Hosting 'Jeopardy!' was a 'surreal experience' for Aaron Rodgers

Packers quarterback’s guest spot raises $236,725 for North Valley Community Foundation

QB Aaron Rodgers hosts 'Jeopardy!'

GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers signed off for the final time as guest host of "Jeopardy!" on Friday, capping off his fun-filled, two-week run behind the show's iconic lectern.

Rodgers' 10-episode residency not only enabled the Packers quarterback to fulfill a childhood dream, but it also raised $236,725 for the North Valley Community Foundation with "Jeopardy!" matching the combined winnings of contestants.

"It's incredible," said Rodgers of the donation during his sign off following Friday's episode. "I want to thank all of you for watching and for everyone here at 'Jeopardy!' … thank you.

"You have made me feel so welcome. This has been a surreal experience and so very special to me. Have a great weekend and in the words of the great Alex Trebek, 'So long.'"

Rodgers, who garnered rave reviews for his hosting, has been talked glowingly about how much he enjoyed the experience in interviews beforehand and on social-media posts this week.

With CNN anchor Anderson Cooper set to take over guest-hosting duties on Monday, here is a quick recap of Rodgers' final week as "Jeopardy!" host:

A good start: Rodgers had more fun with the contestants, beginning with a few off-the-wall anecdotes during the getting-to-know portion of the show.

Contestant Allison Means mentioned her penchant for taking purposely ugly photos with her husband to annoy family, while Drew Fox recounted how he once hitchhiked from Toronto to California when he was just 15 years old.

The audience learned more about Rodgers' pop-culture interests when he tossed in a quip about how "Reno 911!" was a "great show" after an answer related to the former Comedy Central show.

Defending champion Daniel Chase cruised to another victory, taking home an additional $22,500 after successfully answering: "What is Germany?" to the "Final Jeopardy!" clue: Aside from the United States, one of the two countries with two different cities that have hosted the Summer Olympics.

The episode raised $25,500 for NVCF.

I'm not mad…I'm just disappointed: Perhaps the funniest moment of Rodgers' two-week stint came on Tuesday when Chase, the defending champion, chose the category "Title" for $400.

Hilarity ensued after Rodgers read the clue.

In the 1960s these Midwesterners earned 5 NFL championship trophies.

…Bueller? …Bueller? …Bueller?

After seconds of silence, the chimes finally sounded and a perplexed Rodgers, arms spread wide, said in a dejected tone: "Green Bay Packers? Dennis, go again…I guess," to laughter from the crowd.

After contestant Erick Loh correctly answered "Boston Celtics" to the next clue from the same category, Rodgers quipped: "Oh, you know that one, huh?" to more laughter.

Later in the show, Rodgers showed his dry wit when he replied to a clue about astronaut Scott Kelly that his identical twin brother, Mark, was "once a second-place 'Celebrity Jeopardy!' finisher."

The reference was a tongue-in-cheek homage to the friendship Rodgers struck up with Mark, now an Arizona senator, after the two competed against each other in "Celebrity Jeopardy!" back in 2015, which Rodgers won.

Lohr ended Chase's two-day reign as champion, winning $21,000 after correctly getting the "Final Jeopardy!" clue correct, ensuring another $24,000 donation to NVCF.

A new champion: Lohr's reign would last just one day as project manager Patrick Hume, of Stoneham, Mass., would take the throne on Wednesday after correctly answering "What is Hamlet?" to the clue: With 4,042 lines, it's Shakespeare's longest play & it's also the one that's been filmed the most.

Hume took home $24,401 in winnings, earning another $27,401 for NVCF.

'Something I can definitely relate to': During his opening monologue to kick off his penultimate episode, Rodgers voiced his appreciation for the contestants while referencing his own past success on the show.

"The best part of guest-hosting 'Jeopardy!' is watching the incredibly smart contestants test themselves against the game and against each other," said Rodgers. "It takes quick reflexes and the ability to make intelligent decisions on the fly to be a 'Jeopardy!' champion…something I can definitely relate to."

Rodgers joked around with Hume during the early portion of Thursday's show, as the two reminisced about how the project manager didn't get his driver's license until he was 28.

In the end, Hume successfully defend his title of "Jeopardy!" champion over Lindsay Wilcox and Mark Dorosin after successfully answering "Force" to the "Final Jeopardy!" clue: Modern formulations of Newton's 2 most famous equations both begin with this quantity that's measured in Newtons.

Hume was so far ahead of Wilcox and Dorosin he didn't wager anything, winning $22,100 and bringing in another $25,100 for the NVCF.

'The Aaron Rodgers of hand modeling': Rodgers used Friday's opening monologue to express his gratitude for the guest-hosting spot, while closing his two-week stint with some pop-culture references and wit.

An avid fan of Ben Stiller films, Rodgers busted out a "Zoolander" reference when new contestant and documentary filmmaker Dakota Lupo mentioned he was a second-generation hand model.

"My only experience with this is on the movie, 'Zoolander' when one of the characters (J.P. Prewitt, played by actor David Duchovny) has a glass case around his hand, but I see your hands are free," said Rodgers in a joking manner.

"I'm in the offseason right now, so I'm able to go free," Lupo interjected. "My dad is a magician. He did some hand-modeling commercials back in the day in the film industry and I fell into it. Some would think I'm 'the Aaron Rodgers of hand modeling.'"

"I love that," said Rodgers, laughing. "Thanks, Dakota, for that."

A tightly contested episode featuring Hume, Lupo and marketing professional Danielle Henry came down to the wire, with all three contestants being stumped by the "Final Jeopardy!" clue: One of the luminaries who drove in the "Golden Spike" in Utah in 1869 was this man who later founded a university.

All three incorrectly guessed Brigham Young, opening the door for Rodgers, a Cal-Berkeley alumnus, to take a swipe at Pac-12 rival Stanford.

"The answer is Leland Stanford," Rodgers declared, "who was the president of the Central Pacific Railroad that later founded this school in the Bay area that gets beat by Cal all the time."

Hume lost just $3,601 on his wager, squeezing out the win with $13,999 to bring his three-day total to $60,500. Together, the three contestants earned $16,999 for NVCF.


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