Aaron Rodgers is the back-to-back NFL MVP and for my money, the best quarterback who has ever lived. He is my favorite player on my favorite team, the subject of an essay I penned last year about QB brilliance, Packers shortcomings, and self-pleasure. On a recent episode of “The Aubrey Marcus Podcast,” Rodgers credited a 2020 ayahuasca excursion to Peru for his late-career resurgence, saying he returned from the hallucinogenic experience with a renewed appreciation for life. He also showed up to this year’s training camp with a new, cryptic tattoo, so we know he’s not lying about dabbling in hallucinogens.
Some have laughed at the revelation, others have used it as a springboard to feast on mushrooms in their unfinished basements and wait for the MVP awards to roll in. I listened to large portions of his ayahuasca-revealing interview and despite my D.A.R.E. upbringing, I dig many of the things he’s saying. Especially this:
I've dealt with a lot of disappointment in my career. Lot of incredible moments, highs and great wins, win a Super Bowl, win MVPs. I've also dealt with the disappointing losses, some that stick with you forever. But at the core of it, there's such a love for the game. There's such a deep and intense love and gratitude for what I get to do. You can't measure it. That's why I keep wanting to come back and play and literally pour my soul into my sport, and the relationships with the guys, and the Monday to Saturday grind, and the meetings and practice, and the side conversations, and the late night texts – everything that goes into doing what I do. I do it because I love it.
The NFL has come out and said Rodgers is not in violation of the league’s drug policy. Taking that into account, as well as the 180-degree turnaround Rodgers has experienced post-ayahuasca (and post-McCarthy), I think the NFL should mandate ayahuasca retreats as a way of milking every ounce of talent and comprehension from players, coaches, and executives. Imagine the possibilities. Bill Belichick wanders into the Peru wilderness and returns with hoodie sleeves! Roger Goodell lays on a mat, stares into the dark heart of the universe, and realizes fans aren’t interested in more unsportsmanlike penalties. Zeke Elliott isn’t a fullback anymore. It dawns on Zach Wilson how many prospects there are for an NFL quarterback besides his mother’s friends. Mike McCarthy grasps that a Cheesecake Factory menu is not a playsheet. Carson Wentz finally utters the words, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Russell Wilson reveals he was conceived in a public relations test tube. Aaron Donald reveals he was raised by wolves.
Because the NFL only cares about revenue, fans can be incorporated into the experience. Imagine NFL-sponsored ayahuasca retreats popping up in South America, welcoming droves of fanatics in baggy jerseys and foam #1 fingers. I can assure you I would participate! I would fly to Peru in a #12 Packers jersey. I would cloak myself in an NFL-branded poncho to protect others from the involuntary defecation and vomiting ayahuasca can sometimes induce. I would sip sweet juice of the earth from an NFL-branded cup, rest my weary head, and wait for an inconceivable reality: a world where wins and losses are not a quarterback stat, where talking heads discuss football games with the nuance they deserve, and Aaron Rodgers is celebrated for his athletic electricity and not dragged through the mud for the failings of his team.