It had been believed for years that the problems between Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former Packers coach Mike McCarthy predated his hiring in 2006. The excellent story on more than a decade of Green Bay dysfunction from Tyler Dunne of BleacherReport.com reveals that it does.
Dunne explains that Rodgers could never get over McCarthy’s role in Rodgers’ extended stay in the Radio City green room during the 2005 draft, when McCarthy served as the 49ers’ offensive coordinator, and when the 49ers picked Alex Smith over Rodgers.
“Aaron’s always had a chip on his shoulder with Mike,” former Packers running back Ryan Grant told Dunne. “The guy who ended up becoming your coach passed on you when he had a chance Aaron was upset that Mike passed on him — that Mike actually verbally said that Alex Smith was a better quarterback.”
So when McCarthy became the Green Bay coach in 2006, the notoriously sensitive Rodgers arrived at the relationship bearing a world-class grudge.
“Nobody holds a grudge in any sport like Rodgers,” Dunne writes. “When it comes to Rodgers, grudges do not merrily float away. They stick. They grow. They refuel.”
That grudge apparently influenced Rodgers’ opinions toward McCarthy for their entire time together. Per Dunne, a “person who was close to Rodgers” recalls that Rodgers “would regularly call to vent that McCarthy didn’t have a clue what he was doing.”
“Mike has a low football IQ, and that used to always bother Aaron,” the source told Dunne. “He’d say Mike has one of the lowest IQs, if not the lowest IQ, of any coach he’s ever had.”
Dunne characterizes Rodgers as “conflict-averse” and “passive-aggressive to the extreme.” That dynamic became obvious during the 2016 season, when Rodgers complained about the lack of energy on the sideline (without pointing out the obvious fact that the sideline is controlled by McCarthy) and the lack of a healthy fear among players that failure to do their jobs will get them fired (without pointing out that such fear should be instilled by McCarthy). Rodgers specifically dismissed our analysis of his passive-aggressive power play as “crap,” but it clearly wasn’t.
Unless Dunne’s reporting is crap. And it clearly isn’t.