Patriots to face legendary winner of one Super Bowl

Published: 11/2/2018 12:55:42 PM

Photo by: Flickr user Mike Morbeck; modified by Flickr user Diddykong1130

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots are preparing this week to face the Green Bay Packers and their legendary quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, winner of one entire Super Bowl, Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.
Rodgers, who won his one Super Bowl something like eight years ago, is an unstoppable wizard with tremendous arm talent who can make all the throws. He is exceptionally smart, has all the components of a Hall of Fame quarterback and unlike some people has never lost a Super Bowl to Eli Manning. In fact, the Packers’ quarterback has only ever lost one postseason game to Eli Manning. In the Divisional Round. At home.  Coming of a 15-1 regular season. So put another check in the GOAT column for Mr. Rodgers.
“He's a great player,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. “He does everything well. He reads coverages well, very accurate throwing the ball. He's got a great touch down the field, short, intermediate. … I mean, he's one of the great quarterbacks in the National Football League, no question about it”
At times, Rodgers’ greatness is compared to that of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. This is a faulty comparison for a number of reasons. Primary among them is the fact that Brady has lost three Super Bowls, while Rodgers has a perfect record in Super Bowl play. One glorious win, zero losses. In fact, in the seven seasons since Rodgers won his one amazing Super Bowl, Brady has lost TWO Super Bowls. That leaves Brady with a Super Bowl winning of percentage of .625, dismal compared to Rodgers’ mark of 1.000.
Consider that Brady played in seven conference championships during those seven seasons, losing three of them in addition to the two lost Super Bowls. Meanwhile, Rodgers has only appeared in and lost two conference championships in that time. Once again, advantage Rodgers.
Of course, Super Bowl winning percentage is not the only way to sort out greatness. Digging deeper into the stats, we see that Rodgers took off like a rocket, throwing for 187 touchdowns in his first six seasons as a starter. Rodgers wisely spent his first three years in the league learning the craft behind one-time Super Bowl winner Brett Favre. Brady, on the other hand, leapt carelessly into starting early in his second NFL season and only threw 147 touchdowns during his first six years as a starter.   
Those first six seasons for Brady also occurred during a different era, when a quarterback could lead the league with just 28 touchdown passes. Which Brady did in 2002, his second season as a starter. Meanwhile, Rodgers threw for 30 touchdowns in his second season as a starter, which was only fourth-best in the league. His 28 touchdown passes in his third season were only good for sixth in the league and so on.
Clearly, the game had changed by the time Rodgers established himself in the league. But if Rodgers had played one third of his career in an era when quarterbacks generally threw less, he almost certainly would’ve thrown the exact same amount and dominated yardage and touchdowns and everything else, because that makes total sense and shut up.
Brady, generally regarded as a system quarterback, said earlier this week that Rodgers would dominate if he played in that system. According to ESPN’s Ian O’Connor who heard this from a coach whose name we don’t know, Brady said that if Rodgers played for the Patriots, “He’d throw for 7,000 yards every year…. He’s so much more talented than me.”
In spite of the second-hand information from an anonymous source, this is information we can absolutely trust. Because we know that Brady is often publicly humble about rival quarterbacks. For example, he once called Peyton Manning, “the greatest of all time.” And we also know he wasn’t harboring private thoughts that undermined that public statement and which he shared privately in emails with his friends that were later confiscated by the league and leaked to embarrass Brady.
No, all we know that is Aaron Rodgers has won exactly one Super Bowl, that his team is currently 3-3-1 and that defeating him is impossible.
Dave Brown is a freelance correspondent who covers the Patriots for the Monitor. You can follow him on Twitter @ThatDaveBrown.

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