Aaron Rodgers Took 'Pages and Pages' of Notes to Prep for Jeopardy Guest Host

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2021

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers pumps his fist after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers defeated the Rams 32-18 to advance to the NFC championship game. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Mike Roemer/Associated Press

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he intensity studied tape of legendary Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek to prepare for his two-week run as the show's guest host. 

Rodgers told ESPN's Rob Demovsky the 10 episodes, which will air beginning Monday, were taped in February and he felt pressure to uphold the legacy of Trebek, who died from cancer in November at the age of 80 after 37 seasons hosting the popular trivia game show:

"I watched hours and hours and hours of episodes. Luckily Netflix has a few seasons, and I went back to DVR. But I had to watch from a different perspective—from Alex's perspective. I couldn't watch it as a fan anymore.

"I took pages and pages and pages of notes. I wrote down every affirmative that he said to any type of clue. I wrote down how he would respond if they didn't get it right. I wrote down beat points of the show. I wrote down all the different ways he would take it to break. I wrote down the stuff that he said coming out of break. Literally, I studied for this like no other. I wanted to absolutely just crush it."

Rodgers wasn't a stranger to the Jeopardy! set. In 2015, he won $50,000 for charity by winning an episode during the show's celebrity week.

The three-time NFL MVP explained to Demovsky he thinks the show's executives were caught off guard by how prepared he was for the hosting role:

"I know they didn't expect what I was about to bring, but I was just so prepared. I was so ready. So we get into the first game, the first run-through, there's 30 questions in a Jeopardy round, and after the first 15 questions, we go to break. They say it in your earpiece, 'Take it to break.' So I take it to break, and there was a pause, and I think everyone was like, 'Whoa, OK, this guy kind of knows what he's doing here.'

"One of the head producers said as much. She was like, 'I'm just so appreciative of your approach.' And my whole thing was I felt like the best way to honor Alex's memory was to be so dialed in and so ready, and that's the approach I took. So I was ready to rock and roll."

Jeopardy! has welcomed several guest hosts since the show began its post-Trebek era in January.

Rodgers likely isn't a candidate for the full-time role since his calendar is packed from the start of training camp in mid-July through the playoffs, which run through early February.

He joked fans should tune in during his first episode behind the podium Monday for a viral moment of a contestant taking a shot at him and the Packers during final jeopardy.