After your team wins a championship, they immediately get a five-year grace period: You can't complain about anything that happens with your team (trades, draft picks, salary-cap cuts, coaching moves) for five years. There are no exceptions. For instance, the Pats could finish 0-80 over the next five years and I wouldn't say a peep. That's just the way it is. You win the Super Bowl, you go on cruise control for five years. Everything else is gravy.
However, my interpretation of this rule is that you have every right to complain if a guy on your favorite team does something off the field that irks you, or if he just generally acts like a jackass.
Thursday night, after an epic NFL opener that saw Green Bay beat New Orleans, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers -- the best in the business right now -- took the media to task.
Three times in his press conference, Rodgers pointed out the Packers looked pretty decent on opening night despite the lack of the ever-popular player-only workouts.
“It was a good start for us,” Rodgers said. “I was going to ask myself, what would have happened if we had had offseason workouts? I mean, could we have started any faster and scored more points tonight?”
I'm not saying that the media didn't have this coming. The talk during the lockout was that teams who held player workouts -- like New Orleans and New England, for example -- had a leg up on everyone else. And the Packers were indeed questioned about the players' decision not to hold such workouts.
Thursday's game doesn't debunk all of that. Let's face it. Rodgers is really good, and it's not like he's throwing passes to guys who couldn't make other teams. Greg Jennings is one of the best receivers in the league, and Jordy Nelson is emerging as a star. Oh, and there's that Jermichael Finley guy, too. They're talented, and they have a triggerman who knows what he's doing.
But did Rodgers have to keep pressing the issue? I'm going to vote no. Rodgers defended himself to Mike Silver of Yahoo!, and I will admit that he has a case.
Just to make sure his intentions were clear, Rodgers twice revisited the subject in similarly facetious fashion. When he walked back into the locker room to grab his stuff before heading out into the Wisconsin night, I asked him if, at any point over the offseason, he’d thought about getting his teammates together for a few days of workouts, if only to quiet the chorus of critics.
“Yes,” he said. “And that would have been the only reason.”
I will say that I thought the media criticism of the Packers' decision was silly.
But Rodgers gloating after one game was wholly unnecessary. Smacked of the kind of elitism that makes people hate the New England Patriots. And it seems to run contrary to how the Packers behaved last year.
Then again, maybe the Packers are using the workout flap as a bit of a motivational ploy. In that case, it's all about whatever it takes to get up for this title defense, I guess.
Still made me a bit uncomfortable ...