Most Surprising Facts About Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers is used to being in the spotlight. But the longtime Green Bay Packers quarterback and new New York Jets signal-caller is much more than just a football star. While you may know Aaron, the quarterback, we bet you don’t know Aaron, the person.
Thanks to these personal tidbits we’ve uncovered — some obscure, some funny, and some a tad eye-popping — you can get to know one of the game’s most recognizable players.
Aaron Is Involved in the NBA.
In April 2018, Rodgers became a limited partner in the Milwaukee Bucks ownership group, making him the first active NFL player with an ownership stake in an NBA franchise.
We’ve seen him throw hundreds of incredible touchdown passes. We’re wondering what his jump shot looks like.
Rodgers Has Multiple Homes in Awesome Locations.
Aaron used to reside in Suamico, Wisconsin, a northern suburb of Green Bay that is roughly 10 miles from Lambeau Field.
He also owned a home in the affluent beach community of Del Mar, California, which is 20 miles north of downtown San Diego. In many offseasons as a Packer, he lived in Los Angeles.
After joining the Jets, Rodgers bought a $9.5 million house in the Montclair area of New Jersey.
He Wasn’t a Big-Time Prospect in High School.
Get this. Rodgers didn’t receive a single scholarship offer from a Division I football program out of high school.
He shattered every school record at Pleasant Valley High School (California), but in a 2011 interview with ESPN, Rodgers said (at that time) he seriously considered quitting football to study for law school. Thankfully, he persevered and decided to continue believing in his dreams.
It turns out, he saved all his rejection letters. Apparently, tacked to the wall of the walk-in closet in his Green Bay home are two rejection letters, one from Illinois, the other from Purdue.
Rodgers Had to Go the Junior College Route.
Unlike almost all of the star quarterbacks in the NFL, Rodgers had to start college at a junior college — and not because of grades.
The lightly recruited quarterback with no Division I offers started college at Butte Community College in Oroville, just 15 miles from his home in Chico, California.
He led the team to a 10-1 record in his one season as the starter and landed a scholarship offer from Cal coach Jeff Tedford, who was there to recruit a different player.
Aaron Is a Huge Joe Montana Fan.
During his time competing for the Cal Bears in college, Aaron Rodgers wore a Joe Montana T-shirt under his uniform. We can’t blame him. With over 40,000 passing yards, 273 touchdowns and four Super Bowl victories, "Joe Cool" is a solid role model for any quarterback.
He wasn't the only quarterback who grew up in the Bay Area who loved Montana. Tom Brady was famously in attendance at the 1982 NFC championship game between the 49ers and Cowboys and witnessed "The Catch" in person.
His Favorite Team Growing Up Was the 49ers.
We probably gave this one away with the Joe Montana factoid, but it was interesting back in 2005, when he could’ve been drafted by his childhood team — which was based less than three hours from Aaron’s hometown of Chico, California.
According to some draft analysts, Rodgers was predicted to potentially go No. 1 overall to the 49ers. However, San Francisco ended up choosing fellow quarterback Alex Smith, and Rodgers fell to the 24th pick when he was taken by Green Bay.
The Quarterback Is Heavily Passionate About Music.
Aaron is a self-taught guitarist.
But if that’s not cool enough for you, Rodgers also owns his own record label, Suspended Sunrise Recordings, where he tries to help aspiring artists make it big in the music industry.
Aaron and his friend Ryan Zachary signed their first band, The Make, in 2011.
Rodgers Was a Contestant on 'Celebrity Jeopardy!'
In the summer of 2015, Rodgers made an appearance on the popular show — and crushed it. Not only did Aaron win $50,000, he proved he’s smarter than an astronaut and a well-known "Shark Tank" entrepreneur. Yes, you read that correctly.
Rodgers beat astronaut Mark Kelly, and he edged out Kevin O’Leary, aka "Mr. Wonderful." He did score a 1310 on his SATs, after all. His winnings went to the charity MACC (Midwestern Athletes Against Childhood Cancer).
Rodgers Eventually Hosted 'Jeopardy!'
So this is something you probably knew already, but it's worth pointing out that Rodgers eventually returned to "Jeopardy!" as the host in April 2021.
Rodgers' two-week stint hosting the show saw the ratings shoot through the roof and was met with some amount of acclaim, with many hoping he'd be considered to be the long-running show's permanent host.
Aaron Is Both an Active Golfer and a Major Fan of the Sport
It’s been documented Rodgers has made appearances to watch the PGA Championship in person.
He also participates in the American Century Championship, a tournament that features current and former athletes (along with celebrities) across all sports.
In 2018, Aaron shot a 79 and tied for 18th place with Minnesota Vikings receiver Adam Thielen one year after coming in eighth place.
He’s Got Quite a Sense of Humor.
Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in history, but he holds another title: King of Photobombing. He’s always working on his photobombing craft and clearly takes it very seriously.
Since 2006, Rodgers has photobombed every Packers captains’ photo taken (aside from the ones he was taking part in himself). We bet you’ll never look at him the same now.
He's Also Been the Butt of Some Jokes.
Rodgers and legendary Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre famously didn't vibe after the Packers drafted him Rodgers of Cal in 2005.
In Jeff Pearlman's 2016 book "Gunslinger" about Favre, we got the first glimpse into how the relationship played out between the two Hall of Famers (one current, one future) and how Favre mercilessly hazed Rodgers to begin with.
Most notably, he took a helmet meant to be signed by the team and switched it out with Rodgers' helmet before practice, and when Rodgers realized, he had to wear the signed helmet for practice.
Sports Are a Big Part of His Family.
It’s easy to tell where Aaron got his football skills from because his father, Ed, was an offensive lineman who played college football at California State University, Chico.
Aaron’s one brother Jordan — who was on ABC’s "The Bachelor" — also had stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins, as well as the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League.
Rodgers' Relationship With His Family Is Complicated.
One of the big stories the media has pounced on about Rodgers and his personal life in the last few years has been the deterioration of the relationship between the star quarterback and his family.
The fact the relationship went sour wouldn't have ever been common knowledge if it hadn't been for younger brother Jordan, who spilled the beans on an episode of "The Bachelor."
Aaron Is Close Friends With One of the Stars of 'The Office.'
Rodgers is a good friend of Brian Baumgartner, who played the lethargic — but hilarious Kevin Malone in the hit show "The Office." The two buddies play golf together, and the quarterback attended Baumgartner’s wedding.
Rodgers also made a cameo appearance as a talent show judge on the ninth and final season of the show.
Rodgers Earns a Lot of Money Off the Field Too.
In addition to being one of the highest-paid players in league history, Rodgers has signed endorsement deals with major brands such as State Farm, notably one of the most lucrative ever for any NFL player, as well as with Adidas, Bergstrom Automotive, Prevea Healthcare, IZOD and Sharpie.
Aaron Took a Stance on the Criticism of Players and the Anthem Protests.
According to The Washington Post, Rodgers fully embraced his role as one of the faces of the NFL, speaking out about what players should do about digs at athletes, the national anthem policy itself and what he would do if he actually did rule the NFL. One thing he advocates is tuning out negative forces.
"I think that the more that we give credence to stuff like that, the more it’s going to live on," the Green Bay Packers quarterback told the NFL.com’s Michael Silver. "I think if we can learn to ignore or not respond to stuff like that — if we can — it takes away the power of statements like that."
Rodgers Loves the Kentucky Derby. Like, a Lot.
Aaron enjoys most sports — but the Kentucky Derby is one day he circles on his calendar every year. In 2018, while decked to the nines, he bet on Audible because that’s what he loves to do at the line of scrimmage. Get it? Anyway, he ended up losing the bet since Justify took the crown, but by the look of these pictures, he still had a blast.
Where was Rodgers the day news of his desire to never play for the Packers again hit moments before the first round of the 2021 NFL draft was about to begin? At the Kentucky Derby, of course.
Rodgers and the NFL Draft Usually Means Drama.
Speaking of the 2021 NFL draft, Rodgers choosing to drop the bomb on the NFL by saying he didn't want to play for the Packers again kept alive a tradition of Rodgers being the main story on the first day of the draft dating back almost 20 years.
First, in 2005, television viewers were struck by Rodgers' precipitous drop in the draft that saw him sitting in the green room for hours until he was picked No. 24 overall by the Packers, which became the main story of the day.
Then, in 2020, with the Packers in dire need of a wide receiver, they spent their first-round pick on Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, which blindsided Rodgers.
Rodgers Got to Spend Time With the Dalai Lama – and Made Him a Packers Fan.
Even the Dalai Lama loves Aaron Rodgers. In 2018, Aaron took a trip to his residence in Dharamsala, India, and spent time with one of the most recognizable spiritual figures around the world.
Rodgers was on a trip to India with his former girlfriend, Danica Patrick, as part of a philanthropic mission with Starkey Hearing Foundation, giving hearing aids to many who don't have access otherwise.
Based on the photographic evidence, His Holiness became a Packers fan.
Rodgers Has Been in Some High-Profile Relationships.
It's nothing new that famous NFL quarterbacks are sometimes linked to famous women in their personal lives, but Rodgers has had some of the most high-profile relationships in the world of sports and entertainment over the last decade.
Most notably, he was in a long-term relationship with "X-Men" actress Olivia Munn for three years, then a long-term relationship with race car driver Danica Patrick for two years.
Rodgers' Fiance Is One of the Best Actresses in the World.
Rodgers was named Most Valuable Player for the third time at the 2020 NFL Awards, and he thanked his "fiance" in his acceptance speech. It was news to most of the world that he was even engaged.
It turned out that his future wife is one of the more talented actresses in the world — two-time Golden Globe nominee Shailene Woodley.
Woodley starred in the Academy Award-nominated film "The Descendants," and if you want to guarantee you spend an entire day and night in front of the television, turn on the first season of HBO drama "Big Little Lies" starring Woodley, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.
Rodgers' Arm Strength Won Over His Fiance, Although Not How You Think.
Rodgers first impressed, then eventually won over Woodley with his arm strength, although not on the football field.
Woodley said the two became friends by meeting at a local dog park in Los Angeles close to where they both lived, and his ability to toss a tennis ball for her dog, a husky, led her to start thinking he might be someone she'd like to keep around.
Jodie Foster Is One of Rodgers' Biggest Fans.
Rodgers and Woodley reportedly were introduced by one of Rodgers' neighbors in Los Angeles and two-time Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster.
Foster has connections to both sides of the couple. Aside from being Rodgers' neighbor, she's also a massive Packers fan.
Foster and Woodley costarred in the 2020 film "The Mauritanian," which was nominated for five Academy Awards.
Rodgers Was in the Final Season of 'Game of Thrones.'
Rodgers had a walk-on role in the final season of "Game of Thrones" — one of the most popular television shows of all time.
Rodgers was in the penultimate episode — "The Bells" — but you'd have to have a really sharp eye to spot him running from Daenerys Targareyen as she and her dragon, Drogon, torch the entire city of King's Landing.
Rodgers' Former Boss Thinks He's a Diva.
The man who brought Rodgers to the Green Bay Packers in the first place, former Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf, was not a fan of the quarterback making his desire to leave the team public.
Wolf, who turned 84 years old in 2022, lumped Rodgers into a group of current NFL quarterbacks he calls "divas" for their open politicking to leave the teams that made them rich and took a chance on them in the first place.
The group included former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (now with the Cleveland Browns) and former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (now with the Denver Broncos).
There's Another Famous Athlete With the Same Name.
Their names are spelled differently, but there's another pro athlete with the same name on the other side of the world — former Australian Football League star Aaron Rogers.
This Rogers was also a first-round draft pick, of the Melbourne Football Club, which selected him with the No. 26 overall pick in the 2001 AFL draft.
Aaron Rodgers Perfected the Championship Belt Celebration.
Few players in professional sports have a signature celebration like Rodgers, who invented the "championship belt" celebration — mimicking putting on a championship belt after the Packers score a touchdown.
Fans and teammates have taken to the celebration alongside Rodgers, who even earned a special shoutout from WWE star Triple H for the belt move.
He Called Out a Former Friend Over PED Use.
Rodgers and Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun were the faces of Milwaukee restaurant 8-12 — named for their numbers — in the early 2010s, but the restaurant was shuttered after Braun was suspended for PED use in 2013.
Rodgers came to the defense of Braun, his friend, early on and was outspoken about Braun being accused of things he hadn't done. Later, Rodgers admitted that he came to the realization Braun had lied to him about his PED use.
"It doesn't feel good to be lied to," he said at the time.
He Cracked the NFL's Top 10 Passing Leaders.
When Rodgers returned to the NFL in 2021, he passed John Elway and jumped into the NFL's top 10 in career passing yardage.
Entering the 2023 season with the Jets, Rodgers sits at No. 9 with 59,055 yards — 2,306 yards behind Dan Marino.