Dingus of the week: Aaron Rogers
Our resident football correspondent, Taylor Kay Phillips, weighs in
Welcome to the weekly dingus, where I make fun of someone or something in the news that’s made our lives a little dumber. This week, I invited comedian, writer, and Kansas City Chief’s expertto come back and crown a dingus for the newsletter. You might remember Taylor from one of the best dinguses of all time — when we did a dingus double header and she made fun of the Chief’s superfan, who loves to do crimes. This time, Taylor’s back with more sports analysis, this time about Aaron Rogers.
Never miss a dingus by becoming a subscriber to this newsletter.
You can support Taylor by buying her book. And with that, I turn it over to Taylor…
Happy Friday, everyone! It is an honor to be back in the Dingus Den™.
Let’s talk about what happened in the world of football this month. STOP. NO! Don’t close this email to go see if that Anthropologie coupon sitting in your inbox is worth it! (It’s not! 15% off $48 is still too much for a candle.)
I am not talking about what happened during the actual sports ball, I am talking about what happened in the press between games. A back and forth that “ended” with former Green Bay Packers Quarterback and current anti-vax douchecanoe Aaron Rodgers turning to the first page of the Devil’s Advocate Playbook and challenging current Chiefs tight end and future Taylor Swift song subject, Travis Kelce, to “a debate” about vaccines.
In order to fully understand the nuances of this complex and equally matched1 tete-a-tete, it’s important for us to take a step back and elucidate the situational foundation on which this conflict arose. The provocations are three-fold:
Aaron Rodgers is bored.
Aaron Rodgers is jealous.
Aaron Rodgers is a tool.
Because this year is not going as planned for sports’ second-best A. Rod.
This year, Rodgers was supposed to be the starting Quarterback for the New York Jets, joining Brett Favre in the lineage of great Packers Quarterbacks who left the team and then promptly dove headfirst into an all-caps WHAT THE FUCK lifestyle. Of course Aaron “I’m immunized” Rodgers was pulling nonsense before his time on the Jets, but that could all come secondary to his “throwin’ the ball real good.”
But he tore his Achilles in the first game of the season and has now, apparently, decided to spend his time picking fights with…the most famous football player in America.
Because to be clear, Aaron Rodgers started this whole thing out of fucking nowhere.
Kelce’s Chiefs played the Rodgers-less NY Jets two weeks ago in a game you might remember as The One Taylor Swift and Blake Lively and Sophie Turner Went To Together and also Antoni from Queer Eye Was There Because, Sure.
The Chiefs beat the Jets 23-20 while Rodgers watched from a sad little box. At one point during the game, in between cuts to T-Swift, the broadcast aired a new commercial featuring Travis Kelce (and his badass mother, Donna) letting everyone know that you can get the COVID-19 booster and your Flu shot at the same time. It’s a cute spot that ends with him making this even cuter lil face!
(Also, I’m gonna put on my former advertiser hat here to say that the creative team almost CERTAINLY wanted there to be two different brightly colored band-aids in this shot, and the client said something like, “The audience won’t know that they’re band-aids if they’re both a color” and the Creative Director was like, ”… fine.”)
And then, two days later, Aaron Rodgers went on The Pat McAfee show to talk about the game and said this:
"[It was a] moral victory out there," …"that we hung with the champs and that our defense played well, and Pat [Mahomes] didn't have a crazy game, and Mr. Pfizer [Kelce], we kind of shut him down. He didn't have his crazy impact game."
Like. Whoa!? What!?
Now look, there are plenty of ways to playfully rib Travis Kelce. The man is a 6 foot 5 self-professed mama’s boy. He was on a dating reality show called Catching Kelce! He’s in an ad for State Farm where the bit is that his name is “MaAuto” because Patrick Mahomes is “MaHomes” and State Farm insures both “MaHomes and MaAuto.” He shot his shot with one of the Top 5 Most Famous Women in the World™ on his own podcast. He said the phrase “she might have to come see me rock the stage at Arrowhead” with his full chest and then Taylor Swift showed up at his job and ate a chicken tender with his mom.
And this is all without even mentioning that this man is transitioning from a well-known football player to one of the most famous men in the world while sporting the facial hair of Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
All this to say, if you want to have a fun back and forth with Travis, the options are there.
But Rodgers went with Mr. Pfizer, a barb with big, “Ha ha! You care about grades, dork!” energy. And Kelce responded like a champ.
Which he is.
Cause the Chiefs won the Super Bowl.
Okay, sorry I’ll stop.
"I thought it was pretty good," Kelce told reporters Friday about Rodgers' remark. "With this mustache right now I look like a guy named Mr. Pfizer. Who knew I'd get into the vax wars with Aaron Rodgers, man? Mr. Pfizer vs. the Johnson and Johnson family over there."
When asked why he appeared in the commercial, Kelce added: "I got it because of keeping myself safe, keeping my family safe, the people in this building, so yeah I stand by it 1000%. Fully comfortable with him calling me Mr. Pfizer."
Fair play to Travis for owning the mustache. Although it bears repeating that he does not look like “a guy named Mr. Pfizer,” he looks like The King of Queens’ Kevin James in the 2009 American comedy film, Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
And yeah, the future former Mr. Swift took it all in stride and with grace: asserting his pro-vax stance while
laughing at shaking off the ridiculousness of it.
But Aaron Rodgers who is neither maybe-dating a superstar nor playing the game of football was not quite done having his name show up in SEO results with Travis Kelce’s. So on the Pat McAfee show, Rodgers kept the nonsense going.
"I made a tiny little joke about a guy shilling for a potentially ... corrupt company and everybody kind of loses their minds," Rodgers said.
"Mr. Pfizer said he didn't think he would be in vax war with me. This ain't a war, homie. This is just conversation," the amused Rodgers continued. "But if you want to have some sort of duel, debate, have me on the podcast, come on the show, let us have a conversation."
Now we can talk about the hypocrisy of Rodgers’ “surprise” that people were listening to the intentionally incendiary comment that he made on a show that’s broadcast to millions of people, but honestly, KC Star Reporter Sam McDowell already did a glorious breakdown of it.
What I want to point out here is the absolute rhetorical word salad that Mr. “I’m Not Ready to Lose the Attention Being an Elite Professional Athlete Afforded Me” tossed together in that remark. This is not “a war” it’s just “a conversation.”2 But at the same time, if Kelce does want to have “a duel,” he’s invited to duke it out with Rodgers in…”a conversation?”
Rodgers continued to propose a “John Wick: Chapter 4” style faceoff where each man would have “seconds” to…I guess take their place if someone got too “sick burned.”
Kelce could enlist former head of the National Institute of Health, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Rodgers himself said he’d take environmental lawyer (not a doctor), political candidate (not a doctor), and man with a famous last name (but no M.D. after it) Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for his team…in the debate…that is also a duel…that is also like a Keanu Reeves movie.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But not every opinion is entitled to equal levels of respect.
The “we’re just having a conversation” and “why won’t you debate me” contingent of
people men continue to treat experience or expertise with at best, skepticism and at most, contempt. It is not worth everyone’s time to have “a conversation” with people who are coming to the table at a totally different level of interest, understanding, and, yeah, intellect.
“If LeBron James actually thought he was the best basketball player to ever play the game, what’s stopping him from having a free throw contest with me!?”
The fact that he’s the best basketball player. And you are some dude. That’s what’s stopping him.
“Travis Kelce made an ad for Pfizer. Why is he so scared of a conversation about vaccines?”
He’s not scared. He’s busy. The check has cleared. The shot(s) are shot. He got football to play. The Taylor Swift Eras tour movie to watch. A podcast to do. And Guilder to frame for it. He’s swamped!
Aaron Rodgers can keep smirking, feigning surprise at all the attention, and acting baffled that the best tight end in football is too chicken to debate medicine with a guy who thinks listening to dolphins fucking will help his tendon heal.
But someone doesn’t have to be scared of a conversation to determine that some views aren’t worthy of one.
And now for something good…
What I am drinking…
It’s the season of illness. So this week, I drank a lot of hot toddies to restore my soul and my voice.
My recipe is always a mug of tea (your choice of flavor), lemon juice, honey, and whiskey. These ingredients are not to be measured and you simply pour them. More lemon if you need more vitamin C, more honey if you need something to soothe you, more whiskey if you need to sleep. Someone once told me that hot toddies definitely scientifically cure you. And it sounds like just enough science for me to believe it. But not enough science for it it be conclusively true.
VinePair wrote history of the toddy, which has been a cure for decades if not centuries. And who are you to question the deep magic?
Remind me, do millions of people die of a virus in all “conversations” or just this one?