April 20, 2021

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‘Jeopardy!’ features Four Degrees of Vince Lombardi and, to Aaron Rodgers’ delight, a ‘Princess Bride’ clue

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It took four episodes, but you can finally cross “Green Bay” off your bingo card.

Aaron Rodgers gave a nod to his NFL city during his opening segment as guest host on Thursday’s episode of “Jeopardy!” It was the first time Green Bay came up since his 10-episode hosting stint began on Monday.

“Being here is really personal for me. I truly am a ‘Jeopardy!’ fan, and the people who know and love me understand not to call me at 6 o’clock, because that’s when ‘Jeopardy!’ airs in Green Bay,” he said. “I’m so happy to be here, and I hope you’re enjoying this as much as I am.”

That was just the warmup for the Vince Lombardi namedrop that would come when Rodgers chatted up Pasquale Palumbo, a contestant from Hawhorne, New York, who explained he and the Green Bay Packers quarterback share a football connection. 

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the latest guest host of "Jeopardy!" He'll read clues on episodes airing April 5-16.

Deep breath …

Palumbo said he played and coached football at White Plains High School, where his head coach was Mark Santa-Donato, who was coached by Ralph Friedgen Jr., who was coached by Earl “Colonel Red” Blaik at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, who had Lombardi on his coaching staff from 1949 to 1953.

“So we’re football cousins,” Palumba said.

A stretch, for sure, but an A for effort.

“OK, that’s a good four degrees of separation there,” Rodgers said, laughing.

“Hey, it’s better than six,” Palumba replied.

Props to Rodgers for getting Panzerkampfwagen Maus, the name of the heaviest tank ever built, to somehow roll off his tongue during a clue under the Heavy Metal category. But perhaps a missed opportunity not to have a little more fun than he did with the lyrics to “Smelly Cat” from “Friends” for the Funny TV Songs category?

Rodgers did sound excited, however, to be able to read this clue: “The Princess Bride,” 1987: This leading man whose name was not Inigo Montoya.”

When returning champ Brandon Deutsch incorrectly answered Mandy Patinkin, Rodgers, a huge “Princess Bride” fan, seemed to take some delight in telling him that Patinkin was Inigo Montoya. (Correct answer: Cary Elwes.)

Coincidentally, “The Princess Bride” came up in an Instagram story Rodgers did with fiancée Shailene Woodley on Monday, in which she encouraged viewers to watch “Jeopardy!” She asked him what people should expect from his time as guest host. 

“There’s some laughs, maybe some tears, excitement, mystery,” Rodgers said. “… It’s like ‘The Princess Bride’ — fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, miracles, true love. You never know.”

Rodgers has frequently mentioned the romantic comedy classic in interviews as one of his all-time favorite movies and has been known to blurt out quotes from it around his Packers teammates. He appeared on the “Chips, Dips and Dorks” podcast a few years ago for an episode devoted to the film. He talked about watching it as a kid and everybody taking parts as the characters (Westley has the best lines, he said) and enjoying its “subtle humor” as an adult.

So if you’re keeping track at home of some of Rodgers’ favorite pop culture things that have popped up on “Jeopardy!” so far, add “The Princess Bride” to a list that also includes Ewoks and Turd Ferguson. Still plenty of time for a “Game of Thrones” or “The Office” moment.

Rodgers earned another $9,799 Thursday for his charity of choice, the North Valley Community Foundation in his hometown of Chico, California.

NIGHT 3:  Aaron Rodgers’ inner ‘Star Wars’ nerd comes out with Ewoks shoutout on ‘Jeopardy!’

NIGHT 2:  Aaron Rodgers drops a Turd Ferguson reference on ‘Jeopardy!’

NIGHT 1:  After Aaron Rodgers aces ‘Jeopardy!’ debut (field goal question and all), Shailene Woodley joins him for live recap

RELATED:  ‘A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’: 5 things to know ahead of Aaron Rodgers’ two-week stint at ‘Jeopardy!’ guest host 

Follow Kendra Meinert on Twitter @KendraMeinert

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