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NFL | Sep 13

Aaron Rodgers Bumpy Debut Became the MNF Most Watched Game Ever

Forget About the Messi Effect, Aaron Rodgers Effect Is Here to Stay

Aaron Rodgers Bumpy Debut Became the MNF Most Watched Game Ever
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #8 of the New York Jets | Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

The Misfortune of Some Is the Happiness of Others

Well, all I can say is that the Jets franchise is doomed…

In NFL news, Aaron Rodgers’ debut as a New York Jet attracted a record-breaking 22.6 million viewers, making it ESPN’s most-watched Monday Night Football game ever.

When the legendary Lionel Messi suited up for his debut with Inter Miami of MLS last month, it became the second-most watched Spanish language club soccer telecast in the U.S. of all time with 1.75 million viewers through Univision.


Although it is unfair to compare the numbers between one television outlet for Messi’s debut and the record-setting 22.6 million viewers that tuned into ESPN’s MNF game with Aaron Rodgers, it demonstrates that when generational performers switch jerseys, viewers will swarm.

In case you were anesthetized on Monday night and just woke up, Aaron Rodgers was the main topic of conversation before the game and made NFL breaking news shortly afterward when he tore his Achilles just four plays into the season.

Greatness Comes With A Little Bit of Drama

People want to witness greatness, and when you couple it with the drama of great players debuting with new teams, it creates massive interest and enormous ratings. Tom Brady as a member of the Bucs, Peyton Manning with the Broncos, and Rodgers’ predecessor in Green Bay, Brett Favre, opting to sign with the Packers’ archnemesis, the Minnesota Vikings, all did big numbers in their debuts, so this is nothing new.

But this was bigger than the rest because the Jets are a franchise where dreams go to die, but Aaron Rodgers was going to wipe away all that pain and misery with his golden arm. For once, the future was now in Gotham, but it all disappeared in one devastating play.

Rodgers is gone, and so are the Jets’ chances of bringing home a Super Bowl trophy to keep the other one company that’s been sitting alone for over 50 years.


The souls of Jets fans everywhere left their collective bodies when Rodgers hobbled off the field, and backup quarterback Zach Wilson could not have been happier. Okay, so he didn’t fist pump when he saw Rodgers go down, nor did he toss a kiss at the sky, but when you’re the second overall pick in the draft, and you’re still only 24 years old, getting a shot at redemption has to feel like a gift from above.

Don’t Worry All Was in the Script

Oh, and in NFL news and rumors, did you catch this on X (formerly Twitter)? A poster named @DaddyZaslav tweeted before the game, “Aaron Rodgers is going to tear his Achilles on a rain-drenched MetLife turf in 2.5 hours.”

Yup, that’s exactly what happened, and it was viewed over 11 million times. Needless to say, the conspiracy theorists went nuts.

@ViceroyFlair, “This is a burner of one the script writers, clearly.”

@Pirateshipms, “Scripted and rigged.”


And what fanned the flames even further was that it came from a parody account of Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav which gave credence to the notion that the NFL scripted the injury because the big reveal came from a network guy who must be “in the know” and leaked the script before the game.

@AnonWeaponry3 “Nothing to see 🧐👀 The Guy who predicted Aaron Rogers injury has now had. His account suspended.” @elonmusk @DaddyZaslav

Of course, it’s a parody account but why let the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy? Oh, and adding even more gasoline to the fire the account was suspended after the tweet.

But again, there’s more to that story too, as the modern-day Nostradamus who predicted the injury also has a vile mouth as he tweeted a torrent of expletives to an NFL writer about him and the class act that he is, also took a shot at his wife.

Well, all I can say is that the Jets franchise is doomed. If Rodgers does return next season, he will be a 40-year-old gunslinger with a rusty six-shooter. Maybe Zach Wilson miraculously rescues the season and leads this team to Super Bowl glory? Wouldn’t that be an even bigger story?

Of course, it would, but fairy tales are make-believe, and the Jets must now take their familiar place at the bottom of the AFC East. It was fun while it lasted.

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