The Stunning Transformation Of Aaron Rodgers

Even if you don't consider yourself to be a fan of football, there are just some names that you know: Tom Brady, Eli Manning, and, of course, Aaron Rodgers. These — a few of just a handful of players — are names in wide circulation and often make the jump from exclusive sports coverage to mainstream media. Why? Because the men behind the monikers are often legendary players, pop culture staples, and connected to high-profile partners. Take Brady, for example. Not only is he one of — if not — the best quarterback in history, but his marriage to supermodel Gisele Bündchen, one of the most beautiful and successful supermodels in the world, continuously makes headlines. His relationship's coverage may only be second to that of Rodgers, who is certainly no stranger to the tabloids.

As the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, Rodgers has often led the team to high-profile games, championships, and historic moments. Rodgers, of course, is also known for his headline-grabbing love life, connection to A-list actresses, and "The Bachelorette" (we'll explain later). So, how did Rodgers — a kid from a small California town who was often overlooked for other football counterparts — become one of the most talked-about players in the NFL? Here's the stunning transformation of Aaron Rodgers.

Aaron Rodgers' passion for football began at an early age

We often hear that professional athletes pick up their game of choice like a fish takes to water, and Aaron Rodgers is certainly no exception. His early life was centered largely in Northern California, and, given his family's roots in the game, it's certainly not surprising he took an interest in football as soon as he could. As noted by SportyTell, Aaron is the middle child of parents Edward Wesely and Darla Leigh Rodgers — he has two brothers, Jordan Rodgers and Luke Rodgers. Born in Chico, California, on December 2, 1983, Aaron expressed his interest in football when he was just a toddler and could sit through an entire football game (and take interest in it) by the time he was 2 years old — talk about destiny!

Aaron's love for the game, given his father's own athletic background, makes a ton of sense in retrospect. SportyTell noted that Edward was a college football player, and, while he didn't play professionally, his time as a linebacker with the Chico State Wild Cats certainly came in handy when Aaron expressed his love for the same sport.

The quarterback vetted other sports before deciding on football

Aaron Rodgers made it clear while he was still in diapers that he was passionate about football. At just 5 years old, he could point out different positions on the field, identify game and player formations, and spiral a football himself through a hanging car tire without much trouble, per SportyTell. But, of course, Rodgers proved he was versatile when it came to athletics and vetted other sports interests while he was still a kid. Like many of us (although few of us make it to the NFL), playing just about every sport under the sun was simply fun.

After attending Oak Manor Elementary and, later, Vose Elementary after his family moved to Oregon, per SportyTell, Rodgers proved to everyone that football was only one of many sports in which he excelled. By the time he was in middle school, the future NFL quarterback expressed his interest in baseball and joined his middle school league (and we're sure he was great at the storied sport, too). But Rodgers eventually returned to football, and, by the time he attended Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, California, he became the school team's starting quarterback.

Aaron Rodgers spent his youth playing and studying the game of football

Football may look like men simply ramming into each other to some of us, but many fans and players alike know that the game demands intricacy and attention to detail. Aaron Rodgers certainly seemed to figure this out at a young age. Pleasant Valley High School's head coach, Sterling Jackson, told the Bleacher Report that Rodgers sourced football inspiration from the San Francisco 49ers, given the team's close proximity to his hometown. "He loved the 49ers, but he also studied them," Jackson said. "Aaron was one of those kids who just wanted to dive into the sport and all of its aspects."

Jackson went on to share of the NFL quarterback that, on Mondays, Rodgers would come to practice knowing exactly what had gone down for the 49ers over the most recent weekend. "He would talk about defenses that the 49ers saw ... [and that] he could relate to the high school level, and look at ways to create mismatches," Rodgers' former high school position coach, Ron Souza, additionally shared with the Bleacher Report.

Despite his skillset, Aaron Rodgers was not chosen to play for a Division 1 college football team

Aaron Rodgers did not waste any time in high school, and, as quarterback for the Pleasant Valley team, he displayed skills that were off the charts. As per Bleacher Report, he set the high school's record for most passing yards in a single season, and coach Ron Souza shared that he smashed the record due to Rodgers' ability to "[handle] himself well under pressure." Despite his impressive performance on the field and All-Section honors, Rodgers found himself in a precarious position — he had no offers from Division 1 college teams, a nightmare scenario for some.

Clearly, his ability to handle pressure paid off, because Rodgers made his next move after high school. He decided that the best path forward was community college, and, per CBS Sports, he started playing for the Butte Community College team. In just one season, he threw almost 30 touchdowns, leading the team to win the NorCal Conference championship title. Of course, the Division 1 schools took notice, and Rodgers was quickly snatched by the team at the University of California, Berkeley.

The football great was initially overlooked in the NFL draft

You'd think that after his impressive run at Butte Community College, followed by a career at Division 1 school University of California, Berkeley, that Aaron Rodgers would've been the NFL's top pick going into the 2005 battle. Of course, we know him today as one of the most successful NFL quarterbacks, so something had to go well for him, right? Well, as per CBS Sports, Rodgers' transition to pro life wasn't as seamless as you might think because of draft competition.

For the 2005 draft, Rodgers was up against player Alex Smith from Utah to be the first-round pick for the San Francisco 49ers, a team that clearly meant a lot to him. But, instead of opting for the community college rookie-turned-Cal beast, the 49ers chose Smith, and, as such, Rodgers' standing in the draft started to decline. He fell from the No. 1 spot to No. 24 before eventually getting picked by the Green Bay Packers, as CBS Sports noted. While he landed a spot on the team, Rodgers was certainly not the star. He sat behind starting quarterback Brett Favre for three years before he got his shot.

The future quarterback made a name for himself in his rookie year

Aaron Rodgers wasn't going to let a decline in the NFL draft derail him, and after he was selected to play for the Green Bay Packers, he quickly made a name for himself as the guy who refused to go easy on everyone else. As The New York Times reported, Rodgers hardly ever played on Sundays during his rookie year, but, instead, played during practice games throughout the week. His tactics "increasingly agitated" his teammates, but he made himself known, that's for sure.

Here's how it all went down. During practice games, the pace was purposely supposed to be slower and "scripted" — but, instead of a predictable practice game, Rodgers made a point of vetting his now career-defining moves — tight spirals, no-look passes, deep passes — and kept his practicing teammates on their toes. Rodgers' tactics even got him in trouble with the head coach on one occasion. Eleven weeks into the season, an assistant coach told him (per The New York Times), "The head man doesn't appreciate all the Saturday no-look passes because you're making the defense look bad."

Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to Super Bowl victory in 2011

Throughout the course of his career — from high school to community college to Division 1 to the NFL — Aaron Rodgers learned what kind of quarterback he truly was. All that experience came to an amazing conclusion in 2011 when he led the Green Bay Packers to Super Bowl victory, the pinnacle of football stardom. As reported by The New York Times in 2011, it was Rodgers' "levelheadedness" that clinched the win, because, at one point in the game, it looked as if the Pittsburgh Steelers would walk away with the trophy. But, due to the quarterback's "rebound," the Packers proved they were the team that was truly unbeatable.

Rodgers' Super Bowl win was the first time the Packers had taken home the title since 1996, so to say it was a monumental win is an understatement. To make the win even sweeter, the storied Super Bowl trophy — the Vince Lombardi Trophy — was named for a Packers coach, bringing a full-circle component to the win. When it became clear the Packers were going to win, per the publication, Rodgers stood in the middle of the field and "jumped up and down," as he knew, at that moment, what he had accomplished with his teammates.

The quarterback continued to grow as an athlete in the 2010s

After his Super Bowl win in 2011, Aaron Rodgers made it clear he was not a quarterback to be underestimated. He went on to have successful seasons throughout the mid-2010s, and, in 2014, it was looking like the Packers quarterback was untouchable. As per the Bleacher Report, Rodgers' performance in the 2014 season was "consistently" and "brilliantly" executed. His regular season stats, per the publication, "were simply incredible," and it seemed widely assumed that fans would see another Super Bowl victory from the team in the near future. The icing on the cake was Rodgers being named the NFL's most valuable player (MVP) by the Pro Football Writers of America. From all of that success, it seemed as though Rodgers was on top of the world.

However, Rodgers' 2014 season came to a screeching halt when he fell victim to an injury. Late in the season, Rodgers' calf injury became too much to withstand, and his play was limited for the remainder of the season. He soon bounced back, however, and, the following year, was ranked No. 2 in the NFL's top 100 players in 2015.

Aaron Rodgers' personal life made it to the screen in 2016

For much of his career, Aaron Rodgers was all about one thing: football. His personal life hadn't really made it to the mainstream, and his media coverage was largely focused on the game and nothing more. But all of that changed in 2016 when his brother, Jordan Rodgers, became a contestant on JoJo Fletcher's season of "The Bachelorette." As many of us know, Jordan got all the way to the finale, popped the question, and is still with Fletcher to this day. However, his presence on screen raised a lot of questions about the Green Bay Packers quarterback, as Jordan revealed there was a ton of tension among his family members — so much so that the two brothers no longer spoke.

So, how did Aaron take the newfound coverage of his personal life? He shared in a rather cold-shoulder way with MISN 12 News, via Us Weekly, that he didn't take issue with it because he didn't watch the show. "So it hasn't really affected me a whole lot," he added. While he said he found Jordan's candidness "a little inappropriate," he wished his brother "well in the competition."

His relationship with Olivia Munn sparked concern in 2017

Jordan Rodgers' presence on "The Bachelorette" may not have bothered Aaron Rodgers initially, but it certainly marked a shift in the coverage that the Packers quarterback got in the press. In a sit-down interview with The New York Times in early 2017, Aaron's dad, Ed Rodgers, told the storied newspaper that the familial rift with Aaron was "complicated" and that a "thaw" in the relationship was unlikely.

So, what caused such a shift in the family dynamic? It may have had something to do with Aaron's relationship with actress Olivia Munn, whom he started dating in 2014. "Aaron is the one that has pulled away from the family, not the reverse," an inside source told Us Weekly at the time. "When he got together with Olivia Munn, his family told him they didn't trust her and thought she wasn't with him for the right reasons. That made him furious, and he ended up choosing Olivia over his family." Apparently, the couple were also peeved that Ed did the interview with The Times.

So, was all that drama worth it? Not likely. Aaron and Olivia split up in April 2017, per People.

In 2021, the football player's love life was once again in the spotlight

Aaron Rodgers, of course, continued to play professional football and prove himself on the field, but even more of his personal life was thrust into the spotlight as the years went on. After his split from Olivia Munn, Rodgers was publicly linked to Danica Patrick, but all of that changed in February 2021 when Rodgers and actress Shailene Woodley started getting cozy. Bonded over their mutual love of their individual careers, it was a coupling that few saw coming but seemingly made a lot of sense — then, Rodgers dropped the ball. "2020 was definitely a crazy year, filled with lots of change, growth, some amazing memorable moments," Rodgers said while accepting the NFL's 2020 MVP award (via Page Six). "I got engaged, and I played some of the best football of my career."

Say what? The random engagement announcement certainly took fans by surprise, and, just a short while later, the "Big Little Lies" actress confirmed the news. "For us, it's not new news, so it's kind of funny everybody right now is freaking out over it," Woodley said during an appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon."

Aaron Rodgers' vaccination status led to extreme backlash

COVID-19 made everything in life feel really difficult, so when vaccination options began to roll out across the U.S., many quickly jumped at the opportunity to roll up their sleeve. Of course, the COVID-19 vaccine — like many vaccines — faced backlash from a loud minority, and, given restrictions imposed on those who aren't vaccinated, judgment and resentment quickly rooted. Aaron Rodgers got entangled in a vaccine-related mess in August 2021, and the entire debacle made its way to the headlines.

As per Sporting News, Rodgers' web of vaccine entanglement began when, during a preseason press conference, he said he had been "immunized." He followed up by saying, "There's guys on the team that haven't been vaccinated. I think it's a personal decision. I'm not going to judge those guys." Flash forward to November, and Rodgers' words came back to haunt him. As it turns out, he had not gotten vaccinated and was ruled out of a game against the Chiefs. He later apologized for "misleading" fans and shared that he was consulting both friends and Joe Rogan about the vaccine. To say it was a mess is an understatement.

Aaron Rodgers' relationship with Shailene Woodley is on hold

To say that Aaron Rodgers and Shailene Woodley had a whirlwind relationship, at least in the public eye, is an understatement. Their time together quickly blossomed, and, for a while, it seemed as though they were the next NFL/Hollywood "it" couple. But, as noted by Us Weekly, the two called it quits, reportedly due to Rodgers' infatuation with football and only football. "They were definitely over," an inside source told Us Weekly about the notoriously private couple.

So, where do things stand, as of publication? The couple is reportedly trying to figure things out and have supposedly reconciled over recent weeks. "Now that Aaron is in [the] off season, he has more downtime and can focus more on a relationship," the source shared with Us Weekly. "Shailene is understanding and open — she hasn't shut the door completely or [she] would've never agreed to meet up with him." For now, the couple is keeping "things private," and, while they don't know what the future holds, it's said they're trying to "figure [things] out." Here's to hoping it all works out in the end as it's meant to.

The football star's career with the Green Bay Packers is up in the air

Aaron Rodgers is one of the most successful quarterbacks in the NFL, and, after a long and lucrative career with the Green Bay Packers, his time with the team may be up in the air. As noted by Sports Illustrated, the Washington Commanders have their sights set on Rodgers, as their head coach, Ron Rivera, is determined to snatch him away from Green Bay. This has reportedly put Rodgers in a position to negotiate his salary, and some have noted that the quarterback is after a massive pay day. After making $33.5 million with Green Bay, Rodgers is reportedly seeking a pay day of $50 million from a potential new team — this would put him in a historic position when it comes to NFL salaries.

So, how do his current teammates feel about their quarterback? Greg Jennings, former Packers receiver, didn't mince his words about the Green Bay star. "Aaron Rodgers has been a very selfish guy," Jennings said, per Sports Illustrated. "I go back to personal experiences. His words to me were, 'Don't be that guy' (regarding taking up too much of the salary cap). All of a sudden, it's about the money."

Only time will tell whether Rodgers stays put with the Packers or moves on to explore new horizons.