How ayahuasca, 'Moneyball' movie inspired Aaron Rodgers vs. 49ers on SNF


Two-time reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers has been making headlines for his recent appearance on the Aubrey Marcus podcast, as the two close friends discussed a life-changing ayahuasca trip Rodgers experienced with then-girlfriend Danica Patrick in Peru. Ayahuasca is a liquid formed by boiling roots that contain DMT, a psychoactive drug, and has been traditionally and ceremonially used in South America for more than 1,000 years.

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In March 2020, just before the world shut down for the pandemic, Rodgers and Patrick booked a trip to Peru to do some inward exploration. Together with two shamans and a Quecha guide, Rodgers and Patrick marveled at the ruins of Machu Picchu before going on a two-day ayahuasca retreat in the jungle.

Rodgers said the experience changed his perspective on life and that it’s no coincidence he’s won MVPs in back-to-back years since.

“I think there’s so many myths and rumors about it,” Rodgers said of ayahuasca. “The fear around it – ‘You’re just gonna s–t yourself. It’s a big throw-up fest.’ The negative framework of it is that’s the experience, and not the deep, meaningful and mind-expanding possibilities, and also deep self-love and healing that can happen on the other side.”

Rodgers said he initially experimented with psychedelics when he was younger, saying he felt like he merged with the ocean once after eating mushrooms with friends. After talking with one of his friends who had experienced ayahuasca, Rodgers felt a calling to experience it.

“I was deeply moved,” Rodgers said. “I felt like, ‘Now it’s time.’”

Rodgers hasn’t been the same since that fateful trip to Peru.

“It was a magical, magical first night of just surrendering any of the lessons that needed to come through the grandmother’s spirit of the vine,” Rodgers said. “It gave me a deep and meaningful appreciation for life. My intention going the first night in, was, ‘I wanna feel what pure love feels like.’ That was my intention. And I did. I really did. I had a magical experience with the sensation of feeling a hundred different hands on my body imparting a blessing of love and forgiveness for myself.”

The Niners found themselves on the wrong end of Rodgers’ newfound energy in Week 3 of last year’s campaign. As he recounted to Marcus, Rodgers still remembers the vibe he had that special Sunday in Santa Clara, when he led the Packers on a drive in the final minute to set up a game-winning field goal from Mason Crosby as time expired.

Since it was a night game, Rodgers had some time to kill in his hotel before the game. He flipped through the channels until he landed on ‘Moneyball’ the movie which dramaticized the 2002 Oakland A’s season that included a 20-game win streak.

One scene in particular had a profound effect on him.

“Jonah (Hill) shows him a clip – man, I’m getting emotional thinking about it,” Rodgers said. “He shows him a clip of a minor leaguer hitting a home run, rounds first and doesn’t know it’s a home run. He tries to get to second and he trips and falls and kinda crawls back into first base. The point of him saying it, he didn’t realize he had hit a home run. It’s about perspective. Brad Pitt leans back and he says, ‘How you can you not be romantic about baseball.’ It’s an amazing moment of being able to sit with the emotion of disappointment, but still have the perspective that you did something really special.”

With that fresh in his mind, Rodgers delivered his line to NBC’s Michelle Tafoya after the game.

“I just looked around the stadium and felt into that feeling of just elation and love,” Rodgers said. “I just said, ‘How can you not be romantic about football?’ It was a great sign off.”

Marcus said he could tell Rodgers was in a good mental state as he beamed on the TV.

“There was a look in your eyes and it was coming from your heart,” Marcus said. “I could see your heart.”

Rodgers said he received 300 or more texts after the game, given it was a big moment on national TV. But he stopped when he came across Marcus’ text and made sure to text him back. They’ve been “brothers” ever since, and have also experienced an ayahuasca ceremony together. Marcus said Rodgers revealed his inner warrior poet.

“The idea of being a warrior poet,” Rodgers said. “Like one of the last lines of Braveheart, ‘They fought like warriors poets’ has always stuck with me. The idea of the gentleness and the perspective and the thoughtfulness of a poet, but the ferocity and courage of a warrior, is something I’m always trying to strive for.”

Rodgers added that his favorite poem of all time is ‘The Road Less Traveled’ by Robert Frost.

“I feel like that’s always been a compass for me,” Rodgers said.

If you don’t understand Rodgers’ spiritual transformation, that’s probably just fine by him. He has been widely panned for dating a self-proclaimed “witch” and getting an elaborate tattoo. From the sounds of it, this is an internal journey that doesn’t require external validation.

“A deep, innate desire in all of us is to be seen and understood exactly as we see ourselves,” Rodgers said.

Check out the full conversation at the 47:40 mark below.