Thanks For 15 Years Of Pain, Aaron Rodgers

Dear Aaron,

It’s me, Cole. You don’t know me, but I, like Minnesota Vikings fans all around the world, know you all too well. On Wednesday, you made it clear to the world that your time with the Green Bay Packers was over. The 15 years you started were a reign of terror as a Vikings fan. Hell, your first start came against the Vikings and you even got a Lambeau Leap out of it!

After being in small-town Green Bay, WI since 2005, the Big Apple might be a wake-up call. I know you crave the attention, but I also know you like it on your own terms. Here’s some advice: don’t check the Daily News when the Bills trounce you by three touchdowns.

NFC North Round-Up: Week 18 Includes Some Spoiled Cheese
Jan 8, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) reacts after an interception was nullified by a Detroit Lions penalty during the third quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK

But what’s weird is, I should be happier that you’re gone. Don’t get me wrong, you leaving Green Bay almost assuredly ends the four consecutive decades of Hall of Fame quarterback play. Sure, you proclaimed that Jordan Love would be a great player. Maybe he will be, but I believe the Packers finally find the quarterback position falling in line with the average NFL fanbase: you have a guy with potential, but he doesn’t ever fully reach it.

With all of that said, though, as great as it will be to see you terrorizing another division, I will kind of miss you. The two matchups in 2009 when Brett Favre got his measure of revenge on the Packers was the peak of the Vikings-Packers rivalry. Although you played well in each game, Favre played a little better. It seemed to vindicate his decision to spurn the Packers.

Then, of course, he threw that pass across his body against the Saints to lose the NFC Championship. One year later, you defeated the Bears to advance to the Super Bowl where you’d beat the Steelers for your first, and only, ring.

Aaron Rodgers
Jan 8, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) walks off the field following the game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Because of this, the Packers were once again the team that everyone in the NFC North strived to take down. Even though we took you down a few times, like the 2012 and 2015 season finals, you always got the last laugh in the playoffs. While Joe Webb was tossing passes into the ground and Blair Walsh was shanking field goals into Lake Minnetonka, you still advanced past the Vikings.

You were a pain in the ass, no doubt. When the Packers were good, you were spectacular. When the Packers were bad, you were usually spectacular, too. Because of this, I was usually rooting against you as hard as I rooted for the Vikings.

I don’t know how to fill this void of loving to hate you. Unless Love or Justin Fields take a massive step forward soon, there is going to be a spitefullness in my heart that will fail to be filled. Sure, I’ll root against you in New York, but is that really the same?

No matter what happens with the Jets, whether that’s a Super Bowl or a ho-hum end to your career, none of that will change how you impacted the last 15 years of my life. It was easy to root against you because we all hate the best. If you were just another quarterback, you’d just be a punchline. Instead, you made the Vikings your punching bag more often than not.

Questions Answered: Linval to the Enemy, 3rd and 1 Playcalling, Anthony Barr
Nov 25, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph (98) and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports.

I’m glad you’re gone and hope the door hits you on the way out. But when I see you finally gone in New York, my passion for rooting against the Packers will forever be changed. Beating you was like beating the big brother. I still want the Vikings to topple the Packers every game they play, but it won’t be the same watching them beat you and wiping that smug smile from your face.

I won’t keep you any longer, I know you’re busy packing your bags. Thanks for all the memories, both good and bad. The good memories of beating you put a smile on my face. The bad memories usually lead to me telling an even longer story to friends and family about how you ripped my heart out. And through all of that, I loved to hate you.

All best,

Cole Smith