Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender. It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.
Vince Lombardi knew his way around a word. The quotes above are just the tip of the iceberg, the man they named the Super Bowl trophy after owns a list of famous quips so long it could fill up a bookshelf. Yet despite Lombardi‘s wealth of well-known sayings, when I think of iconic packer quotes, the first thing I think of is No. 12 sitting down to do his radio show and conducting a spelling bee.
R E L A X.
In the midst of a tumultuous 1-2 start to the 2014 season, Aaron Rodgers sat in front of a microphone and willed his calm and confident nature onto a team, and its millions of fans. Then he backed his words up. Back-to-back ass kicking’s of the division rival Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings kicked off an 11-2 finish to the season. Rogers got an All-Pro nod and finished the year with 38 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
The moment has been quoted endlessly. His brother’s apparel company made RELAX T-shirts and sold thousands of units. Hell, one of my uncles bought a custom No. 12 jersey with the word RELAX on the nameplate. I can’t even imagine what would’ve happened if they had gone on to win the Super Bowl. I assume there would be 7-year-olds named Relax Johnson and Relax Olson throughout the state of Wisconsin.
As Green Bay enters the 2021 season, they find themselves in the aftermath of turmoil. This time it’s an off-the-field issue. And this time, Rodgers shares the blame. Still, that hasn’t stopped the Packers’ leader from once again imposing his vibe on an entire state. The future Hall of Famer walked into camp, calmly and honestly answered every question thrown his way, and then walked out on the practice field and started throwing darts.
You could find Rodgers cruising the streets of Titletown in a brand new golf cart in between practices. After practices, you could find him playfully laughing at reporters’ jokes.
The end of the Mike McCarthy era was brutal. Rodgers’ existence was marred with bad body language, on-field outbursts, and play that fell below his high standard. Matt LaFleur was a welcomed change. We’ve watched as Aaron has smiled, laughed, and even thrown his arm around the head coach as they’ve cooked their way to a 26-6 regular-season record and back-to-back NFC title games. But with a difficult end to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game and an even more difficult off-season, it was absolutely reasonable to worry that the angsty, petty McCarthy era Rodgers would return — assuming he would even return at all. But that hasn’t even remotely been the case.
Maybe it’s Hawaiian guitar vacation energy. Maybe it’s new engagement glow. Maybe his luscious sunshine-style locks are seeping into his brain. Whatever the reason, Rodgers is currently carrying an amount of zen energy that would make Phil Jackson jealous. Surely he took a plane to Green Bay, but Rodgers might as well have ridden in on a wave that was singing Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds.
To have the man at the center of Packers Nation so emotionally centered is monumental. When Rogers is in a good place, the Packers go good places. The expectations for this season are high, and the ramifications of failure could be extreme. Rogers is sending a clear and focused message, and he’s not waiting for a 1-2 start or an appearance on his radio show to do it. He’s living the message. Relax. This season should be a lot of fun.