Why we care about Aaron Rodgers

Chicoans and Packer fans have a love-hate relationship with the new starting quarterback

Whether you love him or hate him, Aaron Rodgers’ first season as starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers has stirred some major emotions. Here’s a look at the former Pleasant Valley and Butte College star through the eyes of two local football fans.

Chicoans love Aaron Rodgers. After all, this town hasn’t necessarily been a hotbed for professional sports heroes. Then along came Aaron, a rifle-armed local who helped bring the University of California program into national prominence and went on to become a first-round draft pick in the National Football League’s most storied franchise, the Green Bay Packers. Finally, this season, he’s their starting quarterback. All the while, the fact that he is from our little town of Chico has been the part of his story he’s loved to tell.

That’s not to say he’s guaranteed to succeed in the NFL, though I sure wouldn’t bet against him. It’s clear that Packers didn’t want to get rid of the face of their franchise, Brett Favre, as much as they wanted to pass that baton on to Rodgers.

But even if Rodgers struggles to fill those gigantic cleats, even if it turns out he isn’t cut out for the NFL, he won’t break our hearts. That’s because Aaron is someone this town can be proud of because he represents us well.

We’re not a town that cares so much about making the big bucks. Living in Chico and making big bucks is an oxymoron, right? We’re not a town that cares so much about reaching the top at all costs. We just want a good place to raise our kids.

Aaron is as Chico as they come. He’s genuine. He gives back to the community, mostly through his support of Chico Area Young Life. He’s goofy enough to grow his hair out dirty long and even sport a mustache. He’s serious enough to care about the lives of the Butte College football players who are following in his footsteps and show up on his bye week to offer them words of encouragement.

Yep, Aaron Rodgers is someone Chicoans can be proud to love. It will be fun to watch him throw a bunch of touchdown passes and win a bunch of games, because he’s one of us. He’s a Chicoan. That he’s a Chicoan we can watch on television every Sunday just makes it all a little more fun.

—Luke Reid

I have been a Green Bay Packers fan, and in particular a Brett Favre fan, for as long as I can remember. That said, without knowing the guy personally, I hate Aaron Rodgers. Who in their right mind would replace one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game with a nobody? Ted Thompson must be going senile, because to let Favre go makes no sense. I don’t even know anything about this guy’s stats, and I don’t care. With Favre gone the Pack has about zero chance of making it to the big game.

I just read a quote from the good ol’ boy AR: “I do not have to sell myself to the fans. They need to get on board now, or keep their mouths shut.” Well if he wants to have a short career with the Pack, I would keep talking like that, seeing as the Packers are the only fan-owned team in the NFL.

I really hate the fact that I have to cheer for another team, now that Favre signed with the Jets, and the fact that I can’t go outside with my No. 4 jersey without having some jackass say something like, “Looks like you’re gonna have to burn that jersey now.”

Now I know how 49er fans felt when Joe Montana left for the Chiefs back in ‘93 though I don’t think AR will be a Steve Young.

Sorry to all the Chicoans out there who are all happy that one of the locals has made it to the big show, but I couldn’t care less. We have lost a great asset on the Packers that will never return. Go Jets!

—Josh Graham