Another NFL season is behind us and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady became only the second player in NFL history (Charles Haley is the other) to win five Super Bowls. Brady won his fifth by leading the Patriots on the biggest comeback in the storied history of the championship game. Brady also collected his fourth Super Bowl MVP award, giving him the most in history. Even with all of that, however, Brady is not the greatest of all time, as some would argue. The greatest to ever strap up the chin strap steps under center for the most storied franchise in NFL history, the Green Bay Packers. Yes, Aaron Rodgers is the best to ever play the position and it isn’t even close.
Greatness is often measured by statistics and Rodgers certainly has those. Yes, there are plenty of quarterbacks who have more than one Super Bowl win and one Super Bowl MVP. There are also quarterbacks who have more league MVPs than the two that Rodgers has (Brady has four) and more Pro Bowl appearances than Rodgers’ six (Brady has 12). Rodgers, however, does have some records that are all his. They include career passer rating (104.1), highest passer rating in a season (122.5 in 2011) and best touchdown-to-interception ratio (4.13). So, who else is on those lists you might ask? It doesn’t matter. Rodgers is at the top, exactly where he belongs. While we are on numbers, Rodgers has also rushed for more than 2,500 yards and scored 25 rushing touchdowns in his career. Brady, 940 yards and 17 touchdowns. Hey, I could dive over from the one-yard line.
When talking about the greatest of all time, however, you have to go further than statistics and when you do, there simply isn’t anyone who compares to what Rodgers has done on the field. Start by looking at 10 of the best throws he’s made during his career. When reviewing the list, pay attention to two things. First, there are MULTIPLE Hail Marys on here. You have quarterbacks who play their entire careers without hitting one. Second, one of the best throws anyone has seen in a while, Rodgers’ dart to Jared Cook in the divisional round win over the Cowboys, is number six! In other words, he’s got five throws that are even better. If you go by strictly statistics, than Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback ever, since he retired with the most career passing yards and touchdowns. How many people would take Manning over Brady?
I thought so. Statistics doesn’t paint the entire picture.
Now we get to the reason Rodgers can even make those throws — because he is the NFL’s version of Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky. In other words, he is capable of doing things that others simply are not. I mean, after a 42-24 loss to the Redskins, the Packers were 4-6 and left for dead. Rodgers then went all Babe Ruth and called his shot, saying he thought the Packers could run the table and make the playoffs. If there is someone else who has ever done this and then turned in the kind of numbers Rodgers did over that eight-game stretch (the six they won to run the table and the first two playoff games) please point him out. Projected out to a 16-game season, Rodgers would’ve finished with a rating of 118.0, better than three of the best individual seasons (by some guys named Brady, Brees and Manning) we’ve seen in this era.
Brady has never guaranteed anything. Not to mention the fact that Rodgers is at his best when the pressure is on and the pocket is collapsing. Brady is usually on his back at that point or picking himself up off the turf wondering why there isn’t a flag or screaming at one of his teammates.
Three final things to consider. One, all of the ESPN Football Insiders say Rodgers is the best player on the planet, period. Two, Rodgers finished sixth on the top 101 NFL players list for 2016. This is a guy who, along with his team, was left for dead and somehow still finished sixth! Three, and this is the most telling, former Browns quarterback Josh McCown (granted, not exactly an expert on the subject) compared Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to Rodgers. Hello! He didn’t compare him to the guy Garoppolo has been backing up these last few years. He compared him to Rodgers. Why? Because Rodgers is the greatest, end of story.