GREEN BAY, Wis. – Aaron Rodgers’ two-week run as host of Jeopardy! began on Monday with a viral moment.
As the latest guest host to fill the esteemed shoes of the late Alex Trebek, Rodgers can see what the contestants are writing as the question for Final Jeopardy. The defending champion had no idea what to write.
“For about 25 seconds, I'm watching him write this, and he thinks about the answer and says ‘'F--- it,’ basically, ‘I’m going to write this answer,’ which, probably one of the viral moments of my two weeks will be his response, which is taking a shot at something that happened to us late in the season,” Rodgers told ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky.
“But it was unbelievable as the host, I’m watching him and going, ‘I can’t believe I’m watching him write this.’ It was pretty amazing.”
Amazing, indeed. Here is the scene referencing coach Matt LaFleur's infamous decision during the final moments of the NFC Championship Game:
Rodgers' quick-thinking response was priceless. “That’s a really good question, Scott, but it’s not the right one here.”
It made for a memorable first episode for Rodgers in place of the legendary Trebek, who died from cancer at age 80 in November. In his place, Rodgers, Katie Couric, Bill Whitaker and Mayim Bialik are among the celebrities taking their turn at the Jeopardy! lectern this season. As a part of each guest host’s appearance, a donation will be made to a charity of their choice. The amount donated will equal the cumulative winnings of the contestants that compete during the weeks they serve as guest host.
Rodgers was thoroughly prepared for his time as host, telling Demovsky he watched “hours and hours and hours” of episodes. Like studying defenses before a game, he studied Trebek.
Of Trebek’s 8,200-plus episodes was a Celebrity Jeopardy! show in 2015 won by Rodgers. Wearing a Mr. Rogers-style cardigan, he beat astronaut Mark Kelly and businessman and Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary. Rodgers won with $8,399, a victory that earned $50,000 for his favorite charity, Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer.
“When the opportunity came up in 2015, that was a dream come true, it really was, to be on there,” Rodgers recalled late in the season. “To get to meet Alex was just such a special moment. We’re all obviously sad about his passing. There’s this nostalgic connection to certain figures in our life based on our childhood and where we were at and the times we had those memories. It almost makes these people feel like family, like you know them.”
Rodgers’ 10 shows were taped over a span of two days more than a month ago.
“I loved it. I had a blast,” Rodgers said recently. “Jeopardy!, that was one thing that I was really looking forward to after the season. I’ve just had a love for that show for so long. I love trivia shows. I was on there as a contestant six years ago and won it, and I always wanted to come back. I wanted to come back and play. I didn’t, under the circumstances with Alex unfortunately succumbing to cancer, but I was really honored to be there. I feel like I did justice to his memory and tried to handle myself with as much respect for the job as possible because I love the show and the show meant so much to so many of us who grew up watching it every night.”
For fans in Green Bay, the show airs at 6 p.m. Monday through Friday on WLUK-TV Channel 11. If you’re not from Green Bay, CLICK HERE for the time and station.