But Rodgers has plenty of motivation, whether it’s legacy building or proving to the Packers he still has plenty left in the tank. Or maybe it’s showing that he’s still an elite quarterback and not just the sixth- or seventh-best in a loaded AFC with young guns Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Trevor Lawrence and possibly Lamar Jackson if he returns to Baltimore.

It’s fine if Rodgers doesn’t want to be called a savior, despite everyone thinking he is. Let him play for his legacy on a one-year revenge tour as long as it ends with a Super Bowl trophy. Douglas and Saleh don’t need a Super Bowl guarantee. They need Rodgers to play like the quarterback who tormented the NFC North for the past 15 years, and make his new AFC East competitors remember why he was viewed as the Baba Yaga before the John Wick films.

The Jets also don’t need Rodgers to commit to playing past the 2023 season. They just need one special year, and Rodgers is already on the right path by joining his new teammates, which includes young stars Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall. It’s a talented roster and one that needs to compete with the Chiefs, Bills, Dolphins and Bengals.

Heck, let Rodgers play to ignite offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s coaching career after a forgetful one-year stint as the Broncos’ head coach. Rodgers said a reason why he wanted to play with the Jets was because he wanted to reunite with Hackett, who helped Rodgers win back-to-back MVPs as the Packers’ OC in 2020 and ’21.

Rodgers also praised Saleh as a coach and for how he carries himself.

“Robert has the right sauce,” he said.

Nice one. Yes, the Jets have Sauce Gardner and now they have an all-time great at quarterback.

Rodgers got a lot of things right in his introductory news conference, and he might have won over that ruthless New York media—at least for now.

But he was wrong about one thing: The Jets need him to be a savior.