Artful Living Magazine | Autumn 2018

Page 120

Feature

calling

Michele Tafoya GOES ONE-ON-ONE WITH

Aaron Rodgers.

the shots 118

Artful Living

Magazine of the North

PHOTOGRAPHY BY RANDALL SLAVIN

On August 29, Aaron Rodgers signed the largest contract in National Football League history, an extension worth $134 million. In the business of the NFL, he is worth every penny. There is no player like him. As Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy once put it, he has mastered the quarterback position. Aaron and I first met during his rookie season when he was backing up Brett Favre, who later became a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Imagine being the guy slated to fill those legendary shoes. My first impression of Aaron was that he was friendly, smart and serious about his career. We found common ground in our shared alma mater, the University of California, Berkeley. Over time, I watched Aaron grow into an NFL MVP who could make any throw. His decision making on the football field was uncanny. His mobility was unique. And he was clever, particularly in his post-game interviews with me. Many of his teammates have called Aaron the best player in the NFL. Not the best quarterback, the best player. It is difficult to argue with that assessment given the breadth of his abilities. Aaron grew into a superstar, a guy State Farm entrusted to help sell its insurance. With his stardom has come a microscope under which his personal life has been scrutinized. Not even the small market of Green Bay, Wisconsin, could protect him from that. Understandably, Aaron became more private and kept his inner circle small. But he never ran from anything. In our conversation in August, just days before he signed his record-setting deal, Aaron was candid, honest, blunt and thoughtful. It was, by far, the most personal conversation I have ever shared with any athlete I’ve ever covered. In the pages that follow, you’ll get his take on religion, his relationship with Brett Favre and what it’s like dating an icon like Danica Patrick.


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