It started as a joke. The candidate with the celebrity status, due to his name, was the most intriguing. On top of that, he has good hair. Now, he might actually win.
I am talking about Jordan Rodgers, obviously.
And the reason Jordan Rodgers needs to be talked about is he keeps talking about Aaron Rodgers. Throughout this season of The Bachelorette, Jordan, who has made it to the final episode, has swung an ax at his older brother's legs. He refuses to talk much about Aaron, and when he does, he depicts Aaron as lacking loyalty to the Rodgers family.
On the show two weeks ago, Jordan told JoJo Fletcher, the bachelorette, that he and Aaron "don't have really have that much of a relationship" and proceeded to say, "I chose to stay close with my family and my parents and my brother," inferring that his brother Aaron has not.
Aaron is being made into a villain. And people are buying it:
Watching the bachelorette & I'm starting to think Aaron Rodgers is a turd nugget. Love me some Jordan Rodgers
— lena lopez (@25_aldrete) July 15, 2016
Jordan Rodgers has forever changed my perception of Aaron Rodgers.
— Seth Weitberg (@SethWeitberg) July 14, 2016
When JoJo visited the Rodgers' Chico, California, home, the family left two chairs unoccupied for Aaron and his girlfriend (who happens to be actress Olivia Munn). On national TV, the family went after its most famous member.
Before I get into my defense argument for Aaron Rodgers, I want to make one point clear: It is okay to know Aaron Rodgers by way of Jordan. But please, try to understand Aaron's side.
1. Aaron Rodgers Is Arguably The Best Player In America's Favorite Sport
The Super Bowl is the most-watched event in the United States, and Aaron led the Green Bay Packers to victory in 2011. He was the MVP of that game, Super Bowl XLV, and has won two NFL season MVPs. The only other active two-time MVP winner is Tom Brady.
In other words, Aaron is really good at football, and this is where his priorities lie. His $22 million salary in 2016 is the third-highest in the NFL. Although TV consumers may be in Bachelorette mode, Rodgers is busy with Packers training camp, which started Tuesday. He has an NFL game to be ready for on Sept. 11. He is not about to risk that focus with Bachelorette talk.
2. Jordan Rodgers Wasn't Complaining When Aaron Got Him In Pitch Perfect 2
That's right. A year before Bachelorette fans formally met Jordan, he sang in the Anna Kendrick/Rebel Wilson film. Wait, it gets better. He sang alongside Clay Matthews and a group of Packers. In an interview with TMZ on Feb. 17, 2015 (this guy has apparently been plotting his pop culture rise for a while), Jordan called himself an "honorary" member of the team.
Jordan is probably avoiding Clay Matthews at all costs nowadays.
3. Olivia Munn Doesn't Have To Be On The Bachelorette Because She's Olivia Munn
Big shoutout to Katie Nolan for her takedown of the Jordan-Aaron controversy. On her July 19 podcast, Nolan tears the Rodgers family apart for leaving those chairs open at the dinner table:
"You mean you're shocked Olivia Munn didn't want to be on an episode of The Bachelorette? We invited her. She just didn't come. Yeah, because The Bachelorette is a joke and she has a career to worry about. You can't be showing up all willy-nilly on Celebrity Apprentice. The second you show up on a celebrity…f*** that."
Nolan is making the point that Aaron does not just have his own life to protect, but that of his celebrity girlfriend. Munn was in the new X-Men movie that you can see in theaters right now. If Munn does not want to appear on reality TV, and perhaps does not want her boyfriend to appear without her, should Aaron take all the blame? Maybe he is being a loyal boyfriend.
Nolan actually had Jordan on a June 23 podcast, and she broke the news the two have a "complicated" relationship.
Where were all the Aaron Rodgers haters 11 months ago when he filmed this cute lip sync video with Munn?
4. Olivia Munn is Pretty Much Best Friends With Jordan Rodgers' Ex-Girlfriend
Okay, now, here is the legitimate gossip you have been waiting for. After the season premiere, Brittany Farrar, a trainer in Nashville claiming to be a former Jordan love interest, burned Jordan on Instagram.
Readers may remember ThePostGame did some investigative work and found out Farrar went to Chico State around the same time Jordan went to Butte College, a community college near Chico. Jordan transferred to Vanderbilt, and eventually, Brittany relocated to Nashville in what one could guess was not a coincidental move.
On top of that, Munn and Farrar regularly post Instagram pictures together. This was six months ago at a Packers home game at Lambeau Field:
We are not going to make assumptions. We're just telling you that Jordan's ex-girlfriend posted a picture with Aaron's current girlfriend at one of Aaron's games. The game could have been last season, two seasons ago or whenever. The last known photo of Farrar and Jordan together came roughly two years ago, although Jordan deleted the Instagram post.
5. Luke Rodgers Is In On This Act
Sorry, Luke, if you thought you were going to get off easy here. The oldest Rodgers brother, who works as a 247Sports NFL insider and dates former Miss Ohio United States Lindsay Davis, has latched on to Team Jordan over the last few months. Luke magically stays closer than Aaron to the family and gets choked up talking about Aaron. Luke also does not have an offense to run like Aaron.
A little back-stalking of Luke's Instagram shows he used to exploit a certain brother of his for Pro Merch's gear. And no, we are not talking about Jordan.
How convenient to close the business while publicly ridiculing your brother.
A year and a half ago, Luke seemed pretty hyped to follow the Packers on their playoff run:
This was right before Jordan appeared in Pitch Perfect 2 The family liked Aaron a mere 17 months ago.
6. Jordan Has Been In Aaron's Shadow For A Long Time
Jordan Rodgers' life is something most people in the world cannot relate to. Aaron was always much better at the thing Jordan was good at. During the hometown dates, Jordan and JoJo check out Pleasant Valley High School and find pictures of Jordan on the wall. You know who else is on the wall probably in more pictures with more value? Aaron. Also, "probably" is the necessary term here because Jordan and The Bachelorette make sure to create a parallel universe where Jordan is Pleasant Valley's hero, not Aaron.
And then there is a Dec. 30 The New York Times article that all Bachelorette fans must read.
These are some real quotes from Jordan, then a redshirt junior at Vanderbilt:
"I always wanted to follow in his footsteps. I still aspire to get to his level, and I’ve got the best resource in the world to help me get there."
"He's my brother first, so he wants to hear how I'm doing, but then it's all football."
"My ring's not quite as big as his."
These are some real quotes from Aaron, then-coming off a Super Bowl win and on the verge of his first NFL MVP Award:
"He's a lot better athlete than I am."
"Confidence is the most important aspect in a quarterback, and I'm excited to see him grow as he works toward next season."
"We're speaking the same language football-wise."
This is a real quote from the article:
"Aaron Rodgers bought a Southeastern Conference television package so he could follow Jordan's progress, and the two talked each week during the season, before and after games."
Four and a half years ago, Aaron made an effort to give his brother good press during the NFL season. And look how happy they were in the article's picture:
7. Aaron Has Long Been A Media Darling
For anyone new to Aaron Rodgers who thinks he is being curt with the media, you are wrong. You don't even have to watch sports to have seen those discount double-check commercials.
Look how funny Aaron was on Celebrity Jeopardy!
8. Why Does The Family Have To Be So Rude?
Entertainment Tonight created a solid timeline of the Jordan and Aaron rift. They note that for years, the Rodgers family has been posting pictures on social media without Aaron.
Maybe I'm crazy, but that seems like a low blow. It feels like the family is trying to make a statement by showing how happy they are without Aaron. You know, like how your friends force smiles for the Facebook pictures. Are these photos supposed to grind Aaron's gears while he is watching film with Mike McCarthy? He probably cannot be in the pictures because he spends most of his time being an NFL quarterback and boyfriend to a Hollywood actor.
Ed Rodgers, the family patriarch, said during the hometown dates: "It's kind of a weird environment to meet somebody. And our family's in the media a lot, and especially, you know, all the boys, especially one. And fame can change you. But one thing I know about Jordan -- he's so strong-willed. He's not gonna let that change him in any way, you know?"
I'm sorry Ed, but really, only Aaron is in the media a lot. We did not even know who you guys all were until Jordan went on this reality TV show, and whether or not that is Aaron's fault or your fault does not matter. If you want the media attention, that is fine, but handle it appropriately. If you do not, then do not let your son be on The Bachelorette talking about his NFL MVP estranged brother.
How can you say your son, Jordan, is not going to be affected by fame when he chose to be on The Bachelorette and ride a story about being estranged from his famous brother to the final two?
Also, Ed, your Facebook profile picture is literally you in Packers gear:
9. Jeff Tedford Is Jordan Rodgers' Kryptonite
Aaron starred at the University of California under the tutelage of two-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year Jeff Tedford. Jordan was in high school at this time, but he was not offered a scholarship to Cal. Instead, he went to Vanderbilt by way of community college. When Jordan's career took him to the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (after failed stints with three NFL teams from 2013-2014 in which Jordan did not see a game), Tedford finally became his coach. However, Jordan did not see the field in his final pro football season.
There may be no connection here to the Aaron-Jordan relationship, but this weird Jeff Tedford connection needs to be mentioned. You know he's on Team Aaron.
10. Aaron Has A Season To Prepare For
I know I said this earlier, but I need to reiterate. Aaron Rodgers is an active football player in his prime. He has big things in his life. Jordy Nelson is returning from an ACL tear. Eddie Lacy lost weight. Rodgers needs to pay tribute to Greg Jennings, the former Packer who just retired after putting the team on his back.
Aaron finally made everyone happy talking about Jordan this week, telling WISN 12: "As far as those kinds of things go, I’ve always found that it’s a little inappropriate to talk publicly about some family matters, so I'm just -- I'm not going to speak on those things, but I wish him well in the competition."
Ed, here is a lesson in how you handle the media. Aaron delivered such a robotic statement, he even wished Jordan well in a competition for love (which is certainly passive aggressive in nature). The dude is locked into football season. He is in the middle of a Hall of Fame career, is dating a Hollywood star and is beloved by fans across the nation. Aaron does not have time to worry about who gets the final rose, especially if it is a brother who seems to be fighting for the attention he is lacking because he does not throw a football as well as Aaron.
Bottom line: Step away from the reality TV nature of this and analyze the facts. Maybe the Rodgers family really has become estranged from Aaron. Or maybe this is a ridiculous TV plot that should not taint the legacy of one of the NFL's greatest quarterbacks and most popular American personalities.
Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.