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OPINIONS, SPORTS

Opinion: Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers

 

Here we go again. The debate that has been raging across the football world for the last eight years. Who’s better? Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady? These quarterbacks have been some of the most dominant players at their position, garnering respect around the league from players and coaches. However, if we deduce some stats of both quarterbacks, we can see that Aaron Rodgers reigns supreme in this debate.

One of my favorite statistics to go to for this is quarterback rating. This stat is a determinant of how efficient a passer is. When looking at passer rating in this aspect, we see as the number one QB in history, HISTORY, is Aaron Rodgers with a 103.8 passer rating, five points ahead of the next closest who is Russell Wilson with a rating of 98.8. Tom Brady is still a top tier passer in efficiency, coming in at number three with a rating of 97.6. Rodgers leads Brady by 6.2 points in this category, a solid margain. To put Rodgers dominance in further perspective, the average margin between all passers between the second and tenth passer ratings in NFL history is 0.5. Rodgers 5 point margin shows just how dominating he truly is.

Now we can go to raw statistic analysis, which is a little easier to follow. Tom Brady does hold the edge of total amount of yards passing and touchdowns with 66,159 total passing yards and 488 touchdowns as he has been in the league for more years than Aaron Rodgers (he totals in at 38,502 yards and 313 touchdowns). This is also detrimental to Tom Brady as he has had more years for greater statistics, which means more years for more interceptions, sitting at 160 to Rodgers’ 78.. We also have to take into account the 2008-2009 season that Tom Brady was lost to due to a torn ACL and the 2012-2013 and 2017-2018 seasons in which Aaron Rodgers was lost for most of the year due to broken collarbones. Also, the 2005-2007 seasons have to taken out of Rodgers years and the 2000 season out of Tom Brady’s years as those were redshirt years for both players. If we remove these seasons from their records to show the overall averages in their major stats per year we can get a better picture of their average stats per year. Rodgers then averages 4,245 yards and 35 touchdowns a year. Tom Brady, scaling his results to the same playing field, averages 4,130 yards and 30 touchdowns. Though the yardage is close between the QBs, the touchdowns are very far apart with Rodgers five touchdown per year ahead of Tom Brady’s averages. To add more to signify Rodgers efficiency, he has a 4.29 TD:INT ratio excluding the mentioned seasons while Brady stands at a 3.05, a 1.24 difference between the QBs, a significant margin.  

As for eye test, we can separate this into pre-snap play and pure ability. They both are as good as it gets with reading defenses at the line of scrimmage and making play adjustments. However, one key aspect that puts Rodgers above in this category is his hard count (the ability to fake the snap and draw opposing defender offsides) and his ability to draw twelve men on the field during lazy defense substitutions. This causes defenses be on their toes and  forces absolute perfection out of a defense and its coaches in terms of substituting and discipline at the line of scrimmage for eager passer rushers. Not to take away from Brady as he has the ability to read a defense so well that it takes very intricate defensive disguises to somewhat bother him before the snap, which many defenses are incapable of doing. However, this is the case with Rodgers as well, as his pre-snap adjustments are just as precise and on point as Tom Brady.

Now, we can move on to pure throwing ability. Tom Brady has been categorized as a “dink and dunk” quarterback, which is a fair assessment considering he does throw quite a bit of short and underneath routes. However, don’t let that fool you from his ability to throw the ball deep and stretch the defense as in last year’s Super Bowl he threw for a record 505 yards and heaving an almost perfect Hail Mary pass which unfortunately ended in a drop pass by Rob Gronkowski at the end the end of the game.

Tom Brady has a lightning quick release time, and he has shown that he is very accurate  with it. His ability to throw the ball downfield has been repeatedly questioned by many critics and he has responded continuously with games just as he delivered in the Super Bowl. However, the strongest part of his game lies in his intermediate and short throws in which he gives his receivers a chance to get the ball in their hands and make plays after the catch. However, an aspect of Brady’s game that makes him hard to play against for pass rushers is his pocket maneuverability. His ability to avoid the rush and by those few milliseconds of extra time to find open receivers makes him even more deadly than any other pocket passer.      

Aaron Rodgers also can do all the things Tom Brady can do in the pocket. His ability to be a classic drop back passer with elite pocket maneuverability skills equivalent to Tom Brady are only a couple aspects that make Aaron Rodgers the best quarterback. To add to his game, Aaron’s out of pocket game and running ability is what really separates him from Tom Brady. His ability to throw as accurately in the pocket as he can outside the pocket puts defenses in a heavy bind. A play that should only last close to around three seconds suddenly transforms into seven or eight second plays, which place a heavy amount of stress on opposing DBs to cover for such long stretches of time. This is shown by his league leading 13 TDs outside the pocket in 2016 and containing two of the top five longest plays to result in TDs during that season at 8.6 and 6.3 seconds. Though these stats aren’t directly comparable to Tom Brady, as he is a classic drop back passer, these show that Rodgers added elite outside the pocket game that is absent from Brady’s game elevates him above Brady.    

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