It was a match between Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl XLV. Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ perfect strike to Jordy Nelson lead to a 29-yard touchdown, which eventually opened the scoring for their team. The match resulted in Packers’ favor with a score line of 31-25. To the outsiders, it would be just like any other game, but for those who are aware of Rodgers-Nelson’s background, the match and the victory holds a much deeper meaning.
When they graduated high school, none of the colleges were willing to admit them. A years’ time, they have become inspirational figures in aiding the Green Bay Packers route the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the Super Bowl XLV.
Though a lot of great talents in football have been unearthed by college coaches, you still get to hear stories of certain players being unfairly passed over. At the same time, you come across some inspirational stories of NFL greats like Michael Strahan, Terrell Owens, and Tony Romo among others who did not even get into Division I-A, after finishing their high school. However, not many of these tales are as dramatic as that of Rodgers and Nelson, who chose to ignore the unfavorable opinions of their Division I coaches and ended up making a nice living playing a sport they have always been so passionate about. “I am a firm believer,” says Rodger, “that everything happens for a reason.”
Born and brought up in Chico, Rodgers showed early signs of his talent as he was chosen as one of the three players to receive football scholarships from their local community college. Not sure of his future plans, he met his college coach Craig Rigsbee who suggested that he better make his junior college his stepping stone to Division-I glory. Not willing to give up his dream, he worked hard at it and experienced a successful season. It paid off as he got noticed by California coach Jeff Tedford. Soon, he found himself in the Berkley team as he went on to break quite a few records during his two year stint with them. Rodgers then decided to quit school as he got drafted in the first round of NFL. After spending three seasons as Brett Favre’s backup, he finally got a chance to play in the starting 11.
Rodgers’ story is quite similar to his teammate Jordy Nelson. Nelson grew up in a remote place called Riley in the state of Kansas. His remarkable athletic ability earned quite a few accolades at his Riley County High School. However, his amazing athletic skills as a football player somehow failed to convince Division I coaches. What was even more unfortunate was the fact that despite the state having two major Big 12 universities and facing dearth of high school football talent, not even one Division I school offered him a scholarship. The best Kansas and Kansas State did was to invite him to be a walk-on.
Nelson chose Kansas State, as it was much closer to his home. He was red shirted the very first day, receiving no playing time at all. However, realizing his potential, the then head-coach Bill Snyder asked him to play as a wide receiver. This advice proved to be a turning point of his career, as he went on to have three straight astonishing seasons for the Kansas State, catching 206 passes for 2,822 yards. This consistently terrific performance earned him a place in Green Bay in the 2008 NFL. Though his debut was not as good as his previous few seasons, in a short period of time, he has managed to become an important part of the Packers organization.
The stories of Aaron Rogers and Jordy Nelson give out one strong message: You can turn any dream into reality provided you do not give up the chase!