A few months after Rodgers won his second NFL MVP award in 2015, he was a contestant on “Celebrity Jeopardy!” and proved he was capable of dominating the competition in that arena, too. The Super Bowl winner dispatched former astronaut Mark Kelly — now a United States senator — and “Shark Tank” entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary en route to winning $50,000 for his charity of choice, the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer).
Now Rodgers will be seeking the right questions from others, a development he revealed earlier Tuesday during an interview on “The Pat McAfee Show.” Later that day, the 37-year-old quarterback apologized to “Jeopardy!” producers for possibly having “jumped the gun a little bit” with his impromptu announcement.
“I just got so excited on the show earlier,” Rodgers told reporters. “It just went down the last couple of days, us figuring it out. It’s for the offseason — we’ll be even more excited when that opportunity gets a little closer.”
Rodgers told McAfee that Trebek, who died in November at 80 after hosting “Jeopardy!” since 1984, was one of his “idols growing up.”
“The show has been so special to me over the years,” he subsequently said during the Packers’ media session. “It’s been a staple at my house here in Green Bay for the last 16 years — 6 o’clock, watching Alex, and trying to get as many questions as I can. When the opportunity came up in 2015, I mean, that was a dream come true. It really was. To be on there, to get to meet Alex, was just such a special moment, and we’re all obviously sad about his passing.
“I’ve said it before, when he passed, but there’s this nostalgic connection to certain figures in our life, based on our childhood and where we were at at those times when we had those memories. It almost makes these people feel like family, like you know them.”
The final set of “Jeopardy!” episodes with Trebek aired last week, and Jennings, whose 74-game winning streak in 2004 remains the longest in the program’s history, made his debut Monday as the first guest host. The 46-year-old writer and TV personality, who received a congratulatory handshake from Trebek last year after winning the “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” tournament, paid tribute to his predecessor after he took the stage to the accompaniment of the familiar theme music.
“Not many things in life are perfect,” Jennings told the camera, “but Alex did this job pretty much perfectly for more than 36 years. And it was even better up close. We were dazzled by his intelligence, his charm and his grace.”
“Like all ‘Jeopardy!’ fans, I miss Alex, very much,” he continued, his voice quavering with emotion. “And I thank him for everything he did for all of us. Let’s be totally clear: No one will ever replace the great Alex Trebek. But we can honor him by playing the game he loved.”
Among those also set to serve as a guest host, per reports, is Katie Couric. While Rodgers may be excited to get his opportunity as soon as the offseason arrives, he undoubtedly does not want that to happen before Feb. 7 — when the Super Bowl will be played.
As the top seed in the NFC, the Packers will have home-field advantage and a great shot at making the NFL’s championship game for the second time in Rodgers’s decorated career. His first and, thus far, only trip, in the 2010 season, resulted in a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Super Bowl MVP honors for the Green Bay quarterback.
The Rams — and then the New Orleans Saints or Tampa Bay Buccaneers, if the Packers win Saturday — will have something to say about that, of course, but at least Rodgers is assured of making his second appearance on “Jeopardy!”
This time, though, Rodgers won’t be wearing a decidedly unstylish cardigan.
That selection from his wardrobe “wasn’t the greatest choice,” he said Tuesday with a smile.