The NFL players recently ranked Tom Brady as the best player in the league while putting Aaron Rodgers at 10, and the fourth best QB. Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady is the great debate in the NFL. People who select Brady, like the majority of the players will choose Brady because he has five rings. And that is their only argument, making it a weak one.
Most players only care about and judge by rings, which is flawed in its own right. And because Tom Brady has five Super Bowl rings, people will side with him. Brady may be the ‘greatest,’ but Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the game today and arguably ever.
People often confuse ‘greater’ and ‘better.’ Greater is associated more with a resume that is attached to team success. It is more subjective. Unlike ‘best,’ it is not an individual title at its root. ‘Best,’ however, focuses on the individual’s talent, skill, production, and overall value to a franchise, making it easier to judge objectively. But the bottom line is, being more successful does not make you better.
And at the same time, rings are not everything. A quarterback is one of only 22 starters a team fields during a game. And he just plays one half of a game. And rings are the ultimate team accomplishment. You can be an average quarterback but win 3-4 rings and have the perception of being one of the greatest because you won so much, when, you were, in reality, an average player elevated by a fantastic team.
Brady’s success is tied to the greatest coach in NFL history and some excellent supporting casts. People forget elite defenses carried him to his first three rings. He was not “Tom Brady” then. But you cannot take his five rings away. So, both Brady and Rodgers are great, but while Brady is ‘greater,’ Aaron Rodgers is better because being the most successful does not make you the best.
Rodgers is the better player, talent, and more skillful of the two. Rodgers’ talent trumps that of Brady. Rodgers is physically gifted, making him a much better athlete from the two. The Packers QB has over 2,500 career rush yards while Brady has less than 1,000. But Rodgers’ elite mobility is just a bonus. He has the superior arm as well.
An arm that scouts, Hall-of-Famers, and analysts have caused them to rave that “Aaron Rodgers is the best thrower of the football” they have ever seen due to the combination of effortless release, arm strength, pinpoint accuracy and touch that allows him to make any throws possible from any platform. He can throw on the run to the right, or across his body running left, off balance in the air or on one leg. He doesn’t need a set platform to deliver a bullet or dime. And combine that with his excellent mobility, and he makes plays no other QB can make.
Brady was quoted as saying:
“Well, I think he does things that no one in the league has ever done or can do, just because of his physical ability. And some of the plays he makes, they’re just phenomenal….. “he’s making hard look easy and I think that’s the amazing part about what he does. It’s a very effortless style he plays with. The velocity of the ball, the placement of the ball, he’s just an incredible player. I always love watching his tape, admiring all the things he can do, because I can’t do many of those things.”
But talent will only get you so far without the mental makeup and work ethic. Rodgers has a similar football IQ and is a perfectionist like Brady, which has helped the Packer turn his talent into elite production and two NFL MVPs (should have won his third in 2016-2017).
Let’s take a look at stats since 2008 when Rodgers became a starter
|Statistic||Player A||Player B|
Player A is Tom Brady, while Player B is Aaron Rodgers. He has the better numbers. He has the best career passer rating of any quarterback in NFL history and in 2011 compiled the single greatest season put together by a quarterback ever, with a 122.5 passer rating.
That season, in particular, showed why Aaron Rodgers is the most valuable player in the league, more so than even Brady. Rodgers led one of the worst defenses in the league to a 15-1 record that year. The Green Bay Packers have always surrounded him with subpar talent year in and year out. Analysts often say that the Packers have no business being in the playoffs because of the lack of talent on the team. But they are always in title contention because their number 12 can hide the roster’s flaws. It takes an exceptional talent to do that.
He has only had a good running game once or twice in his career. And the only time Aaron Rodgers had an above-average defense? He won the Super Bowl.
However, since then, he has not been back, but it has not been his fault. Five of his last eight playoff losses were not in his hands. Two were historical defensive collapses. Two others were in overtime, and due to the NFL’s OT rules, he did not get to touch the ball in OT. In 2017, the Packers were down to their 3rd and 4th stringers on offense and 2nd stringers on defense (which was already bad), but he carried them to the NFC Championship game before injuries finally caught up to them.
But Brady has never had to do this. He has always had the advantage in coaching, and personnel while facing inferior competition. The Patriots have gone 14-6 without their star quarterback whereas the Packers are 6-14-1 with Rodgers in last 10 years, begging the question whether we have overrated Brady’s success and whether he is more of a product of an excellent system.
And it is easier to make playoffs for Brady because he plays in the weak AFC East. And once he strolls into the playoffs, the road through the AFC is simple because of the overall weakness of the conference. The NFC is more loaded with excellent quarterbacks and teams almost everywhere you turn, making it a dogfight every year and an exponentially tougher path to the Super Bowl.
Brady’s main argument for being ‘better’ is tied to his success which happens because of his surroundings whereas Rodgers wins despite his surroundings while putting up similar, if not better, numbers against better competition, and showing his value by carrying a franchise on his back. Brady may have more success, but Aaron Rodgers is simply the better player.
Featured Image via Wikipedia
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