GREEN BAY PACKERS

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers calls report about hand signals 'dumbest nothingburger article' this season

Christopher Kuhagen
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Like every Tuesday when Aaron Rodgers goes on "The Pat McAfee Show" you never know what to expect. And this week was no different following the Packers' win over the Rams on Monday night.

Sure, there was football talk, as he outlined the Packers' path to the playoffs, he provided a brief update on his broken thumb (it's "a lot better" after the bye, he said), he described his failed Hail Mary attempt at the end of the first half, praised Keisean Nixon and his return abilities, and like always talked about his NFL future.

Then late in the 50-plus minute chat there was alien and UFO talk. And to top it off, this week's recommendation in his book club brought us back to one of his favorite pastimes of COVID.

But the Packers quarterback, who was in a festive spirit by wearing a "The Big Lebowski" ugly Christmas sweater, also wanted to have his say on another trending topic swirling around the internet: hand signals.

And with the open floor on McAfee's show, No. 12 wasn't about to let a report that detailed the challenge for rookie receivers to learn hand signals in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense untouched.

A story published in The Athletic last week titled "Signal meetings and Aaron Rodgers’ ‘little death stare’: What it’s like for Packers’ rookie receivers" indicated how the 18-year veteran Rodgers uses hand signals from years ago but that the young receivers have to learn over 30 of them on the fly because they aren't taught them or written down anywhere. Instead, they get passed down from players with the coaches even unaware of them. And there are quizzes on Saturdays, which can leave players in uncomfortable situations, according to the report. Several current and former players were interviewed on the record for the story.

"What's going on with all your signals," AJ Hawk, one of McAfee's co-hosts and Rodgers' good friend, not so subtly probed Rodgers during the show. "Are you the only one that knows what's going on?"

Rodgers then went off.

"It is by far the dumbest nothingburger article that I have read in the entire season," Rodgers said. "I won’t say in my career, cause last year there was some of the dumbest articles you could possibly imagine. I don’t think you could ever top the COVID toe Wall Street Journal.  

"But this was the dumbest article by far. Ninety-five percent of that article is absolute complete horse (expletive). The other 5% is exaggerated nothingness."

Rodgers didn't say what parts of the article he took exception with.

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McAfee gave an example from Monday night when Rodgers used a hand signal by brushing his arm and looked in the direction of rookie wide receiver Christian Watson, before the snap on one of the final plays of the game with the Packers at the Rams 4-yard line. Watson apparently didn't get the signal as he never looked back for the ball, resulting in an incompletion.

"You wanna catch touchdowns, you run the right routes," Rodgers said with a laugh to ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters on the field after the game.

Rodgers said each week backup quarterback Jordan Love makes up a list of the signals the team could use for the week and then he selects a few offensive players to question them. Rodgers explained he did this when he was a backup.

"It might be nervewracking the first time you do it," Rodgers said. "But listen, every signal that’s used in a game is probably used in practice that week.

"It's not like there's that many signals," Rodgers continued. "There's some signals in the 2-minute (drill). I think we maybe missed one or two for the entire season. It's not hard at all. The fact that this is made to a story, it's the most ridiculous, nothing story that I've read the entire year and that’s saying a lot."

Rodgers is a big fan of Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Erin Andrews

While Rodgers took exception with that report, he made it a point to praise other media members on Tuesday, specifically TV crews that call his games.

He said he's been a fan of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for a long time, the longtime Fox announcers who made the switch over this season to ESPN for "Monday Night Football."

He also highlighted sideline reporter Erin Andrews, who is still part of the No. 1 Fox broadcast team, as a favorite.

"That's kind of my all-time favorite crew," Rodgers said, referencing the former Buck-Aikman-Andrews trio. "There's a trust that grows with the information that's shared, because some of it is to help them do their job better and some of it is just hey, we're friends. We're going to talk like friends do. A lot of times that's what it turned in to.

"That group will always be really special to me."

He added because Buck and Aikman are on ESPN he now has "turned the sound back on" to the channel.

"Those guys and Lisa (Salters) do a really nice job," Rodgers said.

The late John Madden, Al Michaels, Mike Tirico, Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Cris Collinsworth are also on his list of favorites, Rodgers mentioned Tuesday.

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