After ample preparation, Aaron Rodgers 'was ready to rock and roll' as 'Jeopardy!' guest host
It’s what Green Bay Packers superstar quarterback and three-time AP NFL Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers has spent extensive time doing this offseason.
What is preparing to host Jeopardy!?
In the aftermath of his Packers falling to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game and amid uncertainty regarding his future in Titletown, Rodgers has been studying up for his hosting duties on the long-running game game show.
“I watched hours and hours and hours of episodes,” Rodgers told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “Luckily Netflix has a few seasons, and I went back to DVR. But I had to watch from a different perspective — from [former host] Alex [Trebek]’s perspective. I couldn’t watch it as a fan anymore.
“I took pages and pages and pages of notes. I wrote down every affirmative that he said to any type of clue. I wrote down how he would respond if they didn’t get it right. I wrote down beat points of the show. I wrote down all the different ways he would take it to break. I wrote down the stuff that he said coming out of break.”
A former celebrity contestant, Rodgers’ role as guest host was announced in January as the show begins to find its way following the loss of Trebek, a television icon in his hosting role who died of cancer at the age of 80 in November of last year.
Rodgers’ two-week run as host is set to air on Monday (Jeopardy! airs in syndication). The 16-year NFL veteran teased a memorable first act, telling Demovsky he anticipates a viral moment emerging from his first episode.
“Just wait until you see the first show and what the returning champion wrote, and then think about me standing at the podium watching — and this will make sense when you see what he wrote — and I’m watching him write this down,” Rodgers said. “For about 25 seconds, I’m watching him write this, and he thinks about the answer and says ‘F— it, basically, I’m going to write this answer,’ which probably one of the viral moments of my two weeks will be his response, which is taking a shot at something that happened to us late in the season.
“But it was unbelievable as the host, I’m watching him and going, ‘I can’t believe I’m watching him write this.’ It was pretty amazing.”
By his account, Rodgers was impressed with his performance and so too were those behind the scenes.
“I know they didn’t expect what I was about to bring, but I was just so prepared,” Rodgers said. “I was so ready. So we get into the first game, the first run-through, there’s 30 questions in a Jeopardy round, and after the first 15 questions, we go to break. They say it in your earpiece, ‘Take it to break.’ So I take it to break, and there was a pause, and I think everyone was like, ‘Whoa, OK, this guy kind of knows what he’s doing here.’
“One of the head producers said as much. She was like, ‘I’m just so appreciative of your approach.’ And my whole thing was I felt like the best way to honor Alex’s memory was to be so dialed in and so ready, and that’s the approach I took. So I was ready to rock and roll.”
While viewers can look forward to Rodgers handling myriad questions and answers in the coming weeks in his new role, answers have been non-existent and questions have lingered as it relates to his future with the Packers. The nine-time Pro Bowler offered no clarity as it relates to his Green Bay contract or what lies ahead.
“I don’t know that I have any updates or anything,” he said.
While Rodgers’ days ahead in Green Bay remain in question, there’s no wondering where he’ll be seen in the coming days. And so, the quarterback who memorably replaced another legendary Packers quarterback in Brett Favre, will now look to temporarily replace the legendary Trebek. It’s a role he certainly prepared for.
“Literally, I studied for this like no other,” Rodgers said. “I wanted to absolutely just crush it.”
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