By:
April 6, 2021

Aaron Rodgers is one of the best football players in the history of the game. The Green Bay Packers star is a three-time Most Valuable Player, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and a certain Hall of Famer.

He might be 37, yet he remains one of the top quarterbacks in the league with several years still left in his tank. In other words, he has a great job and he is great at it.

But there just might be another job out there that’s even better.

And to put it appropriately in the form of a question: What is the host of “Jeopardy?”

Hey, if it’s up to Rodgers, it could happen.

Rodgers is the latest to serve as guest host of “Jeopardy.” He taped two weeks’ worth of shows in February and they started airing Monday night.

So, could Rodgers actually end up as the permanent host of “Jeopardy?”

This topic has come up recently in football circles. Say you’re Rodgers and the folks at “Jeopardy” came to you and said you could have the full-time hosting job of the iconic game show. But in order to do it, you’d have to retire from football. Would you?

Rodgers is a huge fan of the show and once won the celebrity version of it. He has called hosting “Jeopardy” a “dream job.”

On one hand, as I mentioned, he’s still an elite football player. He makes an average of $33.5 million a year and is signed for three more seasons. He could probably play at least five or six more years, assuming he stays healthy.

But it’s possible that he could host “Jeopardy” for 20 or 30 years, and could probably start off making something like $10 million a year. Maybe more. So the money part might all even out.

Because of all his accomplishments — the records, the awards and a championship — he has no motivation to keep playing other than loving the game, the competition and wanting to win more championships. If I’m Rodgers, and knowing that being offered the job of hosting “Jeopardy” probably is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I think I’d do it.

Then again, Rodgers has thought about this and figures he wouldn’t have to give up football to do it. He told The Ringer’s Claire McNear, “They film 46 days a year. I worked 187 this year in Green Bay. That gives me, eh — (pauses) — 178 days to do ‘Jeopardy.’ So I feel like I could fit 46 into that 178 and make it work. It would be a dream job for sure, and I’m not shy at all about saying I want the job. That’s how I went into it. I want an opportunity to be in the mix.”

Rodgers makes a pretty good case, too.

“I’m the youngest of any of the guest hosts,” he told McNear. “I’d be the youngest host of just about any major game show, I bring an audience from the NFL, and I feel like I appeal to nerdy people, too, because I was a nerd in high school and got caught in that weird phase of wanting to be a jock and an athlete and also really caring about getting good grades. And at the same time, there’s not many bigger fans of the show than me. I’ve been watching it for years and years and years. I respect the show and appreciate the history of it, and also there’s my background of stepping in for a legend (former Packers QB Brett Favre) and their footsteps. I feel like all that combined makes me a pretty good candidate.”

Apparently, Rodgers worked hard to prepare for his guest hosting role. He told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky that he watched “hours and hours” of episodes.

“But I had to watch from a different perspective — from Alex’s perspective,” Rodgers told Demovsky. “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. Literally, I studied for this like no other. I wanted to absolutely just crush it.”

Sounds like a guy who is serious about wanting the job, and word is “Jeopardy” execs were impressed with his performance.

Of course, this is all speculation because it doesn’t appear as if “Jeopardy” is close to picking a permanent successor to the great Alex Trebek. The smart money at the moment is on Ken Jennings, who holds the record for “Jeopardy” wins and did a splendid job during his two-week stint as guest host.

Then again, maybe Rodgers and “Jeopardy” can work something out around Rodgers’ football schedule. Or Rodgers could call an audible and give up one great job for another.

Sway with Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Apple CEO Tim Cook is the latest guest on Kara Swisher’s “Sway” podcast for The New York Times. Swisher asks Cook about Apple’s privacy push, the power the company has over app developers and possible future Apple innovations.

The two also talk about Apple’s decision to remove Parler from the App Store after the attack on the Capitol.

“Well, in some ways, it was a straightforward decision, because they were not adhering to the guidelines of the App Store,” Cook told Swisher. “You can’t be inciting violence or allow people to incite violence. You can’t allow hate speech and so forth. And they had moved from moderating to not being able to moderate. But we gave them a chance to cure that. And they were unable to do that or didn’t do that. And so we had to pull them off. Now, having said that, I hope that they come back on. Because we work hard to get people on the store, not to keep people off the store. And so, I’m hoping that they put in the moderation that’s required to be on the store and come back, because I think having more social networks out there is better than having less.”

Gaetz speaks, er, writes

Embattled Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz has turned to the conservative-friendly Washington Examiner to get his message out. In an op-ed for the Examiner, Gaetz writes, “Let me first remind everyone that I am a representative in Congress, not a monk, and certainly not a criminal.”

Gaetz is under federal investigation for an alleged sexual relationship with a teenage girl and possibly sex trafficking.

The op-ed is oddly worded. He writes, “To this point, there are exactly zero credible (or even non-credible) accusers willing to come forward by name and state on the public record that I behaved improperly toward them.”

He then blamed the Washington “swamp” and compared it to the mafia for protecting “made men.”

He did call the accusations “false” and reiterated that he is not resigning.

Hill responds

Former California Congresswoman Katie Hill (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In the op-ed, Gaetz talked about his defense of Democratic Congresswoman Katie Hill, who resigned from Congress in 2019 over what she called an “inappropriate relationship” with a campaign staffer. Hill wrote about Gaetz for Vanity Fair.

She wrote about their “collegial (and unlikely) friendship” despite disagreeing on politics, especially Donald Trump. She also wrote about Gaetz defending her after nude photos of her became public. She wrote, “At one of the darkest moments of my life, when I was feeling more alone than I ever had, Matt stood up for me — and that really mattered.”

So was does she think now that Gaetz is facing his own scandal? Well, for starters, Hill questions how she could have ever been friends with Gaetz considering his baseless accusations that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. As far as the allegations, Hill wrote, “If there is even a fraction of truth to these reports, he should resign immediately.”

The conversation

One last thing on Gaetz: The New York Times’ columnists Gail Collins and Bret Stephens speak about Gaetz for “Matt Gaetz Is in Deep Trouble.” It’s a part of “The Conversation” series. The two also discuss President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plans.

Keep some, sell some

My colleague Rick Edmonds, Poynter’s media business analyst, looked at the latest situation involving the sale of Tribune Publishing. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Maryland hotel magnate Stewart Bainum Jr. and Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss are putting in a bid that could swoop away the Tribune from hedge fund Alden Global Capital.

Edmonds confirmed a Chicago Tribune report that should Bainum and Wyss’ deal go through, Bainum would keep The Baltimore Sun, Wyss would get the Chicago Tribune and the two would look for local buyers for the other seven papers in the chain.

Edmonds wrote, “Bainum and Wyss have expressions of interest in the Orlando Sentinel, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The Hartford Courant and The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania. It would be a gamble, though, to count on any of these feelers to blossom into a sale — especially given the tough economic challenges of operating an independent paper profitably these days. Another possible scenario is that some of the seven would sell, others not. Bainum and Wyss might agree to keep some or all of those that failed to find buyers.”

It’s also possible, Edmonds noted, that the other papers could be sold to another chain, such as Hearst or Gannett.

Media tidbits

  • Earlier this year at Poynter’s annual meetings with its National Advisory Board, The Atlantic’s Ed Yong was interviewed by Stephen Buckley, the lead story editor of Global Press and a member of Poynter’s board of trustees. In 2020, Yong established himself as one of journalism’s most trusted reporters on the topic of the coronavirus. Click here for the highly informative Q&A.
  • CNN’s Oliver Darcy with this story: “‘60 Minutes’ faces backlash from Democrats and Publix for critical story on Florida’s vaccine rollout.”
  • ESPN and NBA analyst Paul Pierce have agreed to part ways, according to several reports late in the day on Monday. No surprise there. Pierce posted a video on Instagram Live on Friday playing cards in a room while surrounded by exotic dancers.
  • Sharon Cohen, a national writer for the Associated Press based out of Chicago, died on Monday after being diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago. She was 68. The AP’s Jerry Schwartz has a touching obit, writing, “Every story got the Sharon Cohen treatment: determined reporting, zealous fact-checking, direct and evocative writing. She knew no other way.”
  • The first episode of ABC News’ new podcast “Soul of a Nation: Tulsa’s Buried Truth” drops today. The podcast is written and hosted by senior national correspondent Steve Osunsami. It looks back at the brutal Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921 when a violent white mob attacked a Black community, killing as many as 300.
  • Michael Huang, deputy editor at ESPN.com, has been named managing editor for sports at The Philadelphia Inquirer. He starts April 19. Huang has been at ESPN for a decade, editing the ESPN reporting teams that cover the NFL and NBA, as well as spending more than two years in China overseeing content for an ESPN-Tencent partnership. Before ESPN, Huang worked for the Chicago Cubs as managing editor of all publications for the team.
  • Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins have been promoted to Senior Reporters for NBC News’ Business, Tech & Media team. And speaking of Zadrozny, here’s her latest story: “In a Pennsylvania town, a Facebook group fills the local news void.”
  • Former White House communications director (well, for 10 days anyway) Anthony Scaramucci is joining CNBC as a contributor.

Hot type

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at tjones@poynter.org.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for Poynter.org. He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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