Sports

Why Aaron Rodgers is a great fit for ‘Jeopardy!’ and seven other athletes who should guest host the game show

Aaron Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP, a Super Bowl champion and future Pro Football Hall of Famer, is a certified jock. For the next two weeks, though, he will be in charge of the nerdiest 30 minutes on television. Yes, the Packers quarterback will be guest hosting “Jeopardy!”

The beloved answer-and-question game show is searching for a permanent host following Alex Trebek’s death in November of 2020. Rodgers, who is part of a series of guest hosts on the show, is trading in his playbook for clue cards and will be calling answers instead of audibles for the next 10 episodes.

The QB is a longtime fan of “Jeopardy!” and won an episode of the celebrity version of the show in 2015, beating Kevin O’Leary of “Shark Tank” and U.S. Senator Mark Kelly in the process. We’ll touch more on Rodgers’ qualifications below, but his guest hosting run brings up an important question answer: These athletes would make great “Jeopardy!” hosts.

Who are the eight people — including Rodgers — listed below in alphabetical order?

Mookie Betts is the second-best player in baseball right now. He’s also on the short list of most fun players in the sport and it’s impossible to find something he doesn’t do well. This is a five-tool baseball star who can bowl a 300. Why wouldn’t he be great at hosting “Jeopardy!”?

It would also be fitting to have a host named Betts asking contestants how much they want to wager on a Daily Double. You just have to hope “Jeopardy!” wouldn’t trade him to “Wheel of Fortune” in a few years in the sake of “financial flexibility.”

2. Alex Faust, L.A. Kings play-by-play announcer

OK, so this one isn’t technically an athlete. But Alex Faust, who has called Los Angeles Kings games on TV since 2017, is a personal favorite of Trebek and that’s more than enough reason to include him here. Trebek, an L.A. Kings fan, was often coy about who he wanted to succeed him as “Jeopardy!” host, but he mentioned Faust and CNN legal analyst Laura Coates as candidates in a 2018 interview.

3. Ashlyn Harris, USWNT/Orlando Pride goalkeeper

A goalkeeper hosting a show where contestants are encouraged to score as much as possible seems counterproductive, but it could work with Harris. Harris has plenty of charm and a broadcasting background (by which I mean filming and narrating one of the greatest Instagram stories of all time after the United States women’s national team won the 2019 World Cup), and would be a delight for contestant interviews. She would also be the best-dressed host on this list by a landslide.

4. Allen Iverson, NBA Hall of Famer

No need to overthink this one. The “Jeopardy!” host reads the answers. Ergo, if Allen Iverson hosted “Jeopardy!,” The Answer would provide the answer. It also doesn’t hurt that the Sixers legend has a history of stepping up (and over) in Southern California.

5. Magic Johnson, NBA Hall of Famer

Magic Johnson meets a lot of criteria to be a successful game show host:

  1. He’s charismatic.
  2. He’s famous.
  3. He lives in L.A.
  4. He’s meme-able.
  5. His name is Magic Johnson.

As if that weren’t enough, it’s extremely easy to turn any one of Magic’s beautifully obvious tweets into a top-of-the-board “Jeopardy!” clue.

Perhaps Magic could join the show as a writer instead.

6. Candace Parker, Chicago Sky forward

Candace Parker is a WNBA legend and has recently added TV analyst to her resume. The 34-year-old is still among the best players in the league, but she clearly has a bright future behind the desk. Like Trebek on “Jeopardy!,” Parker would clearly not have a problem pointing out when someone is wrong. She’d be a great fit.

7. Aaron Rodgers, Packers quarterback

Rodgers has the makings of a marvelous “Jeopardy!” host. First of all, he appears to love and care about the game. He treated the guest hosting gig — which was filmed weeks ago — as if it were an NFL game.

“I watched hours and hours and hours of episodes,” Rodgers told ESPN. “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 is also cool under pressure, can crack a joke at the right time and understands the importance of clock management. And if Rodgers did ultimately take over full-time for Trebek, he has proven he can step into the role vacated by a legend.

Rodgers won’t be filling Favre-sized shoes this week, however. His guest hosting run comes right after one by Dr. Oz, who, uh, was not a popular pick among “Jeopardy!” fans and former contestants. Rodgers will be a welcomed face when he starts hosting Monday night.

8. Serena Williams, 23-time grand slam winner

“Jeopardy!” can be at its most compelling when it has a great champion. Someone who goes on an eight-game winning streak becomes appointment television. So why not have Serena Williams, the greatest champion athlete of her generation, host the show? Serena has plenty of TV experience and could seamlessly transition into serving up “Jeopardy!” answers whenever her playing career ends. 




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