Rodgers Day goes from Facebook to Senate

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Being a Super Bowl champion and NFL Most Valuable Player now might come with an additional accolade in Wisconsin: having a day named in your honor.

The Wisconsin state Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution to call Dec. 12, 2012, Aaron Rodgers Day. The resolution has now been sent to the state Senate.

But honoring Rodgers, who wears No. 12 as quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, was not an idea born in Wisconsin’s government.

A Stevens Point, Wis., woman, Jennifer Brilowski, 39, began a grassroots campaign last November on her Facebook page for a 12/12/12 Aaron Rodgers Day, and the idea quickly built momentum.

“Would the government have thought of this without the fan base?” Brilowski said Tuesday afternoon. “No, there’s no way. I’ve gotten a little protective with this. It’s a fan movement. That’s what it comes down to.”

At first, the goal for Brilowski, who runs a social-media company, was to pay tribute to Rodgers.

“I’m probably one of the only women in Wisconsin who doesn’t have a crush on him, but I respect him so much,” she said. “Some people are thinking I want to go on a date with him, but that’s not it at all.”

Now that the Aaron Rodgers Day movement has grown to more than 7,500 fans on Facebook, Brilowski has turned it into a fundraising effort for one of Rodgers’ favorite charities, the MACC Fund, which fights childhood cancer.

To date, she has raised $1,000 of her $25,000 goal. Fans who visit the page are asked to donate $12, another nod to the Packers quarterback, with 100 percent of the donations going directly to the charity.

“He’s getting his own day, for crying out loud, so if we can do that, we can reach 25 grand,” Brilowski said.

The idea for 12/12/12 being Aaron Rodgers Day was inspired by the movie “Spinal Tap.” One of that movie’s characters, Nigel Tufnel, was the inspiration behind 11/11/11 being named Nigel Tufnel Day on Facebook based on the line that his amplifier could reach 11.

But when news broke that the state Assembly had taken action on Brilowski’s idea, she was surprised.

“I contacted no one,” Brilowski said. “I did not make a single phone call. I have no idea what happened. It’s thrilling, but I want to make it clear that fans started this on Nov. 11.”

It was on Nov. 11 that, after talking with a friend, Brilowski started the Aaron Rodgers Day page on Facebook.

“I used it as a playground for fans because there’s plenty of content about the guy,” Brilowski said. “I started putting stuff out, and the page started growing and growing. Soon the site took on a life of its own.”

Brilowski added that Rodgers has been aware of the effort since December, when one of the Packers’ radio announcers brought it to his attention.

“For this guy, I’ll put in a million hours that I’m not getting paid for,” Brilowski said. “He’s worth it.”

In the 2010 season, Rodgers led the Packers to their first Super Bowl victory in 14 years. He followed that up in 2011 with an NFL-record quarterback rating and the league’s MVP award.

Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.