Aaron Rodgers offers his ‘apologies’ to critics for fake spike play in win over Dolphins
Aaron Rodgers was on the receiving end of some criticism from some media blowhards for a heads-up play he made in the waning moments of a thrilling comeback victory over the Miami Dolphins. And as far as the Green Bay Packers quarterback is concerned, the would-be critics can go pound rocks.
With the clock winding down in the waning moments of the fourth quarter and down to the Dolphins with no timeouts remaining down 24-20, Rodgers pretended to spike the football before completing a pass to Davante Adams.
The Packers wide receiver managed to get out of bounds at the 4-yard-line after a 12-yard gain with six seconds left on the clock. On the next play, Rodgers threw the game-winning touchdown pass. Ballgame. Packers 27, Dolphins 24.
Some very vocal critics slammed Rodgers for the subterfuge. Rodgers, during his weekly appearance on ESPN Wisconsin, said he couldn’t care less about what anyone had to say about it.
“I feel absolutely nothing but the pure enjoyment of winning a football game,” Rodgers told WAUK-AM, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
That line of reasoning, although not heard beforehand, probably wouldn’t have been good enough for the most vocal bloviator, who not surprisingly was ESPN’s Skip Bayless.
“Aaron Rodgers is getting applauded for something that could’ve made him the goat of the game instead of the hero of the game,” Bayless spewed during Monday’s installment of ESPN First Take, as transcribed by USA Today. “… You ask me how impressed I am? Zero. Zero.
“Aaron Rodgers does something that he’s now applauded for. ‘He went Dan Marino.’ This was as high-risk and maybe as dumb of a risky play as you could attempt at this point with no timeouts left.
“Tom Brady would never have to resort to these type of plays. Tom Brady wouldn’t do that.”
To Bayless and similar critics, Rodgers offered up an apology of sorts … albeit a somewhat sarcastic one.
Explaining how he yelled “clock” before the ball was snapped — indicating a spike to stop the clock — Rodgers said he simply did not spike it, that’s it.
“Anything that anybody else has said about it, my apologies to those people, but it is probably slightly exaggerated,” Rodgers said, via ESPN.com. “That’s really what happened.”
Rodgers conceded that no matter how he feels about it, people are going to question and criticize.
“There will always be critics,” Rodgers said. “And critics thrive on bringing new stuff all the time. There are going to be things that they look for and spin or highlight to make their point valid. And as long as there are going to be critics, there are going to be opportunities to prove those critics wrong. When you prove them wrong in one situation, then they’ll find another situation. You can’t spend any time or energy worrying about what people are going to try and say about you. They are always going to be there. I’m just going to keep playing the way I’m playing and hopefully win a lot of games here.”
Rodgers, as he has attempted to do throughout his career, simply shrugged off the inflammatory commentary by talking heads whose jobs it is to create controversy where there isn’t any and to ratchet up the intensity of the dialogue.
“I think as far as the criticism goes, I think that’s where some of the comedy comes in to me,” he continued. “You have to find humor in it. Because I get criticized for holding the ball too long and not taking risks, right? So then there’s the risk vs. interception. Then I fake a spike and throw it to Davante and I get criticized for taking risks. So that’s why I said earlier that critics are always going to win as far as getting their criticism out there, because they can make up new things to criticize whenever they want and use stats or feelings or whatever to fit the specific thing they are criticizing. I’m going to play the way I play. It’s been pretty successful around here. I’m going to hold onto the ball when I feel like I can, and get out when I feel like I can as well. But I don’t worry too much about the critics. It’s talking out of both sides of their mouth. And that’s why the stuff doesn’t bother me.”
Rodgers did admit, however, that learning to not let criticism have an effect on him is something he has had to learn to do, a process he continues to work on to this day.
“I don’t think I’m losing my edge at all,” Rodgers said. “I’m still uber-competitive and have a strong desire to be great every time I step on the practice field, step on the game field. It’s a process. I continue to work on allowing things to just roll off your back and not let it get to you as much. Some people have that trait innately. And then some people need to work on it a little bit. I think I am one of the people who just has made a conscious effort to stop worrying about things that ultimately don’t matter in the grand scheme of my life, and it helps.”
As far as the play itself, Rodgers was especially pleased he got to emulate Dan Marino, the man credited with originating the fake spike play, with the former Miami Dolphins great in the stadium.
And Rodgers’ version of Marino’s magic act of trickeration (via Business Insider).
“It’s stuff I think about from time to time when we are running two-minute drills in practice, or afterward when I’m thinking about it. I have done the fake spike in practice before with some success. But I did watch the Dan Marino play years ago. I was a huge football fan growing up. I thought that was brilliant. I saw Dan on the sideline. I didn’t get a chance to make eye contact with him. I saw him across the field at one point during the game. It’s fun to be able to do that house that Marino built.”