After Sunday’s win over the Buccaneers, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers offered some vague comments about the potential impact of something he saw on the Jumbtron at Raymond James Stadium. It wasn’t clear what he saw, what he said to the coaches, or how it helped secure the win.
But Rodgers said just enough to spark speculation, including a theory that Rodgers saw an image from a Buccaneers tablet on the video screen.
On Tuesday’s Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers was asked about his video sleuthing. Rodgers offered an explanation that didn’t completely mesh with the impression created by his postgame remarks to Tom Rinaldi of Fox.
Rodgers told McAfee and co-host A.J. Hawk that Rodgers initially approached coach Matt LaFleur during the final Tampa Bay drive to remind him that the Packers had one timeout remaining, and that given the low probability of needing it on offense, LaFleur shouldn’t hesitate to call it, if the Buccaneers were at some point in an alignment that the Packers didn’t like. Rodgers then pivoted to the Jumbotron jumble.
“About four players before — four or five plays, somewhere, it was well before the two-point conversion — I did see something on the Jumbotron that I . . . went down and relayed to Matt,” Rodgers said. “I’m not going to get into exactly what I saw, or if it even had a real impact on the play. I think that’s kind of inconsequential. But I just thought — I thought I saw something, I walked down, I relayed it to Matt. Whether that got relayed to [defensive coordinator] Joe [Barry] or not, I’m not sure. Either way, it had nothing to do with the two-point conversion. There was not an image of like, you know, the Microsoft Surface or any of that on there. That would have been pretty funny, though. But even still, you know, even if you know something’s coming and you relay it, you’ve still got to go out and execute. I think that was what Spygate was all about, right? Stealing some signals. You’ve still got to go out there and execute the play, and in our case stop them, but it had nothing to do with the two-point conversion.”
Fine, but let’s rewind to Sunday. Here’s Rinaldi’s question to Rodgers: “I saw you come all the way down and talk to Matt LaFleur during that final drive, with the defense on. What was going through you during the two-point conversion, especially after you saw the fact that they took the five-yard penalty?”
“Well they showed it on the previous play, too,” Rodgers said. “It was a delay on both plays. But sometimes you see things in the game. Sometimes the Jumbotron shows things they probably shouldn’t show, even at home. I saw something. I just passed on the information.”
That doesn’t sound like something he saw four or five plays before the two-point conversion. That sounds like something that happened on the two-point conversion itself.
Then there’s this. The entire premise of his comments to Rinaldi implies that whatever Rodgers saw contributed to the win. If it came four or five plays before the two-point conversion, it definitely didn’t stop the Bucs from scoring the touchdown that preceded the two-point conversion.
Let’s also look at this a little more broadly. Why say anything at all to Rinaldi, or anyone else? Now, the Bucs know they have a flaw in their in-stadium video system. They’ll try to spot it and fix it. Likewise, other teams that learn about this situation will (if they’re smart) make sure that their own video operation has spotted and rectified any potential flaws that could be exploited by someone as smart as Rodgers.
And, yes, Rodgers is very smart. Smart enough to see something on the Jumbotron and use it for his team’s advantage. But, alas, not smart enough to know that he didn’t need to bolster his image as someone who is really smart by demonstrating his intelligence with a sly boast about what he’d seen on the video board in crunch time of the win over the Buccaneers.