A dream quarterback scenario is headed to primetime Sunday night when Tom Brady’s New England Patriots take on Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium.
It’s just the second career meeting between the two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks.
"You’ll see two of the best. Two of the best of all time," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday. "You really appreciate not only what they do on the field from a quarterback position, but really their contributions to the game of football. And what they do as men outside of the game of football.
"But if you wanted to study how to play quarterback then you need to watch that game Sunday night. Because you’re going to see all the little things. You’re going to see fundamentals. You’re going to see the at-the-line responsibility… You’re going to see everything you probably want to see out of that position. … From pure quarterback play I think this is definitely one you’ll want to watch."
To put that statement into perspective, let’s look at some career superlatives, courtesy of NFL Research:
6x Pro Bowler
2x First-Team All-Pro selection
2x AP NFL MVP
Highest passer rating in NFL history (103.6)
Highest TD-INT ratio in NFL history (326-79)
Won Super Bowl XLV (named Super Bowl MVP)
Only QB in NFL history with a 100-plus passer rating in six straight seasons
Led NFL in passing TD in 2016 (40)
Led NFL in passer rating twice (2011-12)
1 of 4 QBs with multiple seasons of 40-plus pass TD (Marino, P. Manning & Brees)
13x Pro Bowler
3x First-Team All-Pro selection
3x AP NFL MVP
Only QB in NFL history with 200-plus career NFL wins
Most Super Bowl wins (5) by QB in NFL history
Four-time Super Bowl MVP (most all-time)
8 Super Bowl appearances (2001, 2003-04, 2007, 2011, 2014, 2016-17)
Most pass yards in a single Super Bowl history (505 in Super Bowl LII)
Thrown a TD pass to 71 different players (most in NFL)
Oldest player to lead NFL in pass yards (40 years old in 2017)
3rd all-time in passing TD (504); 4th in passing yards (68,359)
2009 AP Comeback Player of the Year
» Rodgers and Brady are the only two QBs with six seasons of 30-plus pass TDs and fewer than 10 INTs in a single season in NFL history — no other player has more than three such seasons
» Rodgers and Brady are 2 of 4 QBs with four seasons of 35-plus passing TDs. Others: Drew Brees and Peyton Manning
» Brady has the second-most passing TDs in a single season (50 in 2007). Rodgers has the sixth-most pass TD in a season (45 in 2011).
» Rodgers has the highest single-season passer rating (122.5 in 2011). Brady has the fourth-highest single-season passer rating (117.2 in 2007).
» Rodgers has the best TD-INT ratio in the NFL since 1932 (4.1). Brady has the second-best TD-INT ratio in the NFL since 1932 (3.0)
By any metric, stat, accolade, or eye-test, Brady and Rodgers are two of the greatest ever to toss a pigskin.
"I think this is clearly going to be right there or maybe the best," McCarthy said of Sunday’s matchup. "Montana-John Elway is something that I was fortunate to be around ’93-’94."
On the field Sunday night, they’ll matchup for just the second time. The only other meeting came in Week 13, 2014 at Lambeau Field. Rodgers’ Packers went home victorious that night, beating the Patriots 26-21. Both QBs were sublime that night: Rodgers: 368 yards passing, 2-0 TD-INT, 112.6 passer rating; Brady: 245 yards passing, 4-0 TD-INT, 102.7 passer rating. Brady’s Patriots took the L that night but went on to win the Super Bowl.
"The irony of it is they don’t play against each other. I think we all recognize that," McCarthy noted. "But the lineup of Aaron Rodgers-Tom Brady, it’s definitely a contest I’m sure everyone is looking forward to."
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