A Clash of the Elite- Here’s How Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady Match Up
Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are two of the top NFL quarterbacks of all time. They have played together in the league as starters for 13 seasons and are showing no signs of slowing down. Despite a cumulative age of 79, fans see the duo’s clashes as battles of the elite rather than fading athletes hoping for one last moment of magic.
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Being in separate conferences meant that they were guaranteed to play each other just once every four NFL seasons. Fans’ chance of seeing the two compete once every four years too was compounded by Rodgers’ untimely injury in 2010. Having played in 2018, the next time the regular-season schedule would pit these behemoths against each other would be in 2022. At this time, Brady would have turned 45 and may have departed the field for good.
Fortunately, his decision to challenge himself after two decades in Massachusetts gave fans hope that the two legends would collide soon. Their wishes were granted as the 2020 NFL schedule paired the Green Bay Packers against Brady’s new franchise, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Are Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers friends?
As is the case with most elite sports players on opposing teams, a constant query emerges regarding their friendship. The same holds for the Green Bay Packers quarterback and the former New England Patriots quarterback.
There haven’t been any unsavory incidents between the duo. Furthermore, the four-time Super Bowl MVP has credited the Packers quarterback for spurring him to be better.
Ahead of the pair’s clash in 2018, the pair’s comments indicated a feeling of mutual respect. While Brady claimed to watch Rodgers’ games, he said that the Packers QB’s ability to throw and his pocket play made him want to practice and improve.
Likewise, Rodgers claimed to have tried to incorporate the positives he saw in Brady’s game and added that he enjoyed competing against great players.
How many times have Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady played each other?
Since Aaron Rodgers’ NFL draft, he has faced Brady thrice. However, only two of these have come with the duo competing as their franchise’s starting quarterback. Fans lament on the Packers faltering in the NFC Championship game on two occasions, thus denying them the dream Aaron Rodgers vs Tom Brady Super Bowl.
These games took place in the 2014 and 2016 NFL seasons. In retrospect, these defeats have only enhanced the value of the regular season games where the duo has played each other.
2006: Tom Brady mauls the Green Bay Packers
The 22-year-old Rodgers came on deep into the second quarter to replace the injured Brett Favre. The home team was down 21-0 and Favre being carted off was the last thing the ‘Cheeseheads’ would have wanted.
There was an awful weight on the youngster’s shoulders as he had to mount a comeback against a rampant team led by a quarterback at the peak of his powers.
While Rodgers was unsuccessful, he got to observe a legend in action and won over the Lambeau Field faithful in a different way despite Green Bay losing the game 35-0.
He made four completions and passed for 32 yards in 12 attempts. This was his final contribution for the season as he too joined his senior teammate on the injury list.
2014: Green Bay Packers’ blitz leaves New England Patriots playing catchup
Eight years after their first meeting, Aaron Rodgers finally stepped onto the field as a starting quarterback against Tom Brady. Over this period, Rodgers had grown from a youngster with potential to a formidable quarterback who sent chills down the opposing defense’s spines. He claimed more Super Bowl wins than his illustrious opponent since getting picked in the first round; Brady was to end his near decade long drought later in the season.
However, the only thing on Green Bay’s mind was to ensure they did not suffer another blowout at home. They started off well with two field goals and an Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass in the opening 15 to take a 13-0 lead. The second quarter saw 24 of the game’s 47 points scored. Crucially, the Pats opened the scoring with running back Brandon Bolden’s six-yard dash.
The Packers scored a field goal before the sides traded touchdowns to close the half. Brady passed his first touchdown with a minute left on the clock. However, Green Bay was spurred on by a partisan home crowd. They fed off the energy and took 55 seconds to respond and secure a nine-point lead before the break.
In the fourth, the Tom Brady-Brandon LaFell duo combined to take New England back to within two points of their hosts. Green Bay moved five points ahead on their next drive; Rodgers progressed to the 10-yard line before running out of first downs. Kicker Mason Crosby sent the football through the uprights, but with 8:45 left their lead was not secure.
New England went for the win with Brady opting not to let the special teams take the field on a fourth down. They kept the football for six minutes before Mike Neal and Mike Daniels sacked the quarterback on a third down at the 29-yard line. This sealed the game with ‘The Packers’ opting to let time run out. It was a first win for the Wisconsin-based franchise against the Massachusetts side since 2002.
2018: New England Patriots orchestrate a final quarter blowout
The high flying Patriots side hosted a low on confidence Green Bay Packers who had claimed just three wins from seven games until that point. Despite the form disparity, the match was must-watch football as it provided fans with a rare clash between two Super-Bowl winning quarterbacks.
The 41-year-old Tom Brady headed onto the field with the knowledge that he had yet to record a win over Aaron Rodgers-the starter. He was eager to right the wrong and opened the Patriots’ tally on the opening drive. New England advanced 51 yards across 10 plays. On the eleventh play, Brady handed the ball to James White, who scored the game’s first touchdown.
Green Bay could only respond with a field goal despite earning seven first downs. They conceded a field goal before Aaron Rodgers passed to Davante Adams from two yards out to draw level at 10-10.
New England wasn’t content with just being level at halftime. Cordarrelle Patterson darted into the end zone and Gostkowski sent another kick good, to restore their side’s seven-point lead.
After halftime, Aaron Rodgers passed for a second touchdown at the Gillette Stadium to tie the game at 17-17. However, they crumbled on the opening play of the final quarter. The Patriots’ defense forced a fumble to hand Brady the football 74 yards from the end zone.
10 plays later, James White scored his second touchdown of the night. The defense stepped up once more to deny Green Bay a fresh set of downs on their next drive.
New England rose as one, with Brady needing just one set of downs and three plays to seal his first passing touchdown. It was a 55-yard effort to Josh Gordon, which took the AFC East franchise 14 ahead with 7:20 left.
Aaron Rodgers could not inspire his side to a stupendous comeback and suffered a loss to the then 5x Super Bowl winner. He led in attempts and first downs. Unfortunately, he lagged in completions and passing yards, which proved detrimental to his side’s offense.
Is Aaron Rodgers the greatest quarterback ever?
The term greatest quarterback ever has been handed to many snap collectors. However, it cannot be used lightly as one needs to consider the level of opposition present at the time. Also, the term greatest needs to be considered with the level of the present quarterbacks in the league.
Rodgers has a claim for the greatest quarterback in terms of his statistical brilliance. He leads Brady in completion percentage and has been intercepted on fewer occasions. Based on the numbers, fans can label him as greater than Tom Brady in a few aspects.
Of course, his statistical brilliance can be attributed to a combination of factors: his outrageous skill, his teammates catching the football, evading safeties, and reaching the end zone without being brought down.
A certain percentage of watchers may argue that accolades are the true parameter for greatness rather than stats. The undisputed winner here would be Tom Brady, who has won more Super Bowls than any man in history. However, he too has had the help of willing teammates in achieving these lofty heights in the sport.
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While he may not be the best, Aaron Rodgers is someone who can make fans debate on the same. Brady too can evoke the same feeling among NFL observers. One thing that all their fans will find common ground on is that any Rodgers vs Brady clash is a rare and unmissable treat.
Here’s a look at Aaron Rodgers vs Tom Brady in a statistical sense of things.
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|Tom Brady||Aaron Rodgers|
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