Not unlike on the football field, the defining moment of Aaron Rodgers’ inaugural performance as “Jeopardy!” guest host on Monday came down to the final minutes.
Up until then, the Green Bay Packers quarterback did a “pretty, pretty good” impersonation of Larry David from “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” glided through the pronunciation of Toyama Trough and Yamato Basin, tossed in a little "arrrgh" pirate humor and dropped a “Go Bears” (no, not those Bears, the California Golden Bears), but it was his reaction to a Final Jeopardy! response that made the night.
Returning champ Scott Shewfelt, a writer originally from Canada, opted not to take a shot at the correct answer, which was Fred Rogers, by the way, but instead go for a humorous jab at the host by writing down, “Who wanted to kick the field goal?”
It immediately made Rodgers laugh and then take a moment before responding. “That is a great question. Should be correct but unfortunately, for this game today, it’s incorrect," he said.
It was a reference to the NFC championship game in January in which the Packers trailed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by 8 points in the final minutes. The Packers decided to kick a field goal rather than go for it on fourth and goal. Rodgers never got the ball back and the Packers lost 31-26 at Lambeau Field.
That viral curveball aside, Rodgers’ first episode of 10 filling in for the late Alex Trebek was as smooth as his slicked-back hair. There were no noticeable stumbles. He seemed at ease. He was trigger-quick with “no” when a response was incorrect. He dutifully chatted up one contestant about playing in a Celtic band and another about taking the online “Jeopardy!” test in the middle of a concert.