After Aaron Rodgers aces first night as 'Jeopardy!' host (field goal question and all), Shailene Woodley joins him for live recap
Not unlike on the football field, the defining moment of Aaron Rodgers’ inaugural performance as “Jeopardy!” guest host on Monday came down to the final minutes.
Up until then, the Green Bay Packers quarterback did a “pretty, pretty good” impersonation of Larry David from “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” glided through the pronunciation of Toyama Trough and Yamato Basin, tossed in a little "arrrgh" pirate humor and dropped a “Go Bears” (no, not those Bears, the California Golden Bears), but it was his reaction to a Final Jeopardy! response that made the night.
Returning champ Scott Shewfelt, a writer originally from Canada, opted not to take a shot at the correct answer, which was Fred Rogers, by the way, but instead go for a humorous jab at the host by writing down, “Who wanted to kick that field goal?”
It immediately made Rodgers laugh and then take a moment before responding. “That is a great question. Should be correct but unfortunately, for this game today, it’s incorrect," he said.
It was a reference to the NFC championship game in January in which the Packers trailed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by 8 points in the final minutes. The Packers decided to kick a field goal rather than go for it on fourth and goal. Rodgers never got the ball back and the Packers lost 31-26 at Lambeau Field.
That viral curveball aside, Rodgers’ first episode of 10 filling in for the late Alex Trebek was as smooth as his slicked-back hair. There were no noticeable stumbles. He seemed at ease. He was trigger-quick with “no” when a response was incorrect. He dutifully chatted up one contestant about playing in a Celtic band and another about taking the online “Jeopardy!” test in the middle of a concert.
Early comments from viewers on the “Jeopardy!” Facebook page ran the gamut but did not bring the backlash that came with Dr. Mehmet Oz's hosting duties in the two weeks prior.
“Aaron is easy on the eyes and I like his comfortable style of speaking — pleasant and great smile!” wrote one person. “Watched Jeopardy! today with host Aaron Rodgers and it was the first time I’ve ever fallen asleep while watching this show. Guess I’ll be getting 9 more naps during Jeopardy! hour while he hosts,” wrote another.
Someone else, obviously not from Wisconsin, wrote, “I am not into sports, so I did not know this fellow ..."
Rodgers retweeted a couple of comments from high-profile friends, including professional golfer Max Homa, who tweeted: "I didn't know I needed Aaron Rodgers as Jeopardy host until now."
But the biggest post-game show surprise was a playful Instagram Live recap Rodgers did with fiancée Shailene Woodley in which she read 10 questions from social media and he answered. Also joining them on the couch, her 95-pound German shepherd.
Somebody asked if Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari would be a better guest host than Rodgers (see also Bakhtiari as better beer chugger).
"No chance in the world. Zero chance," Rodgers said. "He would say yes for sure ... He's very funny and outspoken, but he gets nervous when he has to speak in front of big crowds."
Rodgers said Packers tight end Robert "Big Bob" Tonyan was an inspiration for growing his hair out the last 10 months, and he talked about watching more than 100 hours of "Jeopardy!" to prepare for his hosting duties.
He also talked about the Final Jeopardy! moment from Monday's show. As host, he could see at his podium what Shewfelt was starting to write but not all of it until the reveal.
"I still am not sure why we didn't kick that field goal, but great job by the champ there on that Final Jeopardy! answer," Rodgers said.
When asked if he'd rather win another Super Bowl or host "Jeopardy!" full time, Rodgers answered, "Both." He thinks he could continue to play football for six months out of the year and still have the time for the show's filming schedule, which is five shows a day for 46 days for a total of 230 episodes a year.
“Jeopardy!” is matching the earnings from the contestants for each episode Rodgers hosts and donating to his chosen charity, North Valley Community Foundation, which is helping small businesses affected by the pandemic in his hometown of Chico, California. The first night’s amount was $26,224.
Contact Kendra Meinert at 920-431-8347 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @KendraMeinert.