Aaron Rodgers had quite the adventurous offseason. The Green Bay Packers quarterback and two-time NFL MVP didn’t just spend time working out and training for football, he also took some time to swim with live sharks, travel to Africa and India, and also to meet the Dalai Lama.
Safe to say, that’s not the typical offseason from a pro quarterback.
“Traveling to me is one of the most important things you can do in this life,” Rodgers says. “You learn about other cultures and you also learn and realize the world is bigger than your little sphere of influence. I am very fortunate to do what I do and have made the relationships that I’ve made over the years, and being able to travel has been a big part of that.”
Swimming with sharks was something that Rodgers wanted to do for a long time, but not because he was excited for it—it was because it scared him. Shark Week gave him the chance to overcome that fear. Rodgers helped a crew during shooting to add a tracker to a shark so that researchers could track its migration patterns.
Here’s a look at Rodgers in the water:
Between training, swimming with sharks, and traveling the world, Rodgers didn’t have much time for anything else this offseason, but he did squeeze in a fun collaboration with Colin Jost for Izod. Rodgers teamed up with the Saturday Night Live star and comedian to poke some fun at traditional menswear ads and the usual tropes of those commercials of the past.
Rodgers got to show off some of his comedic timing in the Izod video:
Rodgers spoke with Men’s Journal about his worldwide offseason travels, what it was like meeting the Dalai Lama, his best travel tips, and his favorite books.
You had quite the whirlwind offseason. What were some of your favorite experiences from your trips?
Getting into the water with sharks was pretty wild. That was an experience I’ll never forget. Going to India and Africa were incredible experiences too. Those are the types of opportunities I look forward to doing every offseason. Meeting the Dalai Lama was something special, I’m not sure he knew who I was, but it was still really cool to meet him. I like to be able to have incredible personal experiences but also to make an impact where I can. When I was in Africa, I worked with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to help kids get their hearing back, and that was really special. I’m fortunate to be in this position where I can do things like that.
What did you enjoy most about collaborating with Colin Jost and Izod on this funny project?
This was kind of a dream situation for me. I’ve been a part of some great campaigns in the past, but never one that’s been written by someone with the comedic chops of Colin. Obviously he’s known for his work on SNL, but overall, he’s just so funny and talented and I was so excited to work on something that he wrote. He was really funny in it, and what I enjoyed most was that this wasn’t your standard commercial where it’s just the front man, you say one line and that’s it. This one had a lot of fun scenarios and poking fun at the whole nature of the thing. It was fun to do something creative and memorable and get to have some fun banter with someone as talented and funny as Colin is.
What did you enjoy about being able to put your sense of humor and football and personality on display?
People have mostly seen me in the State Farm commercials, and those are really fun too, but for the most part, I haven’t had chances to joke around and do multiple takes and ad lib. It was like an SNL sketch in that way. Colin helped put together a great script and I did a lot of funny takes the entire day on set, just cracking up and working with the crew. I was able to try some different things and new ideas, and that was really fun. In a way it didn’t ever feel like work because everyone had a great time and wanted to make it really funny. It was a dream situation to be in the same video as a big-time star like Colin, who stole the show with his nunchuck work [laughs].
As someone who travels a lot, do you have any essential travel gear or advice for people when they’re on a trip?
This might sound like an obvious tip, but always make sure you have comfortable clothes. It’s simple, but it’s it’s really important to have those, because no matter where you go or what you’re doing, you’re going to need something comfortable at some point. I also think books are super important for any trip. I’m a big reader, I love to read and I’m always interested in learning more. So for me, essential travel gear is that I’m always bringing comfortable clothes and a good book.
What are some of your favorite books? Anything you’d recommend to Men’s Journal readers?
I read a lot of nonfiction stuff, and I’m a big fan of Jon Krakauer’s books. He’s written a lot of interesting books about various topics. The book “Where Men Win Glory” about Pat Tillman’s life and what he sacrificed is a personal favorite of mine, and I recommend to anyone who hasn’t read it, even if you’re not a football fan. “Into Thin Air” is an incredible book, and same for “Under the Banner of Heaven.” These are all just great books, and I think I’ve read all of his other books. They’re just fantastic and I always recommend his books to anyone who likes nonfiction, because Krakauer does an incredible job of giving historical background in his topics and relaying the story in a way that’s interesting. It always grips you and makes you want to keep reading.
What are your expectations for the team this season?
I think we have a strong team this year, and I’m excited to see what we can do. We have a lot of talented guys, and this team can be one of the best in the league.