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NFL removes “Rodgers vs Mahomes” from schedule release commercial

Michael Smith and Michael Holley debate whether it would be worse for Green Bay if Aaron Rodgers retires or if plays elsewhere and wonder if he's "laying the foundation" to return to the Packers.

During the 2021 draft, the NFL ran a commercial for the May 12 schedule release. The 30-second spot hyped “Rodgers vs Mahomes” as one of the games to be played in the first-ever 17-game season.

With the schedule release three days away, there’s a new version of the commercial. And “Rodgers vs Mahomes” is gone.

Replacing “Rodgers vs Mahomes” is “Jackson vs Mahomes,” a reference to the Chiefs-Ravens game set for 2021, which will pit 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson against 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes.

It’s an unofficial acknowledgement by the NFL of the uncertainty as to the question of whether 2020 MVP Aaron Rodgers actually will be playing for the Packers in 2021. And it underscores the eleventh-hour complications to the scheduling process regarding the placement of the Packers-Chiefs game -- and of the two games between Kansas City and Denver, the most likely Rodgers destination (if he’s traded).

Those will be among the first names noticed when the schedule emerges. Green Bay at Kansas City. Denver at Kansas City. Kansas City at Denver. In which week will each be played? Will they be dropped into spots from which they can be flexed?

The league office doesn’t know how this will play out. The fact that “Rodgers vs Mahomes” no longer appears in the effort to attract viewership to the show that adds the “when” to the “who” and the “where” proves that, when it comes to the biggest story in the NFL, the powers-that-be are in the dark, along with the rest of us.