After stunning the Cowboys at Dallas on Sunday, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers needs just one more victory to reach his second career Super Bowl. It's an accomplishment that would certainly enhance his legacy, and make most of Wisconsin ecstatic—along with those in and around his hometown of Chico, California.
But, as Bleacher Report first noted in November and then The New York Times confirmed on Sunday, Rodgers' close family—his mother Darla, father Ed, and his younger brother, Jordan, who happens to be the top co-star on "The Bachelorette"—is harboring complicated feelings about him.
Aaron Rodgers won't say what the matter is, but instead "politely" told the Times: "I just don't think it's appropriate talking about family stuff publicly." But his father confirmed the Bleacher Report feature, which said Rodgers hasn't talked to his family since December 2014. The implication: Something has changed Aaron Rodgers. Fame? His famous girlfriend, actress Olivia Munn? It's not pinpointed.
From Bleacher Report:
Immediate family members don't even have his cellphone number. When Mom and Dad sent Christmas presents to the quarterback and his girlfriend that year, the source said, those gifts were mailed back in February. He was set to be the groomsman in the wedding of one of his closest friends, the source said, and texted the day before he couldn't attend.
He didn't attend his grandfather's funeral—the same grandfather he once called before every game.
He fired a business manager he's known since high school.
The family was told they were no longer welcome in Green Bay. If Dad wants to attend a game now, he buys tickets on StubHub or goes through another player's family.
Bleacher Report framed the Rodgers family rift as a subplot, an explanation why Aaron was struggling on the field at the time. That was three months ago, but with the way he's been playing lately, it's hard to believe Rodgers was ever struggling. His relationship with his family, however, doesn't seem to have improved as much as his game.
Rodgers remains in contact with high school friends and others, just not his folks and Jordan, a former pro quarterback, who tried explaining the rift during a "Bachelorette" episode. No matter what Jordan ever did as a quarterback, he said, it was never good enough because Aaron Rodgers always would have done it better.
What's that all about? Can't get more veiled than that. Whatever the deal, Jordan, who lives in Dallas with his "Bachelorette" fiancee, did not happen to reconcile with his big bro when the Pack came to town to play the Cowboys in the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers said he didn't even know if his brother would attend the game.
Ed Rodgers said it was weird to have personal things like that become news, telling the Times: "Airing public laundry is not what I would have chosen."
Perhaps now that at least a vague notion of what's happening is out in the open, the healing can begin? Whatever the divide, this much is certain: Rodgers' strained relationship certainly isn't impacting him on the field right now.