When you happen to be dating Aaron Rodgers, getting the Green Bay Packers quarterback to be a guest on your podcast becomes a whole lot easier.
Danica Patrick sat down with Rodgers for an hour and 45 minutes for the latest episode of her Pretty Intense podcast that debuted Thursday. It’s a wide-ranging conversation that covers spirituality, smarts, football, winning and losing, religion, Chives Restaurant, music, leadership, authenticity, UFOs, food, “Jeopardy,” Johnny Cash, badminton, social media, Wisconsin weather, scotch, Scooby-Doo, mustaches and Dairy Queen Blizzards.
Here are 10 fun takeaways to get you started, but be sure to stick around until the end of the podcast for the “I love you’s.”
1. Rodgers does eight to 12 crossword puzzles a week. Spending time with his grandparents as a kid introduced him to his love of crosswords. He does them on his New York Times app, in USA TODAY and occasionally the local newspaper for both fun and to help keep his mind sharp. Sometimes he’ll even do one in the three hours before a game at Lambeau Field.
“I do enjoy them, but also I’ve had a number of concussions and you worry about your future brain functions, and I feel like doing crosswords, doing Sudoku, doing KenKen, watching ‘Jeopardy,’ brushing your teeth with a different hand, tying your shoes in different orders, there’s a lot of different things that you can do to stay sharp mentally, and I think that’s one of them, crosswords.”
2. He has a serious sweet tooth. There was a time when he could easily polish off a half-gallon of ice cream or a bag of Starburst jellybeans — two things he has given up since cycling off dairy and meeting Patrick, who he said is “way more disciplined” in her eating habits.
“I’ve always had a major sweet tooth. I love just about anything sweet,” he said.
That includes waffles for dinner, Jordy Nelson’s grandma’s candy bar pie and Patrick’s (healthy) vanilla cupcakes. She asked if it made him mad when she called him out for too much peanut butter or maple syrup.
“No, because I have a love affair with food. You can’t put a damper on it.”
While Patrick never has a cheat day, Rodgers did admit to a couple of cheat meals when she’s not around (and also raiding the vegan chocolate chips that she sometimes tries to hide from him in the pantry.) Patrick has helped him with his diet, reading labels and being more aware of where food comes from.
“I miss Blizzards for sure from Dairy Queen, 100 percent,” he said. His Blizzard of choice: Oreo and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup mixed together.
3. He’s never had a speeding ticket. He likes to remind Patrick that he’s a fantastic driver, telling her, “You may have been a professional race car driver, but I’m a professional in-street driver, highway driver.”
4. He doesn’t just read a book, he gets out the highlight marker. A passionate reader with what Patrick categorized as “a giant book collection,” he counts John Krakauer among his favorite authors and cited his 2009 book, “Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman” as one of his favorite reads. He also listed “The Shack” by William P. Young as interesting to him when he was younger, and “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived” by Rob Bell as meaningful.
“I enjoy reading books on JFK. I recently read a crazy expose with just unbelievable detail about his life. The most dense book. I literally read it three times just to try and wrap my head around the information in it,” Rodgers said.
Patrick pointed out that he also went through multiple highlight markers in the process.
“I love to highlight and underline in my reading,” he said, saying that he also took notes. “Because there’s so much information, and I want to retain it.”
5. His pregame playlist sounds like this: Bon Iver, Trevor Hall, Nahko, Lord Huron and Jon Bryant, along with old favorites like Counting Crows, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters. Last year, he was on a Johnny Cash kick. (Unrelated fun fact but too good not to mention: He says he can sing a mean karaoke version of “Wind of Change” by The Scorpions.)
6. His idea of fun covers a lot of territory. “I enjoy watching ‘Jeopardy.’ I enjoy reading. I enjoy doing crosswords. I really enjoy being out in nature. I like traveling.”
He considers golf a good escape, likes to hike and loves the ocean and lakes. He looks forward to skiing and skydiving when he retires from football, and traveling to Egypt is on his bucket list.
7. He’s all about the calm in the clutch. Patrick, calling him “the most clutch player ever,” said you can almost feel his mental shift into a new space when it’s down to the final minutes and the game is on the line. She asked him what that feels like for him.
“Calm. Yeah, very calm. When I was 5 and I watched Joe Montana take the Niners down the field against the Bengals and throw a touchdown to John Taylor for the win, I remember thinking that’s what I wanted to do. Then fast forward to 14 and I’m watching MJ, Michael Jordan, last game with the Bulls, and he crosses up (Bryon) Russell at the foul line and drains a mid-range shot and that’s what I always said, ‘I want to do that. I want the ball in the clutch moments.’ ”
8. The three best concerts he has ever seen were all at iconic venues. Nahko and Trevor Hall earlier this year with Patrick at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado; Tegan and Sara and Death Cab for Cutie at the Hollywood Bowl; and The Killers for a standing-room-only show at The Rave in Milwaukee in 2009. He also gave shout-outs to live shows by Pearl Jam at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Foo Fighters in Madison, Prince and Brad Paisley.
9. Patrick has changed his life. From a practical standpoint, that means fewer cheat days when it comes to eating, and having dogs in the house (she has two).
“From an emotional standpoint, I think you’re a very steady person, so that’s been nice to have a steady energy,” Rodgers told her, adding she brings a calm to the house. “You’re a peacemaker. Sometimes you fight for it, but you’re a peacemaker.”
He also talked about what an amazing cook she is, her work ethic (“You put your mind to something and you’re going to do it”) and her sense of curiosity. When she said she can sometimes be stubborn, Rodgers can be heard with a well-timed clearing of the throat.
10. He knows his mustache can be “a little creepy.” He always wanted to have a great mustache, thanks to “Tombstone,” one of his all-time favorite movies and basically a showcase of bad-ass mustaches (Kurt Russell, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton). His dad also had a mustache when Rodgers was growing up.
“It’s a little creepy at times but I do enjoy it,” he said of his own at age 36, pointing out that the creepy goes away a little when it covers the top lip. Then it’s just cowboy.
Contact Kendra Meinert at 920-431-8347 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @KendraMeinert.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Aaron Rodgers and Danica Patrick cover the serious, the silly for deep dive on her podcast