By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Friday, September 15, 2024
Suffering is an essential element of Grand Slam success, Rafael Nadal famously said.
Football fandom has proven pretty painful for John McEnroe, too.
A self-described “long-suffering” New York Jets fan, McEnroe interviewed star quarterback Aaron Rodgers prior to his Jets debut on Monday Night Football.
Hall of Famer McEnroe was a guest commentator on ESPN2 during the ManningCast telecast of the Jets vs. Bills game when Rodgers tore his Achilles while being tackled during the opening series.
The image of Rodgers being carted off the field just four plays into his Jets debut prompted host Eli Manning to ask McEnroe: “John, you’re always kind of known for your calm demeanor, how did you react to seeing this?”
Queens native McEnroe, who has been a devoted Jets fan since the age of 10 when he watched Broadway Joe Namath lead the team to the Super Bowl championship, pulled no punches in his response.
“Oh my God, I said way back when once, You Cannot Be Serious,” McEnroe said. “I’ve been told by my wife never to say that again. But I’ve got to say when I saw that I definitely scream that as loud as I could.
“You can’t make this up. This is beyond belief. We felt snake-bitten for so long. You remember the similarities wtih Brett Favre when he came in like 15 years ago. He was a similar age, there was high hopes. He was one of my favorite players of all time. Never missed a game, was always dressing up. He had a great start, was 8-3, then he got hurt.
“Now you look at Aaron Rodgers I went and interivewed him a couple of days ago and he made me believe it.”
In that pre-game interview Rodgers told McEnroe of the Jets Super Bowl aspirations: “We expect to go out there and dominate and make a run to the Super Bowl, why else am I here? What else are we doing?”
McEnroe, who wore a slightly skeptical expression of “these are the Jets we’re talking about something bad is bound to happen here”, questioned Rodgers on if he had any concerns of tarnishing his legacy in New York.
“Did they ever take those [Grand Slam titles] away at the end of your career?” Rodgers asked McEnroe. “They couldn’t take that sh*t away, you’re still a legend.
“And you’re always going to be a legend.”
Photo credit: John McEnroe Tennis Academy/Sportime RI