The Rodgers/McCarthy/Packers divorce

Tyler Dunne will open your eyes:

There had to be a breaking point. An incident, an argument, a loss, a moment that doomed the football marriage of Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy.

Anyone could see the Packers quarterback and head coach were headed for divorce well before that inconceivable 20-17 loss to the lowly Cardinals in December, the one that finally got McCarthy fired. Death stares and defiance from Rodgers had been constant for years by then.

But how far back do you have to go to find the beginning of the end?

Was it Week 3 of the 2017 season, when cameras caught Rodgers barking“Stupid f–king call!” at his coach?

Or back further, to the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 18, 2015, when McCarthy coached with the ferocity of a sloth, calling for field goals from the 1-yard line twice in the first half and then running three straight times with five minutes left to infuriate his QB and effectively euthanize a Super Bowl season?

Or even earlier, to 2013, when Rodgers and McCarthy appeared close to throwing haymakers midway through a loss in Cincinnati?

Those who observed this relationship from the beginning say you have to keep going.

Back to the honeymoon period. Even as the Packers went 15-1 in 2011, with Rodgers as league MVP. Even as they won their last Super Bowl title, in the 2010 season, with Rodgers as Super Bowl MVP. Even then, Rodgers was already seething at his coach.

So keep going. All the way to when these two were first brought together. In early 2006.

The worst-kept secret at 1265 Lombardi Avenue was that Rodgers seemed to loathe his coach from the moment McCarthy was hired.

Nobody holds a grudge in any sport like Rodgers. When it comes to Rodgers, grudges do not merrily float away. They stick. They grow. They refuel.

No, Rodgers would not forget that McCarthy had helped perpetuate his four-and-a-half-hour wait in the NFL draft green room the year prior. His nationally televised embarrassment. McCarthy, then the 49ers offensive coordinator, chose Alex Smith No. 1 overall. Not Rodgers.

No, Rodgers would not take it as a funny accident.

“Aaron’s always had a chip on his shoulder with Mike,” says Ryan Grant, the Packers’ starting running back from 2007 to 2012. “The guy who ended up becoming your coach passed on you when he had a chance. Aaron was upset that Mike passed on him—that Mike actually verbally said that Alex Smith was a better quarterback.”

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