Patriots Talk: Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady?
So this debate seemingly has been brought up AGAIN. The New England Patriots starting [Quarterback] Tom Brady has been seemingly impossible to see leaving the NFL anytime soon and even looks to be the First-Team selection for the All-Decade Team of the 2010s like he was in the 2000s. It was always a debate whenever people brought up Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady because so many people said Brady has the rings and Manning has the stats. It would seem the same can be said of Brady vs Rodgers of this current era.
Recently on ESPN, Hall-of-Fame [Cornerback] Deion ‘Primetime’ Sanders, talked with NFL analyst, Dave Dameshek regarding who would be the better QB going into 2017. This soon became a new ‘hot take’ of the week it would seem as other sports news like Undisputed on FS1, got in on the fun. While many argue that Rodgers is the superior of the two ‘now’ because he is both younger and more ‘athletic.’ However, what Brady accomplished last season, Sanders declared it’s Tom Brady ‘Because all he does is win, win, win no matter what, what, what!’ While Patriots fans would say this is a no brainer, we need to understand what they both have accomplished. Looking at last season, it easy to understand why these two are so often put against one another when they both haven’t even played since Week 13 of the 2014 NFL season.
I will agree that Aaron Rodgers in terms of what he has accomplished, while he was at his peak (2011) was just as good, if not better, than Brady was in 2007, but in terms of their actual careers, its not even close. Brady has more Superbowls than Aaron Rodgers ,but that does not mean he is simply a better QB. When looking at their front office and roster, The Patriots are all around incredible at any position with the best head coach in the sport; Bill Belichick and a front office that is controlled by one of the best owners in the NFL in Robert Kraft.
The city of Green Bay, Wisconsin are the actual owners of the Packers so there is no ‘official’ owner outside of the shareholders and their coaching staff isn’t something to shrug at, Mike McCarthy has been the Head Coach of the green Bay Packers since 2006 and has lead the team to 7 Division Titles (2007, 2011-2014, 2016) and won Super Bowl XLV. His current total W-L record is 124–69–1 (.642) which is exceptional for any coach in the NFL. But many feel that McCarthy’s style of offense is stale and relies too heavily on Rodgers utilizing his instincts and strengths to be able to make big plays (which more often than not, he does). On the other hand, the rest of the Packers coaching staff is…well to put into nicer words, underachieving, especially in the case, the defensive coordinator, Dom Capers. In terms of overall talent, Rodgers has been forced on several occasions, to drag a below average, team to the playoffs year after year since he earned NFL MVP in 2011. Now looking back on the Packers since 2011, this isn’t as untrue as many would think.
Here is a defensive ranking of both teams by year since 2011:
2011: Green Bay Packers – 32nd in total yards allowed (6585). 1st in Turn-Over Ratio (31 INT, which is a team record) 19th in points allowed. (359) vs. New England Patriots – 31st in total yards allowed (6577). 2nd in Turn-Over Ratio (23 INT). 15th in points allowed. (342)
2012: Green Bay Packers – 11th in total yards allowed (5388). 8th in Turn-Over Ratio (18 INT) 11th in points allowed. (336) vs. New England Patriots – 25th in total yards allowed (5972). 5th in Turn-Over Ratio (20 INT). 9th in points allowed. (331)
2013: Green Bay Packers – 25th in total yards allowed (5956). 26th in Turn-Over Ratio (11 INT) 24th in points allowed. (428) vs. New England Patriots – 26th in total yards allowed (5969). 12th in Turn-Over Ratio (17 INT). 10th in points allowed. (338)
2014: Green Bay Packers – 15th in total yards allowed (5542). 7th in Turn-Over Ratio (18 INT) 13th in points allowed. (348) vs. New England Patriots – 13th in total yards allowed (5506). 12th in Turn-Over Ratio (16 INT). 8th in points allowed. (313)
2015: Green Bay Packers – 15th in total yards allowed (5547). 9th in Turn-Over Ratio (17 INT) 12th in points allowed. (323) vs. New England Patriots – 9th in total yards allowed (5430). 20th in Turn-Over Ratio (12 INT). 10th in points allowed. (315)
2016: Green Bay Packers – 22th in total yards allowed (5823). 4th in Turn-Over Ratio (17 INT). 21st in points allowed. (388) vs. New England Patriots – 8th in total yards allowed (5223). 15th in Turn-Over Ratio (13 INT). 1st in points allowed. (250)
It’s impossible to win any game when your defense cannot stop the opposing teams’ offense. Both teams showed this again the Atlanta Falcons seemingly unstoppable offense (Difference is, one of these teams actually won against them). Based on these stats alone, it shows that their defensive coordinators (in this case, Matt Patricia and Dom Campers). Just based of the stats, The Patriots seem to have an edge in the yards allowed (except 2013) and Points allowed, but in terms of INT the Packers beat them out (except in 2012 and 2013).
Brady has played with a seemingly better defense but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t need to work as hard to get them to the playoffs. In terms of the actual players, the overall resume speaks for itself. Rodgers was already at a severe disadvantage as Brady had already won 3 Super Bowls before Rodgers had even been drafted. So if we want to be more fair to Rodgers, as he had to wait 3 seasons before becoming a starts, (unlike Brady who became the starter after only 1 season) but the players want to look at the whole resume and here is what it looked like:
- W-L Record: 183-52 vs. 90-45
- Total Completion Percentage: 63.8% vs. 65.1%
- Quarterback Rating: 97.2 vs. 104.1
- Passes Completed: 22.1 vs. 21.4
- Passes Attempted: 34.7 vs. 32.8
- Yards Total: 259.8 vs. 259.3
- Touchdowns: 1.9 vs. 2.1
- INT: 0.6 vs. 0.5
- Sacks: 1.8 vs. 2.4
You can look at every single statistic out there but at the end of the day, it matters on what the player has accomplished in his career, and no Quarterback has done what Tom Brady has done. We could go over regular season stats all day, but come playoffs it gets even crazier. Brady has won 25 out of 34 playoffs game while Rodgers had only won 9 out 16. If Rodgers loses two more playoff games he will match the number of losses Brady has already even though they have a significant age gap.
Rodgers vs. Brady is simply another case of Brady vs. Manning except Manning you could still make arguments for wheres with Rodgers, he still has plenty left to prove but right now: it’s not even close. When both players are retired, we will have a more clear picture, but for now, Brady is the clear winner if we base it on purely accomplishments, but if we are basing it on how the other would fair on the other team, that would be a story to tell.
Many have argued Brady is simply a system type player who fell into the best support system in the NFL. Here is a question: Can a QB win a game, without a system of any kind in place? If you answered yes, you are wrong. When teams design an offense that caters specifically to a quarterbacks strengths, and minimizes any exposure of their weaknesses, then it creates a successful quarterback that some would think is overachieving of one’s actual talent. Which is what the term; system quarterback, comes from. However, a QB needs a system in place if they want to have success with their team as football is a team sport. In a weird way, every QB is a system QB. Nobody can just throw to players down the field and tell one of his men to call plays and hope it all works out. It takes months, or even years to develop a proper system and trying to use it as some sort of excuse for a player’s success, is just ridiculous.
Let me say this: Brady had no expectations coming into the NFL as a 6th round draft pick out of Michigan, whereas Rodgers was a 1st round pick out of California, so he already had high expectations to begin with. Both players have earned their status to be recognized as the best in the league, and will more than likely be first-ballot Hall-of-famers, but in terms of legacy: Brady wins, without question.