Rodgers’ Day makes Packers fan’s day

GREEN BAY, Wis. — For the past eight months, Wisconsin resident Jennifer Brilowski has been working to make Dec. 12, 2012 more than just a random Wednesday late in the NFL season. She wanted it to become Aaron Rodgers Day, honoring the Green Bay Packers quarterback who wears No. 12 for her favorite team.

As Brilowski stood at the Lambeau Field podium Wednesday, the same place where Rodgers meets with the media following every Packers home game, she realized that all of her hard work had paid off.

The Wisconsin state Assembly had passed the resolution marking the day in February, then the Senate followed suit in March. But Aaron Rodgers Day didn’t become official until Wednesday, when Brilowski — standing at the podium in front of Rodgers, her mother, Lorna, and State Rep. Garey Bies, who had authored the joint resolution — read over the microphone the entirety of what state government had drafted.

“I got to the end of the resolution, realizing it’s official, I got goosebumps,” Brilowski said in a phone interview. “I got choked up a little bit. This silly little thing I started turned into this.”

It was a movement that began on Facebook in September 2011 that now has more than 10,000 fans. In February, Brilowski got word that state government had taken an interest in it, but at the time, politicians had not recognized her as the leader and founder of the idea.

Now, she has a plaque hanging on her wall that legitimizes all of her efforts. Brilowski handed the official plaque to Rodgers, acknowledging that he did indeed have his very own upcoming day in Wisconsin history. Then, as a surprise to Brilowski, Rodgers handed her an identical plaque for her to keep.

“He was super cool,” Brilowski said of Rodgers, whom she was meeting for the first time. “He was totally a nice guy.”

Brilowski did not make any money from her role in the movement, despite working on it every day, but that was never her goal.

“I feel that my work was recognized,” she said. “Aaron thanked the fans and me today. The representatives were all very gracious that I came up with the idea and that they were just the ones who could make it official. Without the fans, I would just be somebody with too much time on their hands.”

With 2012 calendars already printed several months ago, there won’t be much physical proof around the state of Wisconsin that shows the existence of 12/12/12 as Aaron Rodgers Day. But, as word has spread, there are already efforts to make it into something more.

“There are bars and restaurants planning things,” Brilowski said. “People commented through the Facebook page that they’re going to wear their jersey to work that day. If enough people know about it, I would love to have a party or fundraiser, but I’m hopeful that enough people get on board that it’s widely celebrated.”

But she doesn’t want Rodgers involved in any of the festivities. After all, the Packers will be preparing for a Week 15 matchup against the division rival Chicago Bears.

“I want him to be on his way to the Super Bowl at that point, not thinking about a party,” Brilowski said.

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