Both Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots are considered two of the best quarterbacks to have ever played in the NFL.
When Rodgers and his 3-3-1 Packers take on Brady and his 6-2 Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night, it’s hard to fathom that this will be only the second time that the two have met as starters in a NFL game.
The last time the two met was also on a Sunday night, but that game was played at Lambeau Field in 2014. In that game, which the Packers won 26-21 over the Pats, Rodgers threw two touchdown passes without an interception for 368 yards, which added up to a passer rating of 112.6.
Brady wasn’t bad either, as he also threw two touchdown passes without a pick, but only for 245 yards, which adds up to a 102.7 passer rating.
Speaking of passer ratings, Rodgers is the all-time leader in NFL history with a career passer rating of 103.6. Meanwhile Brady is third on the list with a rating of 97.6. Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks and formerly of the University of Wisconsin, is second with a rating 99.6.
When one looks at what Rodgers and Brady have done so far in their NFL careers, it’s almost mind-boggling when you see what they have accomplished.
Besides being the all-time leader in passer rating, Rodgers is also the only quarterback in NFL history to have thrown an average of four touchdown passes to just one interception, as he has 326 career touchdown passes compared to just 79 interceptions, which equates to 4.13 TD passes vs. a pick.
Tom Terrific isn’t bad either in this stat, as he has thrown 504 touchdown passes compared to 167 interceptions, which equates to 3.02 TD passes to a one pick ratio.
Rodgers has been a NFL MVP twice, while Brady has won that award three times. Rodgers has been named to six Pro Bowl teams, while Brady has been named to a whopping 13 Pro Bowl teams.
Rodgers has been an AP first-team All-Pro twice, while Brady has been an AP first-team All-Pro three times.
Rodgers has won one Super Bowl, while Brady has won five. In Super Bowl XLV, Rodgers was named the MVP of the game, while Brady has won that same award in Super Bowl XXXVI, Super Bowl XXXVIII, Super Bowl XLIX and Super Bowl LI.
In terms of their postseason play, it might be surprising to some to know that Rodgers actually has a better passer rating than Brady. Rodgers is fifth all-time with a passer rating of 99.4, while Brady is 13th, with a passer rating of 90.9.
Rodgers has thrown 36 career touchdown passes in the postseason versus 10 interceptions for 4,458 yards. Brady has thrown 71 touchdown passes versus 31 picks for 10,226 yards.
So why then is Rodgers 9-7 in the postseason, while Brady is 27-10? It really comes down to defense for the most part. Brady has been surrounded by some really good defensive teams during his time in New England, while Rodgers except for a couple of years, has seen his defense get gashed many times in the playoffs.
In the seven losses that Rodgers has had in the postseason, his defense has given up point totals of 51, 37, 45, 23, 28, 26 and 44. That averages out to around 36 points a game.
Compare that to Brady’s 10 losses. When Brady has lost (and this includes three Super Bowl games), his teams have given up an average of 27.9 points.
All I know, is that it is easier to score four touchdowns in a game, as opposed to five touchdowns and a field goal.
Rodgers, the former Cal Bear star and Brady, the former Michigan Wolverine star, have a lot in common, besides being among the best who ever played in the NFL.
Both players wear No. 12 and both hail from Northern California. Rodgers is from Chico, while Brady is from San Mateo. The two are also good friends and have a deep respect for one another.
On Wednesday, when Rodgers spoke to the media, he said this about Brady being the greatest of all time, “”He’s got five championships. I think that ends most discussions.”
A day earlier when Brady was on WEEI’s Kirk and Callahan show, he talked about Rodgers and the debate about who is the best ever QB in NFL history.
“I think it’s a hypothetical question that is truly impossible to answer,” Brady said. “It’s great to debate and those types of things. … It’s hard to compare positions and eras. It’s impossible to answer. I think Aaron is one of the best ever to play the game. He’s got every skill you need to be a great quarterback. I think there is a lot of other guys who are playing today that are phenomenal — Ben Roethlisberger, I think he is an incredible player. What Drew Brees has done, and I am just talking players who are playing. I mean Peyton Manning, I don’t think there was anyone who commanded the position better than Peyton what he did from Indy to Denver. That was spectacular. I got a chance to play against Brett Favre and I saw Steve Young last night and Joe Montana is a guy I have always looked up to.”
Brady brings up a great list of NFL quarterbacks. But only he and Bart Starr have won five NFL championships as quarterbacks. Starr, by the way, is the all-time postseason leader in passer ratings with a mark of 104.8.
Rodgers learned a lot from playing behind Favre for three years, but he and his quarterbacks coach Tom Clements closely studied the pocket presence of Brady when Rodgers got his opportunity to become a starter in 2008.
“Really tried to work on his pocket movement,” Rodgers said. “He’s phenomenal with his subtle movements in the pocket, creating space and getting into a cleaner launch point in that pocket. And that’s one thing we really worked on. Some of that is just natural instincts, but I think there is a good deal of that you can work on and try to incorporate in your own game.”
Rodgers learned his lessons from both Favre and Brady very well.
The bottom line in Sunday’s game between the Packers and Patriots is that it is almost a must win game for the Packers, especially after their heartbreaking 29-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday.
The loss was painful because soon to be former Packer Ty Montgomery took a kickoff out of the end zone and fumbled when he was told to take a knee. That fumble erased any chance Rodgers had to take the Packers down the field with over two minutes to go (and one timeout) to win the game.
Kicker Mason Crosby had already kicked two field goals in the game, including one from 53 yards out, plus Rodgers had thrown for 286 yards and one touchdown and had a passer rating of 102.9 heading into the drive that never took place due to Montgomery’s gaff.
I expect both Rodgers and Brady to play well on Sunday night, as both are having fine seasons once again in 2018.
Rodgers has thrown 13 touchdown passes and has only thrown one interception for 2,283 yards. That adds up to a passer rating of 100.4.
Brady has thrown 16 touchdown passes compared to seven picks for 2,200 yards. That adds up to a passer rating of 97.6.
I expect another close game with these two icons going at it on Sunday. In terms of who wins this big game, I’m leaning towards the No. 12 who wears green and gold.