Interview: NFL Superstar Aaron Rodgers Talks Super Bowl LII, Loving ‘Game of Thrones,’ and Playing As Long As Tom Brady

Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass during a game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on September 9, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Even though he’d much rather play in the biggest game of the year, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers hasn’t missed out on enjoying the Super Bowl LII experience.

“There’s nothing like the Super Bowl atmosphere,” Rodgers told Men’s Journal. “You bring in a lot of people, some great energy, and some really great fan bases to the city.”

Rodgers, the Men’s Fitness September 2017 cover star, knows his way around the big event after leading the Packers to a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, which was held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX.

“It seems like a long time ago now—well, unfortunately, it was,” Rodgers says with a laugh. “Media day was fantastic. Having my own podium with media from all around the world was a really cool experience. Winning the game and being Super Bowl champions was a dream come true.”

Super Bowl challenges—and fun experiences

During preparations for the game that year, a massive snow and ice storm descended on the Dallas-Fort Worth area, forcing Rodgers and the Packers to make some last-minute changes to their practice plans.

“We were supposed to practice at SMU and we had some crazy weather come in, making the week a bit disjointed,” Rodgers says. “We ended up practicing at a local high school that had a roof that was only about 50′ tall. So there wasn’t a lot of deep passes being thrown at practice, or punts either. One of my favorite memories was when we got sized up for rings Saturday night before the game. It wasn’t an arrogance thing…we just had a lot of confidence. And that was probably the only time we’d all be together like that.”

This year, Rodgers, 34, is hanging in Minneapolis and is hosting a VIP event on Friday night for 12 members and their guests—at which he’ll do a Q&A session, sign some autographs, and mix and mingle with the fans.

Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass during a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field on August 16, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Steelers 51-34. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

“It’s fun to get to interact and spend some one-on-one time and get to know everyone in a more personal setting,” Rodgers says. “The fans have a great time and you get to hear about their football experiences, and why they love their teams. I love being able to interact with the fans and show everyone a good time. It’s been a great partnership so far, and we’re excited to show these members a pretty good time.”

Another wild Super Bowl game?

As for the Super Bowl game itself between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, Rodgers didn’t make a prediction about the winner, but expects a tight game. Rodgers thinks that the key matchup on Sunday will be between the Eagles defense, and the Patriots offense.

“I think it’s going to be a close game,” Rodgers says. “I think Philly has fantastic defense, but what they did on offense last game in the NFC Championship was outstanding against a great defense in Minnesota. So I think giving Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels two weeks to prepare really helps—those are two of the top coaches in the league—but on the flip side, you’re giving Doug Pederson and his staff two weeks as well. A lot of credit goes to the Patriots for what they’ve done and accomplished, but Doug and his staff have done a great job, and they’re going to be ready to play. I expect a really good game.”

No matter how the game starts off in the first half, Rodgers cautioned to not count anyone out—especially the Patriots.

“As we saw last year, you can’t give up on either team,” Rodgers says. “It’s 28-3 in the third quarter and then all of a sudden Tom Brady starts working, and then it ended up going the other way. I don’t have a prediction about who will win, but I am really just looking forward to the game.”

Rodgers is ready to play ’10 more years’

With Brady back in the Super Bowl at the age of 40 and playing at an MVP level, is Rodgers thinking about playing for that long, too? Rodgers told Peter King of the MMQB in training camp that he hopes to “play another 10 years,” and he echoed that sentiment when asked ahead of Super Bowl LII.

“I do, 100%. That’s the expectation—to play at that age like Brady,” Rodgers says. “That’s what I’m shooting for. I think you have to continue to grow and evolve and adapt as a player. To play that long, you have to focus on your diet and core strength, but also the legs. The legs always go first. I want to be able to run well at 40 so I can keep playing the way I want to play.”

Like Brady, Rodgers has stayed relatively healthy during the course of his career, although he was limited to just seven games in 2017 after suffering a collarbone injury. Rodgers came back in Week 15, but was later shut down when the Packers were eliminated from the playoffs. Despite the injury, Rodgers is feeling healthy and says there are no limitations on his training this off-season.

“I’m already back to working out,” Rodgers says. “I’m doing everything without any issues. That injury, I was wrapped up, there was nothing I could do about it. I’m not going to change the way I play. Training-wise, I’m doing my usual of squats, lunges, box jumps, running on a treadmill for minutes on end. Those things that aren’t the most enjoyable for me turn out to be the best for my body. I’ll do a lot of movement stretching, and I enjoy yoga and getting loose, working the hips and glutes. Those are important parts of the body. So it’s all working in conjunction, making sure your strength is right and improving flexibility. I feel good about this season having zero issues coming in.”

King in the North…division

There are still about seven months until training camp opens up, so Rodgers will have some time on his hands. One thing that he enjoys doing in the off-season is watching the HBO series Game of Thrones; but this year he’ll have to wait: The show isn’t coming back until 2019. To get through that long layoff, Rodgers is binge-watching a very different type of show.

Jeopardy, that’s one of my favorites,” Rodgers says. “It’s fun trying to get everything right, and then, of course, you have Alex Trebek, who is the G.O.A.T.; he’s just the best. No better host on TV than that guy.”

But when Game of Thrones does return, Rodgers will be ready with his fun theories.

“I just love the characters,” Rodgers says. “On any great show you think about, you feel an emotional attachment to the characters. On this show, there are a lot of characters like that, whether it’s Jon Snow, or Daenerys, or Jorah, there’s so many you feel attached to. The show’s phenomenally written and exciting, and there are twists through it. I just can’t wait for the next season.”

Although the show is already deep into production, would Rodgers be game for a cameo, like what Mets star Noah Syndergaard did during Season 7?

“One-hundred percent.”

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