Rodgers: ‘God was a Packer fan tonight’

Russell Wilson referenced God following in NFC championship game

Either Aaron Rodgers had some sort of religious epiphany – and now believes that the Lord Almighty does indeed care about professional football – or the Green Bay Packers quarterback did some next-level trolling of pious Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson after the Packers’ 27-17 victory over Wilson’s Seahawks Sunday night.

Asked in his post-game news conference about creating an expectation of victory at home, Rodgers credited a top-down mentality and confidence in preparation before adding this zinger: “And then getting help from God. I think God was a Packer fan tonight. So He was taking care of us.”

Even though he never said Wilson’s name, it was virtually impossible not to read Rodgers’ remark as a shot across the bow at Wilson, who told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King following the Seahawks’ overtime victory over the Packers in the Jan. 18 NFC Championship Game that the four interceptions he threw were merely God setting the stage for the Seahawks’ remarkable comeback.

“That’s God setting it up, to make it so dramatic, so rewarding, so special,” Wilson said, according to King. “I’ve been through a lot in life, and had some ups and downs. It’s what’s led me to this day.”

Two days later, on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and on Jan. 20, Rodgers was asked by a fan about the idea of athletes and performers crediting God.

“I don’t think God cares a whole lot about the outcome,” Rodgers responded. “He cares about the people involved but I don’t think he’s a big football fan.”

Rodgers has made no secret of his Christian faith during his career, but unlike other players – including Wilson – who are outspoken about their beliefs, Rodgers has usually kept his faith to himself.

In 2011, during the first year of his radio show, he was asked about Tim Tebow, the devout ex-NFL quarterback who has been very open about his Christian beliefs.

“I started playing before Tim, so these are things I’ve thought about for a long time,” Rodgers said on the show that day. “I think one thing that I tried to look at when I was a younger player – and I mean in high school, junior college, and Division I – I was always interested in seeing how guys talked in their interviews, talked about their faith, or didn’t talk about their faith.

“And then the reactions at time, I know Bob Costas at one point was critical about a player thanking Jesus Christ after a win, questioning what would happen if that player had lost, or do you really think God cares about winning and losing.

“That all (is) to say that I feel like my stance and my desire has always been to follow a quote from St. Francis of Assisi, who said, “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” So basically, I’m not an over-the-top, or an in-your-face kind of guy with my faith. I would rather people have questions about why I act the way I act, whether they view it as positive or not, and ask questions, and then given an opportunity at some point, then you can talk about your faith a little bit.

“I firmly believe, just personally, what works for me, and what I enjoy doing is, letting my actions speak about the kind of character that I want to have, and following that quote from St. Francis.”