CHICO (CBS13) – The controversial call in Monday’s night NFL game sparked controversy and outrage throughout the country, but people back in Aaron Rodgers hometown of Chico are taking a lot pride in the way he handled the difficult situation.

The more you see the play, the more you just can’t believe it. The Green Bay Packers’ M.D. Jennings clearly is the one controlling the football on the final play of the game. But inexplicably, the replacement referees gave the ball – and the game – to the Seattle Seahawks.

“It was awful,” Rodgers, Green Bay’s quarterback, said told reporters after the game. “Look at the replay.”

That’s about all Rodgers would say on the play, however. He didn’t curse. He didn’t yell. He answered each and every one of the reporters’ questions.

“We shouldn’t have been in that position,” he said of the game’s Hail Mary ending.

The way Rodgers handled the unfortunate set of circumstances comes as no surprise to John Shepherd, a family friend and principal at Rodgers’ high school, Pleasant Valley.

“The best part of the whole thing was hearing his family foundation come through,” Shepherd said. “His parents have done an amazing job.”

Rodgers has had to answer tough questions before. He replaced the great Brett Favre in Green Bay in front of a disapproving fan base and skeptical media.

But his former JV football coach says he’s shown great leadership ever since he walked on to the field at Pleasant Valley High School.

“He always had very good control, very professional, very dedicated,” Bill Haley said. “Great kid, great family.”

Rodgers told a radio station Tuesday that he apologizes to the fans, not for his behavior, but for the unfair outcome.

Shepherd says that’s Aaron being Aaron.

“He definitely understands that there are some things out of his control and he’s going to lead when he can,” the principal said.

Chico used to be 49ers and Raiders country, but now it’s also Packers country. And people here, especially at Pleasant Valley, are looking forward to revenge this week when Rodgers and company take on the New Orleans Saints.


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