Aaron Rodgers Returns to ‘Pat McAfee Show’ to Bid Bill Belichick Farewell

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Aaron Rodgers wasted little time returning to ESPN’s Pat McAfee Show, even though McAfee said on Wednesday that the New York Jets quarterback was done for the season.

The reason? Rodgers wanted to wish Bill Belichick a farewell as the legendary coach moves on from the New England Patriots.

Appearing on the program from what he described as a location in the woods, Rodgers—who made waves on McAfee’s show over the past two weeks with his comments about Jimmy Kimmel—discussed Belichick’s impact on the NFL and his relationship with the six-time Super Bowl champion.

“Bill did things his own way and had a ton of success with it, and people tried to copy it and couldn’t do it,” Rodgers said. “I think that’s the greatest compliment you can give Bill besides the respect of competing against him.”

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots talks with Aaron Rodgers of the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on January 7. Rodgers had praise this week for the departing coach.
Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Rodgers also expressed respect for former Alabama coach Nick Saban, who announced his retirement less than 24 hours before news broke about Belichick’s split with the Patriots.

“Those are two iconic, iconic coaches,” Rodgers said. “I think in general we play this game, we love this game, there’s this idea about game changers and people who actually change the gamer. In actuality, there’s very few people who really move the game forward, players or coaches. But when you’re talking about people who actually made a difference in the game and moved the game forward and were trailblazers and game changers, Bill Belichick and Nick Saban were those guys.”

Rodgers detailed the final conversation he had with Belichick on the sidelines of the Patriots’ Week 18 loss to the Jets. As snow fell around the duo, two football greats discussed something they both know very well: football.

“One of my favorite things about Bill is his love for the game, whether he’s talking about the top 100 players or watching some of those segments. Or whether it’s him and I bs-ing on the field before a Week 18 ultimately meaningless—as far as in the standings—game about a 2019 game that happened at MetLife and throwing a backside post route to Allen Lazard in a torrential snow-down,” Rodgers said. “That’s just the guy he is.”

Rodgers went on to call Belichick’s postgame interactions with him over the years as “the coolest, classiest things ever.”

“Kudos to Nick [Saban] on a Hall of Fame career, and the amount of players and young men he’s impacted is exponential,” Rodgers said. “Bill, love you man. So much respect. You changed the game and continue to do that, and I know you will keep doing that.”

After the call with Rodgers wrapped up, McAfee briefly addressed his presence in light of the recent controversy.

“He found it to be pretty important too because he has a lot of respect for Bill, wanted to pay his respects to Bill Belichick,” McAfee said.

McAfee later added, “We’ve all had friends that put us in situations where we’re like, ‘Did we have to?’ I’ve been that guy.”

With Rodgers sidelined all season due to an Achilles injury, the Jets finished the season 7-10 and missed the playoffs. He is expected to return next season.