May. 30, 2016
Rodgers vs. Brady, the Rational Argument
Aaron Rodgers. Tom Brady. Green Bay Packers. New England Patriots. 50 percent chance of bringing home a Lombardi trophy to its' birthplace, or its' summer home. And yet, Lombardi trophies are not a comparison tool for players, they are a comparison tool for teams. For instance, is Eli Manning a better quarterback than Matt Ryan because Eli has two more Super Bowls than him? Bart Starr has more NFL titles, does that make him better than Tom Brady?
I get it, winning a championship is one of the many criteria when discussing Hall of Fame credentials, and winning two championships almost certainly gets you in. However, it doesn't mean that you are better than somebody just because you have more of them. Or are you arguing that Joe Flacco, Russell Wilson, Eli Manning, Kurt Warner, etc, etc, are as good or better than the likes of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers? I hope you aren't, because that would be inexplicable.
Okay, Tom Brady is capable of playing at a very high level in his age 39 season, but let's take a look at some other great seasons from aging Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Peyton Manning's second-to-last season, at age 38, threw for 4727 yards, 39TD and 15INT with a quarterback rating (QBR) of 75.12 (pro football reference). The year before was his last MVP season. Brett Favre at age 40 threw for 4202 yards with 33TD and 7INT and a QBR of 70.7. The next year, both of them battled injuries and fell off of a cliff. Point being, these recent Hall of Fame quarterbacks both played at an extremely high level until their final seasons, and they both came rather suddenly. In other words, Tom Brady could fall off next year or the year after, it's what the pattern seems to show.
So what does this have to do with Aaron Rodgers? For starters, I think Rodgers beating Brady in a Super Bowl will shut up about half of you Brady defenders. Second, Aaron has the talent and takeover ability in a football game that Tom Brady never has had. Third, some of the throws Aaron can make are throws nobody else can. And, Aaron is one of the best in the game at avoiding interceptions, has the best passer rating in the history of the NFL, and is more dangerous outside of the pocket than inside it due to his mobility. As a straight up comparison of talent, IQ and ability, Aaron is better.
The only real argument Brady supporters have is his championships, and that this run in New England has lasted over 15 years now. Yes, some of that has to do with Brady, but there are other reasons too. Example A, Bill Belichick. When Brady was out for the year in the late 2000s, the Patriots went 11-5 without him. Tom Brady has a complete team, and always has the talent around him to be able to sustain as a franchise. Remember, the Patriots also went to the Super Bowl just five years prior to Tom Brady's first ring, in 2001, against Brett Favre and the Packers.
This is probably the best comparison I have of the two: Tom Brady is like Bill Russell and Aaron Rodgers is like Wilt Chamberlain. The Celtics in the 1960's usually were first in the East, and then went on to win all of their rings, and those teams were led by a great coach in Red Auerbach and a great floor leader in Bill Russell. Meanwhile, Wilt Chamberlain's teams didn't have as smooth of sailing as the Celtics did, and usually, Wilt had less around him. Wilt, however, was better than Bill Russell in most athletic and statistical categories, yet Bill always seemed to be on the winning team. Despite Wilt's heroics, his three teams, the Warriors, Sixers and Lakers only managed to win two rings with him on the team, in part to Bill Russell. Is saying Bill Russell is a better basketball player than Wilt Chamberlain fair because Bill has more rings? That's like saying Russell is the best ever, since he has the most of all time.
In other words, it's not a fair comparison. You can't judge individual players in team sports based on the amount of rings a player has vs. another player. Bill Russell was on a dynasty, and so is Tom Brady, where Chamberlain and Rodgers were on great teams that they MADE great. They are both great players, and anyone who denies that is foolish. But to compare them on the basis of championships is a franchise comparison, not a individual comparison.