'Jeopardy!' contestant perfectly trolled guest host Aaron Rodgers

'Jeopardy!' contestant perfectly trolled guest host Aaron Rodgers

A little palate cleanser of a story at the end of a long day. On Monday Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers began a two-week stint as guest host on Jeopardy!. A little fun was had at his expense during the Final round question. The two-day returning champ, Scott Shewfelt, took a not-subtle-at-all jab at Packers coach Matt LaFleur. LaFleur’s decision-making was called into question by Shewfelt, specifically in January’s NFC championship game.

The Final round question was about Emmy lifetime achievement winner Fred Rogers. (Different spelling than the host’s last name.) Shewfelt didn’t know the answer and instead of guessing, he wrote, “Who decided to kick that field goal?” Rodgers good-naturedly played along. He chuckled and said, “That is a great question. It should be correct, but for this game today, that’s incorrect.”

Aaron Rodgers is making a real play to become Jeopardy!’s permanent host. He said he can continue to play football and do the hosting gig, too. The game show only tapes 46 days a year. There would be time for him to do both jobs. He thinks he can bring new viewers to the show and maybe a younger demographic, too.

“At the same time, I feel like I could host Jeopardy! I’d love to,” he said. “I think I bring something different to the show. I was the youngest guest host. There’s a different audience that maybe I could bring along with it; hopefully the numbers show it the next two weeks. But I do enjoy the show. I have a ton of respect for the show. The way that Alex (Trebek) had a smooth hand on the show for three-and-a-half decades is something that can’t be understated, and I think he held the show in such a high esteem that it made everybody really respect and admire him and the show. Even if you weren’t like a fan of the show and watched it regularly, you just kind of knew who he was and knew he carried himself with a lot of integrity and that’s what I would love to bring, continue to bring to the show. And I feel like I could do both, which would be a lot of fun and a great challenge.”

We enjoy Jeopardy! in our house. I have to say that Rodgers is a favorite of the guest hosts so far. He appeared relaxed and confident. The guest hosts before him were ‘Jeopardy!’ champ Ken Jennings, executive producer Mike Richards, journalist Katie Couric, and talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz. My least favorite so far is Katie Couric. Like a lot of other conservatives, it is hard for me to look at her and not think about some of the ugly things she has said about Republicans. She tended to make the questions about herself as she guest hosted, offering too many hot takes and personal references. Jenning was ok but a bit of a know-it-all. He’s a smart guy with tons of random information in his brain. Richards was good. He’s calm but a little stiff. I thought Dr. Oz did an ok job but apparently, the liberals who were protesting the choice of Oz helped drive down the show’s ratings during his two-week stint. To be fair, though, the game show’s ratings have been falling since Alex Trebek’s death. Those are big shoes to fill.

He has some experience with television and game shows. And, he prepared for his time as host.

But Rodgers, whose TV credentials also include a triumph on The $100,000 Pyramid, a cameo on the penultimate episode of The Office, a nonspeaking part in Game of Thrones and countless commercial breaks every NFL Sunday, blended into the familiar rhythms of the show. His Celebrity Jeopardy! appearance in 2015 was largely about him and his fellow contestants, with categories relevant to each of them. From what is customarily the champion’s podium, the NFL MVP had first choice on a board that included Number 12 and Bible MVPs. He picked a question about his uniform number to start.

Rodgers, in his media tour to promote his residency on the show, spoke consistently of his reverence for Trebek, and the show in general, as well as his desire to perform well in tribute. No stranger to preparation, he said he studied Trebek’s words in various situations and made sure he had the beats of the show down cold, in a more deliberate way than even a lifetime of watching from a fan’s perspective had allowed.

Other guest hosts are lined up in the upcoming weeks. It’s obvious that the show’s executives are not rushing into a decision on who will be the permanent host. The smart money is probably on Ken Jennings, he would be a natural choice. In the meantime, it looks like Aaron Rodgers will give him some real competition for the job.

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