The Green Bay Packers take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the NFC Championship game this Sunday. The two teams are fighting for a spot in the Super Bowl game. But more than that, it is the first time we see Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady face each other in a playoff game. The two-generational quarterbacks have never faced each other in a postseason game.
NFL analyst Nick Wright spoke recently about the importance of this fixture for Aaron Rodgers. He believes that this game is the most important in the career of Rodgers.
It is a legacy game for Rodgers, not unlike the game he had in the NFC championship game in 2015 against the Seattle Seahawks, ahead of the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.
He said, “The biggest story is: What is on the line for Aaron Rodgers? There was a moment 6 years and 3 days ago where Aaron Rodgers had a sliding doors moment in his career.
“And he went the wrong way with it. It was the NFC Championship game against the Seahawks. The Patriots were already clinched for the Super Bowl.”
Wright added that since that loss, the Packers have had poor experiences in the Playoffs. Because of these losses, Rodgers’ legacy has taken a hit, while Brady went on to achieve greater things.
“At that moment in time, Tom Brady had 3 rings and had not won a Super Bowl in over 10 years. Rodgers was moments away from getting back to the Super Bowl with a chance to beat Brady head-to-head in a Super Bowl, he would have 2 rings, Brady would have 3. Forget the GOAT conversation, it would be, ‘Is Rodgers simple the best quarterback of this era, not Brady?’”
Wright noted that the game did not go Rodgers’ way, and the conversations surrounding him and Brady changed drastically. He couldn’t help but wonder what the narrative would be around Rodgers.
“The overtime happened. And then what happened to Rodgers the next year in the Playoffs, he completes two Hail Marys and they lose.
“The next year in the Playoffs, they make the Conference Championship game, they’re down 31-0. They then miss the Playoffs for 2 straight years and make it back to the Conference Championship game where they’re down 27-0.”
Wright added that Rodgers was close to being one of the greatest ever. But he has a chance at redemption by defeating Brady to reach the Super Bowl. And he picked Rodgers to rise to the occasion and lead the Packers over the Buccaneers.
“He was this close to being able to play a game to potentially dethrone Brady, who wasn’t yet the GOAT… This is the biggest game he has played in 6 years, he’s an all-time great and that, to me, is what this game is going to come down to.
“I think Rodgers is going to be all-time special in the biggest game he has played in a half-decade and that’s what will carry the Packers.”
Can Aaron Rodgers defeat Tom Brady this weekend?