Celebrating What Is

BaseballJones

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That line makes me want to puke. How is Tom Brady not the best super bowl Qb in history? I mean, how it even a question?
Haha I hear you. Makes me crazy too. But Francesa's reasoning is:

- Montana is 4-0. Brady is 6-3. So if you line up Brady's 4-0 with Montana's 4-0, over Brady's next five (it's astonishing that Francesa doesn't even acknowledge how frigging unbelievable it is to GET to FIVE MORE SUPER BOWLS!!!!) he's "only" 2-3. So taking away the 4-0 to match Montana, Brady has a LOSING record in Super Bowls.

- Brady's passer rating in Super Bowls is dwarfed by Montana's, which is especially upsetting because 6 of Brady's 9 appearances came with the revised, very passing-friendly rules.

Super Bowl passing lines:
Brady: 256-392 (65.3%), 2838 yds, 7.2 y/a, 18 td, 6 int, 95.6 rating
Montana: 83-122 (68.0%), 1142 yds, 9.4 y/a, 11 td, 0 int, 127.8 rating

So Francesa argues that Montana has been the better winner in Super Bowls (in his mind, 4-0 trumps 6-3), and that his stat line is much better than Brady's. So how can Brady be the better Super Bowl quarterback if he's not the better winner nor has put up better stats?

Don't misunderstand, I'm not defending Francesa. I think his arguments are weak. But....these are his arguments.
 

johnmd20

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Haha I hear you. Makes me crazy too. But Francesa's reasoning is:

- Montana is 4-0. Brady is 6-3. So if you line up Brady's 4-0 with Montana's 4-0, over Brady's next five (it's astonishing that Francesa doesn't even acknowledge how frigging unbelievable it is to GET to FIVE MORE SUPER BOWLS!!!!) he's "only" 2-3. So taking away the 4-0 to match Montana, Brady has a LOSING record in Super Bowls.

- Brady's passer rating in Super Bowls is dwarfed by Montana's, which is especially upsetting because 6 of Brady's 9 appearances came with the revised, very passing-friendly rules.

Super Bowl passing lines:
Brady: 256-392 (65.3%), 2838 yds, 7.2 y/a, 18 td, 6 int, 95.6 rating
Montana: 83-122 (68.0%), 1142 yds, 9.4 y/a, 11 td, 0 int, 127.8 rating

So Francesa argues that Montana has been the better winner in Super Bowls (in his mind, 4-0 trumps 6-3), and that his stat line is much better than Brady's. So how can Brady be the better Super Bowl quarterback if he's not the better winner nor has put up better stats?

Don't misunderstand, I'm not defending Francesa. I think his arguments are weak. But....these are his arguments.
I hear the argument. But it's obviously a poor one. Brady's made it to 9 super bowls and won 6. The conversation is over right there.
 

mwonow

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Cool note on ESPN today:

10c. Did You Know, Part II: With their win against the Rams in Super Bowl LIII, the Patriots recorded their 37th postseason victory, which passed the Steelers (36) for most in NFL history.
 

Jimbodandy

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Anyone claiming a different goat has an agenda, whether anti-Patriot, anti-Boston, contrarian, whatever. "Some people are saying" talk is a waste of everyone's time.

Simms sounds like he didn't make it past fourth grade, and he makes more sense than Francesca.

Brees has to win 3 more Super Bowls to get in the conversation, and that presumes that Brady wins no more.
 

Kliq

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I'll try my hand at this....

QB - Brady - and if not him, Brees (with another SB win), as he will likely retire with virtually every individual passing record plus two SB titles. Rodgers continues to get tons of love, and if somehow he wins another MVP and/or wins another ring....look out for the Rodgers ball washing.

RB - Barkley - though obviously a LONG way to go...but that guy is amazing.

WR - Nobody, though Antonio Brown will end up with humongous numbers.

TE - Nobody, unless Gronk returns. Gates will finish with an amazing career.

OT - Nobody

OG - Nobody

C - Nobody

*I admit to not really having any way to truly measure the ability of offensive linemen.

DE - JJ Watt - Still has something left in the tank.

DT - Donald - Except for the Super Bowl, he's been utterly dominant for years.

LB - Mack - LT is a ridiculously high bar, but Mack is special. (Mack may be more of a DE than LB though) Von Miller has also had an insanely great NFL career.

CB - Sherman - he isn't the best in the NFL right now, but when his entire career is examined, he will go down as one of the best ever. *THE* best ever? Probably not, but still....unbelievable career.

S - Nobody

K - Gostkowski - No joke. Still going very strong.

P - Nobody.
Vinateri is still kicking.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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- Brady's passer rating in Super Bowls is dwarfed by Montana's, which is especially upsetting because 6 of Brady's 9 appearances came with the revised, very passing-friendly rules.
I know you're not defending Francesca but I always hate it when people like him make this point without acknowledging that Montana played in an era during which the quality of the two conferences was historically lopsided, to the point that basically every NFC quarterback lit up his opponent in the Super Bowl during the 1984-1996 seasons (I'm pretty sure there were only two games in that span in which the NFC QB had a quarterback rating under 100). Take the combined Super Bowl stats of Jim McMahon, Phil Simms, Doug Williams, and Jeff Hofstetler and they're extremely close to those of Joe Montana.
 

BaseballJones

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I know you're not defending Francesca but I always hate it when people like him make this point without acknowledging that Montana played in an era during which the quality of the two conferences was historically lopsided, to the point that basically every NFC quarterback lit up his opponent in the Super Bowl during the 1984-1996 seasons (I'm pretty sure there were only two games in that span in which the NFC QB had a quarterback rating under 100). Take the combined Super Bowl stats of Jim McMahon, Phil Simms, Doug Williams, and Jeff Hofstetler and they're extremely close to those of Joe Montana.
That is very true, and a real point in Brady's favor. Of course, the flip side is true. We laud Brady for getting to more Super Bowls, and "criticize" Montana for not getting to more, for losing more before getting to the SB. Well, in Montana's time, the NFC was an absolute beast of a conference, featuring some of the greatest teams of all time. So it would be expected for him to lose more before getting to the Super Bowl, and in light of that, it's hard to hold it against him.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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That is very true, and a real point in Brady's favor. Of course, the flip side is true. We laud Brady for getting to more Super Bowls, and "criticize" Montana for not getting to more, for losing more before getting to the SB. Well, in Montana's time, the NFC was an absolute beast of a conference, featuring some of the greatest teams of all time. So it would be expected for him to lose more before getting to the Super Bowl, and in light of that, it's hard to hold it against him.
That is a valid point. Getting through the NFC was very tough in those years.
 

drleather2001

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And getting through the AFC in many years since 2000 has been a beast, as well. The AFC has been the dominant conference, with the Patriots, Colts/Broncos, Ravens, and Steelers winning 12 of 19 Super Bowls.
 

m0ckduck

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That is very true, and a real point in Brady's favor. Of course, the flip side is true. We laud Brady for getting to more Super Bowls, and "criticize" Montana for not getting to more, for losing more before getting to the SB. Well, in Montana's time, the NFC was an absolute beast of a conference, featuring some of the greatest teams of all time. So it would be expected for him to lose more before getting to the Super Bowl, and in light of that, it's hard to hold it against him.
Gee, it's almost like focusing on SB alone is a convenient form of cherry-picking.

Playoff stats as a whole for both:

Brady: 30-10 record (.750), 11179 yds, 279 y/g, 7.0 y/a, 73 td, 4.6 td%, 34 int, 2.1 int%, 90.5 rating
Montana: 16-7 record (.695), 5772 yrds, 251 y/g, 7.9 y/a, 45 td, 6.1td%, 21 int, 2.9%, 95.6 rating

I was surprised to see Montana throwing for nearly many yards per game. He's also slightly more interception-prone than Brady across the whole postseason. Judged by rating, he's the somewhat more efficient passer, mainly due to throwing a substantially higher % of passes for scores. Another way of looking at it is the two guys are basically on par in terms of efficiency, until you get to Montana's monstrous outlier 1989 postseason— 146.4 rating (!) across three games.

In any case, there's an argument that Montana was the better postseason QB by rate stats, but it's a pretty thin wafer to base a GOAT argument on when you consider volume (volume of games, yards, trophies, everything).
 

reggiecleveland

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This really comes down to a Belicek as Goat, since he was responsible for keeping Montana out of a more Superbowls. I am shocked some talking head has not latched onto "Montan had to play against Belicek not with him!" as an argument, but I suppose they hate Belicek as much TB.
 

BaseballJones

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This really comes down to a Belicek as Goat, since he was responsible for keeping Montana out of a more Superbowls. I am shocked some talking head has not latched onto "Montan had to play against Belicek not with him!" as an argument, but I suppose they hate Belicek as much TB.
The Giants knocked Montana out three times. The Giants knocked Brady out twice. Dammit.
 

snowmanny

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To me the Montana argument has to be center around: 1) he won a college championship (if the argument is for greatest QB, not greatest NFL QB; it’s akin to the the Kareem argument); 2) he was terrific in all his Super Bowls
(being 4/4 is a silly centerpiece argument; where are we ranking Terry Bradshaw?); 3) he led his team to two dominant seasons and postseasons (84,89); 4) it can’t possibly be Tom Brady.

“Greatest” is in the eye of the beholder and eye of beholder arguments are frustrating. On the other hand, Brady is indisputably the most accomplished quarterback of all time. Also, Brady’s list of achievements with the Patriots (which is, after all, what matters to most of us) blows away any other QB’s achievements with a single team. Finally, there is not even a close second in the Super Bowl era to the Brady-Belichick QB/Coach combination. All that is good enough for me. I mean, some fan might prefer Montana or Manning or Marino or Rodgers but would anyone actually trade Brady’s total career for the career of any one of those other guys?
 

Al Zarilla

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That is a valid point. Getting through the NFC was very tough in those years.
Once the Steelers 1970s dynasty was done (and Oakland beat Philly in XV) the NFC won 15 out of the next 16 Super Bowls. And, Montana’s 49ers were right in the middle of all that. So, NFC >>AFC for years, really, no matter who was playing QB for the NFC team. Morgan’s Magic Snowplow made this point above, just adding the conference lopsidedness here.
 

Saints Rest

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To me the Montana argument has to be center around: 1) he won a college championship (if the argument is for greatest QB, not greatest NFL QB; it’s akin to the the Kareem argument); 2) he was terrific in all his Super Bowls
(being 4/4 is a silly centerpiece argument; where are we ranking Terry Bradshaw?); 3) he led his team to two dominant seasons and postseasons (84,89); 4) it can’t possibly be Tom Brady.

“Greatest” is in the eye of the beholder and eye of beholder arguments are frustrating. On the other hand, Brady is indisputably the most accomplished quarterback of all time. Also, Brady’s list of achievements with the Patriots (which is, after all, what matters to most of us) blows away any other QB’s achievements with a single team. Finally, there is not even a close second in the Super Bowl era to the Brady-Belichick QB/Coach combination. All that is good enough for me. I mean, some fan might prefer Montana or Manning or Marino or Rodgers but would anyone actually trade Brady’s total career for the career of any one of those other guys?
An interesting way to approach it. I think the idea of "Most Accomplished Overall" would go to Brady in a heartbeat, and also "Most Accomplished in the Playoffs." But "Most Accomplished in the Regular Season" could open up the argument to Manning, Brees, and eventually, Rodgers.

But what about "Single Greatest Season"? For that, I think you would actually have the broadest competition. Brady, Manning, Rodgers, Marino, and Mahomes could all make decent cases.
 

NortheasternPJ

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An interesting way to approach it. I think the idea of "Most Accomplished Overall" would go to Brady in a heartbeat, and also "Most Accomplished in the Playoffs." But "Most Accomplished in the Regular Season" could open up the argument to Manning, Brees, and eventually, Rodgers.

But what about "Single Greatest Season"? For that, I think you would actually have the broadest competition. Brady, Manning, Rodgers, Marino, and Mahomes could all make decent cases.
Are you talking about Aaron Rodgers who's posted the following regular seasons in games he's started?:
6-10
11-5
10-5
14-1
11-5
6-3
12-4
10-6
10-6
4-3
6-9-1

The Aaron Rodgers love is baffling. I get he's great to watch and fun to watch, but if your criteria is Most Accomplished Regular Season Quarterback, he's average. He hasn't even played a playoff game since 2016. A great regular season QB should be getting a 1st round bye every year.

If Manning didn't go one and done 400 times in the playoffs, Rodgers would be up there with greatest playoff chokers, if he actually made the playoffs every year, which Manning actually did
 

BaseballJones

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I've made this point before - I know I'm not the only one of course - but whatever argument could possibly be marshaled against Brady and for someone else as the GOAT, I suppose there's some subjectivity to that. But one thing is objectively clear - Pats' homer glasses on or not - Tom Brady is the greatest WINNER in the history of the NFL. Let's put the lower bar at 80 games played (16 games * 5 seasons) so we're not dealing with guys who only played in the league a short amount of time.

Regular Season Wins
1. Brady: 207
2. P. Manning: 186
3. Favre: 186
4. Elway: 148
5. Marino: 147

Regular Season Win Percentage
1. Brady: .775
2. Lamonica: .753
3. Staubach: .733
4. Montana: .711
5. P. Manning: .685

Playoff Wins
1. Brady: 30
2. Montana: 16
3. Bradshaw: 14
4. Elway: 14
5. P. Manning: 14

Playoff Win Percentage (min 10 games)
1. Starr: .900
2. Brady: .750
3. Bradshaw: .737
4. Aikman: .733
5. Montana: .696

Super Bowl Wins
1. Brady: 6
2. Montana: 4
3. Bradshaw: 4
4. Aikman: 3

Simply put, there's never ever been a winner even close to Tom Brady's level in the history of the sport before. And as Lombardi famously said, "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing."
 

tims4wins

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Another con against Montana has to be that Steve Young took over and played nearly just as well. Not quite the playoff winning % (only 8-6), but fantastic regular season stats. Hell, if you combine Montana and Steve Young to get the total SF QB stats you still only get to a 22-11 record vs. Brady's 30-10. That is insane. It also means that in non-title seasons the Niners QBs went 7-11, whereas Brady has gone 12-10.
 

reggiecleveland

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Are you talking about Aaron Rodgers who's posted the following regular seasons in games he's started?:
6-10
11-5
10-5
14-1
11-5
6-3
12-4
10-6
10-6
4-3
6-9-1

The Aaron Rodgers love is baffling. I get he's great to watch and fun to watch, but if your criteria is Most Accomplished Regular Season Quarterback, he's average. He hasn't even played a playoff game since 2016. A great regular season QB should be getting a 1st round bye every year.

If Manning didn't go one and done 400 times in the playoffs, Rodgers would be up there with greatest playoff chokers, if he actually made the playoffs every year, which Manning actually did
Rogers replaced Manning in the "GOAT that isn't Brady" active QB discussion when Manning got hurt.
 

Dollar

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Rogers replaced Manning in the "GOAT that isn't Brady" active QB discussion when Manning got hurt.
Manning has won more Super Bowls than Rodgers since Manning got hurt, so that's crazy. Rodgers should never have been anywhere near this conversation. He had a string of a few great seasons where he was playing as well as anyone ever has, and he's been a remarkably efficient quarterback in avoiding throwing interceptions, but there's something to be said for his lack of playoff success and his constant injuries.
 
Last edited:

bakahump

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but would anyone actually trade Brady’s total career for the career of any one of those other guys?
I am with you Snowmanny. But this phrase does open up a glimmer of argument. It opens the possibility that you could take a Qbs Career numbers (Because we are treating it like a moveable block of production) and in a different scenario get different/better results.
NOT SAYING I AGREE (Bolded, Italicized and Underlined)
But I could see a hardcore Peyton Fan saying if starting a new franchise and you had the option of getting Mannings same Production Year for year from the QB position Absent of any other Team Decisions or Bradys production year for year from the QB Position Absent of any other Team Decisions. You might take Manning. Or Brees.

IOW could Manning have had a better career (Wins/SBs) in different circumstances? If everything broke right.

What if the colts had given Manning better defenses? What if in this magical scenario the colts took Manning then installed BB as coach? What if BB then gave him better defenses and rosters? What if Manning had 5 early career years with the Same quality Defense he had in Denver?

The point is there could be lots of ways people could convince themselves that "HOF QB X" in a perfect setting would have done as well or better then Brady.

Thats the head wind Brady faces. "he was in a perfect scenario" (weak div., BB, Great Ds, Kraft "Running the league", "Cheating!' Stealing HOFers like Moss and Drafting Gronk in the 2nd etc etc) "Of course he is going to succeed! Imagine what Rodgers could do!"

We would of course argue that he was often in a far from perfect scenario but haters would hate.

I Will say every year Brady continues at such an elite level kills even this pitiful argument, cause you get to the point where 17+ years of Elite Qb performance is simply too much to over look even for 12 or 13 years of even slightly better production.
 

snowmanny

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Well Patriots fans are as qualified an
arbiter of that as anyone. If you could pick any quarterback in history to step on the field after the Mo Lewis hit and begin their career as a starter, who would you pick? Peyton would be my second choice.
 

InstaFace

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Manning has won more Super Bowls than Rodgers since Manning got hurt, so that's crazy. Rodgers should never have been anywhere near this conversation. He had a string of a few great seasons where he was playing as well as anyone ever has, and he's been a remarkably efficient quarterback in avoiding throwing interceptions, but there's something to be said for his lack of playoff success and his constant injuries.
I have a picture of that something-to-be-said:

Not that it changes what he was actually able to accomplish on the field, but he had a bigger cross to bear in that regard than any of the other names in this discussion.
 

RetractableRoof

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Another con against Montana has to be that Steve Young took over and played nearly just as well. Not quite the playoff winning % (only 8-6), but fantastic regular season stats. Hell, if you combine Montana and Steve Young to get the total SF QB stats you still only get to a 22-11 record vs. Brady's 30-10. That is insane. It also means that in non-title seasons the Niners QBs went 7-11, whereas Brady has gone 12-10.
I think anyone arguing against Brady being GOAT has some sort of axe to grind, or ... well I'll leave it there.

The issue with this argument is "2008 - Matt Cassel". With no warning, he was given the keys to the Patriots offense. This is the same Matt Cassel with 33 career collegiate passing attempts. He went 10-5 for the Patriots that year.
 

InstaFace

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Why do people always say he went 10-5? The Patriots went 11-5 that year. Brady played the first quarter of that first game vs KC, 15 snaps, at which fateful point the score was 0-0. Cassel then played the remaining 45 offensive snaps of the game including the two long touchdown drives. Not crediting Cassel with the win there seems as capricious as the win stat in baseball. By any reasonable measure, his play decided the win or loss, and he more than Brady ought to get credit for it, if anyone does.
 

tims4wins

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11-5 yes. And it can both be a point in favor of BB and not a point against TB. Cake schedule and the team was coming off a 16 win season. Cassel was the definition of a game manager that year with mostly short throws. He also had pretty much prime Moss and Welker to throw to.
 

NortheasternPJ

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11-5 yes. And it can both be a point in favor of BB and not a point against TB. Cake schedule and the team was coming off a 16 win season. Cassel was the definition of a game manager that year with mostly short throws. He also had pretty much prime Moss and Welker to throw to.
11-5 would also be one of Aaron Rodgers best regular season records. Just saying.
 

RetractableRoof

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Why do people always say he went 10-5? The Patriots went 11-5 that year. Brady played the first quarter of that first game vs KC, 15 snaps, at which fateful point the score was 0-0. Cassel then played the remaining 45 offensive snaps of the game including the two long touchdown drives. Not crediting Cassel with the win there seems as capricious as the win stat in baseball. By any reasonable measure, his play decided the win or loss, and he more than Brady ought to get credit for it, if anyone does.
Only repeating what football reference lists as his official record. Take it up with them. In fairness, on a site that with as many sticklers for detail as this one, should someone state he went 11-5, they would be criticized for giving him credit for a Brady W. IMO, both sides are right on this one... officially it belongs to Brady, and it really should be credited to Cassel.

The point was: if one wants to knock Montana by saying Young was just as good in his place, it's a fair argument to respond that Cassel won 10 (or 11) games in Brady's stead in 2008. I don't think it's a good way to evaluate either QB, just trying to be balanced when thinking about the discussion.
 

BaseballJones

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Only repeating what football reference lists as his official record. Take it up with them. In fairness, on a site that with as many sticklers for detail as this one, should someone state he went 11-5, they would be criticized for giving him credit for a Brady W. IMO, both sides are right on this one... officially it belongs to Brady, and it really should be credited to Cassel.

The point was: if one wants to knock Montana by saying Young was just as good in his place, it's a fair argument to respond that Cassel won 10 (or 11) games in Brady's stead in 2008. I don't think it's a good way to evaluate either QB, just trying to be balanced when thinking about the discussion.
True, but (let's call it) 11-5 represented a *5* game drop-off from the previous year. It would be like Montana going 12-4 and Young following it up with a 7-9 record - that's the same drop-off. Cassel had an all-time great team around him, with a total cake schedule, and yes put up 11 wins, but with Brady they probably win 15, maybe 16 again.
 

snowmanny

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To me counting the 2008 season against Brady is a weaker case than counting the 1994 season against Jordan. But they are similar.
 

RetractableRoof

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True, but (let's call it) 11-5 represented a *5* game drop-off from the previous year. It would be like Montana going 12-4 and Young following it up with a 7-9 record - that's the same drop-off. Cassel had an all-time great team around him, with a total cake schedule, and yes put up 11 wins, but with Brady they probably win 15, maybe 16 again.
Or maybe Brady tweaks his thumb in the 3rd game, plays through it all year and only wins 11 games himself. Less likely - sure. I already said it's not a great way to evaluate a QB - any hypotheticals after that are a waste of time.
 

Michelle34B

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I'll try my hand at this....

QB - Brady - and if not him, Brees (with another SB win), as he will likely retire with virtually every individual passing record plus two SB titles. Rodgers continues to get tons of love, and if somehow he wins another MVP and/or wins another ring....look out for the Rodgers ball washing.

RB - Barkley - though obviously a LONG way to go...but that guy is amazing.

WR - Nobody, though Antonio Brown will end up with humongous numbers.

TE - Nobody, unless Gronk returns. Gates will finish with an amazing career.

OT - Nobody

OG - Nobody

C - Nobody

*I admit to not really having any way to truly measure the ability of offensive linemen.

DE - JJ Watt - Still has something left in the tank.

DT - Donald - Except for the Super Bowl, he's been utterly dominant for years.

LB - Mack - LT is a ridiculously high bar, but Mack is special. (Mack may be more of a DE than LB though) Von Miller has also had an insanely great NFL career.

CB - Sherman - he isn't the best in the NFL right now, but when his entire career is examined, he will go down as one of the best ever. *THE* best ever? Probably not, but still....unbelievable career.

S - Nobody

K - Gostkowski - No joke. Still going very strong.

P - Nobody.
QB Pat Mahomes
RB Saquon Barkley
FB Kyle Juszczyk
WR Michael Thomas - All-Pro last season as he led the league in receptions last year, with an unreal catch rate for a WR at 85%.

The Cowboys have it all an OL, it just depends on health.
T Tyron Smith
G Zack Martin
C Travis Frederick



K Justin Tucker
P Johnny Hekker
 
Mar 26, 2014
38
When discussing the 2008 Patriots the schedule should always be discussed. Their schedule that year wasn't just easy, it was historically easy.

In 2008 the Patriots played half of their games against the AFC West and NFC West divisions. Those two divisions went a combined 45-83 that year. That looks real bad, but you have to remember that those teams within the division play each other a lot and those games are guaranteed to give the division a .500 record in them. Remove divisional games (in which those teams are guaranteed to go 24-24) and the out-of-division record for those two divisions becomes 21-59. That's a .262 (!!) winning percentage.

The 2008 Patriots went 7-1 against those two cupcake divisions and 4-4 in all other games.
 

Michelle34B

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It’s all over for me as well. But let’s face it - you and I are Pats fans and yes that comes into play in this conversation. It shouldn’t, as in my view the gap between Brady and anyone else is Grand Canyon-esque. But understand that there are tons of people out there nationally that think differently, as hard as that is to believe.

And there will be people, should Brees retire with 2-3 championships, leading in most all of the major passing stats, who claim he has gotten there, especially if he doesn’t lose a SB (see Francesa’s “Montana has never lost a SB” logic). Now I don’t think Brees will win 2-3 more but that’s my point... IF he does, THEN this may become a conversation nationally.
Tom Brady, Johnny U, Joe Montana, and Otto Graham. If Brees wins three championships, he'll be looked at as a legendary QB with the timing, touch, and command of his offense that comes up short of Joe Montana.

One of the greatest qualities of Tom Brady is that on 4th and 1, he will get the first down. I'm not taking Montana or Brees over him on 4th and 1. 4th and 2? Maybe. :p
 

InstaFace

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I apologize to RR for seemingly criticizing him, when my beef is indeed with PF-Ref's construction of their QB Wins stats.

Anyway: Put Aaron Rodgers on the Patriots sideline instead of Brady as we watched Mo Lewis do his thing, and I'm not sure the results of the Belichick Era are all that different. Maybe a little better, maybe a little worse, but what we've witnessed has had an awful lot to do with a great defense, an all-time-great WR and then TE, (edit: let's not forget superlative special teams play every year), and a GM with exceptional roster- and cap-management skills that are comparable only to the head coach's in-game tactics and motivational abilities. Far more to do with those, I think, than with any natural gap between the two QBs' respective skills, both on-field and off. Put in Brady's place, say, Brady Quinn, and I'm sure it's a very different story of constant struggle, being a little above average, on average, but not striking gold on the field until and unless Belichick struck gold again with a QB.

But this is the world we live in, Brady got hired by Belichick and Rodgers by McCarthy. I think the only cause for a disconnect is that we saw years where Rodgers was clearly better on the field than Brady, and he has kept up an edge on rate stats (say what you will about durability, which matters), so people who aren't thinking about how different their surrounding rosters are, #2-53, might easily confuse the QBs' team success with their respective QBing abilities.

Rodgers' team got to one super bowl, ran out to a big lead, and then was able to defend it as their opponents came charging back. They got there with Rodgers having 3 awesome games (3 TDs / 0 INTs) with a stinker mixed in (0/2 in the NFCCG). Could Rodgers have pulled off a Seattle comeback, nevermind a Falcons comeback? We'll never know, but (A) two weeks prior to that Seattle comeback, his moron coach gave up a huge late lead to that same Seattle team including yielding an obvious onside kick, Rodgers somehow bailed them out to go to OT, and then... never touched the ball again as his D gave up the GW TD. Also, (B) the next year after that SB win, his 15-1 juggernaut lost the first playoff game ever lost by the home team at Lambeau, blown out by a wildcard team. Needless to say, his team has ran hot and cold and has rarely been consistent, certainly not in the last 4 seasons. I think it's just as silly to lay all of that career-long track record on him as it is to lay none of it on him.
 
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RetractableRoof

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I apologize to RR for seemingly criticizing him, when my beef is indeed with PF-Ref's construction of their QB Wins stats.

Anyway: Put Aaron Rodgers on the Patriots sideline instead of Brady as we watched Mo Lewis do his thing, and I'm not sure the results of the Belichick Era are all that different. Maybe a little better, maybe a little worse, but what we've witnessed has had an awful lot to do with a great defense, an all-time-great WR and then TE, and a GM with roster- and cap-management skills that are comparable only to the head coach's in-game tactics and motivational abilities. Far more to do with those, I think, than with any natural gap between the two QBs' respective skills, both on-field and off. Put in Brady's place, say, Brady Quinn, and I'm sure it's a very different story of constant struggle, being a little above average, on average, but not striking gold on the field until and unless Belichick struck gold again with a QB.

But this is the world we live in, Brady got hired by Belichick and Rodgers by McCarthy. I think the only cause for a disconnect is that we saw years where Rodgers was clearly better on the field than Brady, and he has kept up an edge on rate stats (say what you will about durability, which matters), so people who aren't thinking about how different their surrounding rosters are, #2-53, might easily confuse the QBs' team success with their respective QBing abilities.

Rodgers' team got to one super bowl, ran out to a big lead, and then was able to defend it as their opponents came charging back. They got there with Rodgers having 3 awesome games (3 TDs / 0 INTs) with a stinker mixed in (0/2 in the NFCCG). Could Rodgers have pulled off a Seattle comeback, nevermind a Falcons comeback? We'll never know, but (A) two weeks prior to that Seattle comeback, his moron coach gave up a huge late lead to that same Seattle team including yielding an obvious onside kick, Rodgers somehow bailed them out to go to OT, and then... never touched the ball again as his D gave up the GW TD. Also, (B) the next year after that SB win, his 15-1 juggernaut lost the first playoff game ever lost by the home team at Lambeau, blown out by a wildcard team. Needless to say, his team has ran hot and cold and has rarely been consistent, certainly not in the last 4 seasons. I think it's just as silly to lay all of that career-long track record on him as it is to lay none of it on him.
No worries on the question, I agree with you on it FWIW.

Quality thoughts on Rogers.

I think my only beef with him is that he seems more inconsistent than Brady. I'd say it was most likely a function of him trying to do the impossible (which he has clearly shown he can do). If Rogers is more consistent early in a game, maybe he doesn't have to make the miracle throw late in the game. It's good entertainment, but is he digging himself out of a hole he's created? Brady stays within himself a bit more, I'd give him credit for patience in that way. In the end I think if swapped, the fans in both cities would still be happy. If I have to choose a player to build a franchise with from the beginning of their respective careers I think I'm still choosing Brady for the Patriots.
 

Super Nomario

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Let me preface this by saying I agree with the main thrust of your point, which is that the team success of the Patriots oversells the difference between Brady and Rodgers. By rings you'd think Brady was six times the QB A-a-ron is, but in reality he's no more than twice the QB.

But this is the world we live in, Brady got hired by Belichick and Rodgers by McCarthy. I think the only cause for a disconnect is that we saw years where Rodgers was clearly better on the field than Brady, and he has kept up an edge on rate stats (say what you will about durability, which matters), so people who aren't thinking about how different their surrounding rosters are, #2-53, might easily confuse the QBs' team success with their respective QBing abilities.
I don't really agree with the bolded to be honest. 2011, sure, is better than anything Brady has done apart from 2007. But the Patriots put up 500 points every year from 2010-2012, something Rodgers has only done once (in that 2011 campaign). Brady won MVP in 2010. And Rodgers arguably hasn't been better than Brady in any season in the last five years.

I agree it's important to not conflate team success with QB ability, but I think it's important to recognize QB stats aren't solely dependent on the QB, either. Brady had his best year with prime Moss and most of his other best production with Gronk. Similarly, Rodgers had his best season with Jennings and Jordy in their prime. He fell off a little when Jennings did and a lot when Jordy got hurt in 2015. Like most quarterbacks, he's better when his supporting cast is really good and worse when it isn't. Neither extreme is really representative of his "true" talent level.

McCarthy hasn't adapted as the game has, but he was a good offensive mind early on, putting together a top-five offense in 2007 before Rodgers took over for Favre. He got stale, it happens. That doesn't mean he's held back Rodgers' entire career.

Could Rodgers have pulled off a Seattle comeback, nevermind a Falcons comeback? We'll never know, but (A) two weeks prior to that Seattle comeback, his moron coach gave up a huge late lead to that same Seattle team including yielding an obvious onside kick, Rodgers somehow bailed them out to go to OT, and then... never touched the ball again as his D gave up the GW TD.
Rodgers was awful in that game, though. His D picked off Wilson five times. Three of their scoring drives started in Seattle territory and went less than 25 yards, and the only TD drive went just 56. Rodgers threw for 178 yards on 34 attempts and was picked twice.
 

Al Zarilla

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I think Brady’s leadership qualities are overlooked some. His teammates do seem willing to run through a brick wall for him, the old saw that’s used a lot. Hard to quantify, FBREF doesn’t have a stat for it, but I believe he is way up there in all time team leaders. Future hall of famers that have thrown teammates under the bus are Peyton and Big Ben. Tom? Don’t remember any instances.
 

BaseballJones

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On three occasions Brady and Rodgers played the same team in the same playoffs. Now, New England got these three teams at neutral sites (Super Bowls) while Green Bay got one home game and two road games, so that may all factor in. That said, here's their respective numbers:

2011 season - NY Giants
Rodgers (H): L, 37-20, 26-46 (56.5%), 264 yds, 2 td, 1 int, 78.5 rating
Brady (N): L, 21-17, 27-41 (65.9%), 276 yds, 2 td, 1 int, 91.1 rating

2014 season - Seattle
Rodgers (R): L, 28-22, 19-34 (55.9%), 178 yds, 1 td, 2 int, 55.8 rating
Brady (N): W, 28-24, 37-50 (74.0%), 328 yds, 4 td, 2 int, 101.1 rating

2016 season - Atlanta
Rodgers (R): L, 44-21, 27-45 (60.0%), 287 yds, 3 td, 1 int, 91.6 rating
Brady (N): W, 34-28, 43-62 (69.4%), 466 yds, 2 td, 1 int, 95.2 rating

In these three games, Rodgers put up 63 points (21.0 per game) while going 0-3. Brady put up 79 points (26.3 per game) while going 2-1. Their respective combined passing lines:

Rodgers: 72-125 (57.6%), 729 yds, 5.8 y/a, 6 td, 4 int, 77.1 rating
Brady: 107-153 (69.9%), 1,070 yds, 7.0 y/a, 8 td, 4 int, 96.0 rating

Not quite apples to apples because of the difference in venues, but going up against the same defenses, Brady had FAR more success than Rodgers against common playoff opponents.
 

Seels

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Could Rodgers have pulled off a Seattle comeback, nevermind a Falcons comeback? We'll never know,
But we do know. Rodgers was dogshit against both those teams in the championship game just two weeks earlier. Rodgers is the main reason his team lost. He had the opportunities to come back.

I hate the narrative that Rodgers hasn't had the opportunities Brady has had. He has. His style of offense leaves it much more open to not using the clock and much more taxing on a defense. Rodgers is a good QB, but stats make him seem a lot better than he is.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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But we do know. Rodgers was dogshit against both those teams in the championship game just two weeks earlier. Rodgers is the main reason his team lost. He had the opportunities to come back.

I hate the narrative that Rodgers hasn't had the opportunities Brady has had. He has. His style of offense leaves it much more open to not using the clock and much more taxing on a defense. Rodgers is a good QB, but stats make him seem a lot better than he is.
Dogshit is pretty harsh regarding the Atlanta game. GB fell behind 24-0 in the first half largely because their defense gave up 312 yards and 24 points on only five Falcons drives, none of which started with short fields, and on offense they missed an easy FG and some scrub fumbled on the ATL 11 yard line. The defense then gave up 75 yard TD drives on the first two possessions of the second half and followed that up with a 32 yard TD drive (after a failed onside kick) on the next possession. Through a little over three quarters, Atlanta had eight drives and put up 494 yards and 44 points.

Rodgers wasn't great but Tom Brady doesn't win that game either with a defense playing like that.
 

Super Nomario

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Dogshit is pretty harsh regarding the Atlanta game. GB fell behind 24-0 in the first half largely because their defense gave up 312 yards and 24 points on only five Falcons drives, none of which started with short fields, and on offense they missed an easy FG and some scrub fumbled on the ATL 11 yard line. The defense then gave up 75 yard TD drives on the first two possessions of the second half and followed that up with a 32 yard TD drive (after a failed onside kick) on the next possession. Through a little over three quarters, Atlanta had eight drives and put up 494 yards and 44 points.

Rodgers wasn't great but Tom Brady doesn't win that game either with a defense playing like that.
Yeah, I remember looking at that game once and thinking it was pretty similar to the Super Bowl except the Pats' D stiffened up in the second half and Green Bay's didn't. Rodgers' playoff resume has a lot of bad luck / bad defense on it. I do think his regular season record is a little overrated.
 

InstaFace

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when Rodgers' passer rating "through every QB's first N games" is the highest of all time for nearly every N that he has yet reached, and yet his regular-season record as a starter (100-57, 64%) is "in the top group of peers, but not exceptional among them", what else could we ascribe the difference to other than the rest of his team's performance? He plays the most important position, but there's 21 other players on the field too.

And I mean that seriously - how can we disaggregate that? Should we just be looking at variance within the individual games' passer ratings or QBRs? Should we opponent-adjust that? What about if his team falls behind and he becomes correspondingly more aggressive, and his rate stats suffer (as he should, and as they should), do we penalize him for it? There's way too many layers, and never enough sample size.

Could you have a greatest-of-all-time QB contender on a team with bad coaching, or are great QBs only found on great teams? I'd like to think we have the tools to say "yes" to the former. But so many people seem to throw around win/loss record (or, worse, playoff wins) as some dispositive proof of a QB's abilities, as if they're the only protagonists, and everyone else on the field is just some fluff to give them room to do their thing.

At some point, assessing Rodgers all becomes qualitative impressions. Arm strength, accuracy at short/medium/long throws, ability to misdirect a defense, adjustments at the line, touch on his passes to get the most out of them, toughness and focus under pressure, etc. His team's performance the last 5 years has not kept pace with the 2009-2013 vintage, but the stats don't really tell a consistent story. Doesn't it say a lot that he was able to put up a 104 passer rating, and lead the league in TDs, in a season (2016) when his team went 10-6 with a Pyth of 9-7? Then again, what else does it say that he finished 6th in DYAR that year, albeit only slightly behind 3rd? He was leading the league in DVOA as recently as 2014, but the following year was negative in DVOA. Was it he who changed, was it the rest of the team / coach, or was there never a change, just our perceptions? I honestly have no idea how to approach that.
 

NortheasternPJ

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when Rodgers' passer rating "through every QB's first N games" is the highest of all time for nearly every N that he has yet reached, and yet his regular-season record as a starter (100-57, 64%) is "in the top group of peers, but not exceptional among them", what else could we ascribe the difference to other than the rest of his team's performance? He plays the most important position, but there's 21 other players on the field too.

And I mean that seriously - how can we disaggregate that? Should we just be looking at variance within the individual games' passer ratings or QBRs? Should we opponent-adjust that? What about if his team falls behind and he becomes correspondingly more aggressive, and his rate stats suffer (as he should, and as they should), do we penalize him for it? There's way too many layers, and never enough sample size.

Could you have a greatest-of-all-time QB contender on a team with bad coaching, or are great QBs only found on great teams? I'd like to think we have the tools to say "yes" to the former. But so many people seem to throw around win/loss record (or, worse, playoff wins) as some dispositive proof of a QB's abilities, as if they're the only protagonists, and everyone else on the field is just some fluff to give them room to do their thing.

At some point, assessing Rodgers all becomes qualitative impressions. Arm strength, accuracy at short/medium/long throws, ability to misdirect a defense, adjustments at the line, touch on his passes to get the most out of them, toughness and focus under pressure, etc. His team's performance the last 5 years has not kept pace with the 2009-2013 vintage, but the stats don't really tell a consistent story. Doesn't it say a lot that he was able to put up a 104 passer rating, and lead the league in TDs, in a season (2016) when his team went 10-6 with a Pyth of 9-7? Then again, what else does it say that he finished 6th in DYAR that year, albeit only slightly behind 3rd? He was leading the league in DVOA as recently as 2014, but the following year was negative in DVOA. Was it he who changed, was it the rest of the team / coach, or was there never a change, just our perceptions? I honestly have no idea how to approach that.
Isn’t this post the entire problem with football stats? There’s no real way to measure it that factors everything in.
 

RetractableRoof

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when Rodgers' passer rating "through every QB's first N games" is the highest of all time for nearly every N that he has yet reached, and yet his regular-season record as a starter (100-57, 64%) is "in the top group of peers, but not exceptional among them", what else could we ascribe the difference to other than the rest of his team's performance? He plays the most important position, but there's 21 other players on the field too.

And I mean that seriously - how can we disaggregate that? Should we just be looking at variance within the individual games' passer ratings or QBRs? Should we opponent-adjust that? What about if his team falls behind and he becomes correspondingly more aggressive, and his rate stats suffer (as he should, and as they should), do we penalize him for it? There's way too many layers, and never enough sample size.

Could you have a greatest-of-all-time QB contender on a team with bad coaching, or are great QBs only found on great teams? I'd like to think we have the tools to say "yes" to the former. But so many people seem to throw around win/loss record (or, worse, playoff wins) as some dispositive proof of a QB's abilities, as if they're the only protagonists, and everyone else on the field is just some fluff to give them room to do their thing.

At some point, assessing Rodgers all becomes qualitative impressions. Arm strength, accuracy at short/medium/long throws, ability to misdirect a defense, adjustments at the line, touch on his passes to get the most out of them, toughness and focus under pressure, etc. His team's performance the last 5 years has not kept pace with the 2009-2013 vintage, but the stats don't really tell a consistent story. Doesn't it say a lot that he was able to put up a 104 passer rating, and lead the league in TDs, in a season (2016) when his team went 10-6 with a Pyth of 9-7? Then again, what else does it say that he finished 6th in DYAR that year, albeit only slightly behind 3rd? He was leading the league in DVOA as recently as 2014, but the following year was negative in DVOA. Was it he who changed, was it the rest of the team / coach, or was there never a change, just our perceptions? I honestly have no idea how to approach that.
Some really good points/questions there - which I'm not capable of/qualified to answer.

Some questions posed back at you (and others obviously). In a team game - at what level DO we value winning? Is Jim Kelly a joke for losing 4 consecutive SBs or is he incredible for getting to 4 consecutive SBs? One could argue that if he could kick field goals himself, or if his coaching had adapted a bit better for the SB games he might be a multiple SB winner and in any conversation about being the GOAT. But his name is barely mentioned in the great QB conversations - I'm as guilty as anyone of that. Warren Moon in a parallel universe might just be the GOAT. What of other contributions to winning: At what level do we value game management? Studying film? Taking care of their body and mind (mental acuity exercises, etc), should this include playing smart to stay on the field? Being a respected/liked player in the locker room or the training room? Eating more avocados? OK, maybe not the last one. All these things contribute to winning, but are in no way represented by specific stats - similar to the on field ones mentioned above that represent some of Rogers (and also some of Brady's) strengths.

I admit that I am biased based by watching the local team for the past couple of decades, so given that:
At some point, any summation of a QBs body of work has to include the success of the team he plays for. There are games that Montana, Fouts, Marino, Brady, Manning and many other GREAT QBs won that 99% of their peers would not have been able to - certainly not consistently. Difference making plays and sequences come in many flavors - the great ones consistently give their team advantages that increase their chance to win. That free first down due to a cadence change at the line with time slipping away. That miracle throw down the sideline that no other QB could have completed. Leading the receiver perfectly in stride with a throw to maximize the YAC - or conversely putting the ball 4 inches off the turf so that only your receiver has a chance to bring it in. That read of the defense, and calling an audible to the game winning play because they remembered the defensive coordinator ran a similar blitz 4 years ago in game 2. The ability to command the huddle with a joke or a swagger when down 6 points with under a minute left on the clock. When the other team takes a ridiculous gamble because they fear giving the ball back to the great QB late in the game. Any number of plays that the Tony Romo's of the league don't get done consistently, or when under significant pressure - no matter the incredible physical talent they possess.

None of this is anything that we don't all see. But it represents things that aren't specifically or easily collected or extracted that QBs do (or don't) bring to their teams. And in my opinion if the QB was (or is often) the difference in a W or L, then there has to be some value in the counting the Ws they do produce or contribute to. It isn't a knock on a great QB that his offensive line was decimated and no human QB could have produced wins for that team in that year. But conversely trying to ignore team success when evaluating QBs does seem to detract from or marginalize the QBs who have been successful in whatever opportunities they have had in front of them. In the absence of a mythical "QB influence on team success" stat that is accurately capturing every contribution they make on and off the field, trying to disagregate the QB totally from the team success simply swings the argument to a different set of incomplete metrics - perhaps valuing a different player over another. Until someone smarter than I (low bar, eh?) can figure out how to distill the perfect QB rating or comparison, I think there has to be some acknowledgement or value given to team success.

Fake edit: I've culled quite a bit of verbiage from this reply... and probably should have done more.
 

Super Nomario

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when Rodgers' passer rating "through every QB's first N games" is the highest of all time for nearly every N that he has yet reached, and yet his regular-season record as a starter (100-57, 64%) is "in the top group of peers, but not exceptional among them", what else could we ascribe the difference to other than the rest of his team's performance? He plays the most important position, but there's 21 other players on the field too.
Two things: 1) Passer rating is not really an individual statistic, either (nor is any passing stat). Rodgers isn't throwing to himself, nor blocking for himself. It is reflective of 10 other players on offense in addition to Rodgers. 2) To answer your (rhetorical?) question, we can also perhaps infer that passer rating is not a perfect statistic that does not necessarily correlate very well with scoring and winning.

His team's performance the last 5 years has not kept pace with the 2009-2013 vintage, but the stats don't really tell a consistent story.
The "Rodgers-as-GOAT" argument is essentially predicated on his statistical dominance, so I think the fact that his numbers have not been especially great or consistent in the past five years--representing nearly half his career--is a pretty big blow to the idea that he's on the Brady / Manning level as a quarterback.

Doesn't it say a lot that he was able to put up a 104 passer rating, and lead the league in TDs, in a season (2016) when his team went 10-6 with a Pyth of 9-7? Then again, what else does it say that he finished 6th in DYAR that year, albeit only slightly behind 3rd?
It almost seems like you're more impressed with putting up these numbers on a meh team than you would if he'd put them up on a really good team.

He was leading the league in DVOA as recently as 2014, but the following year was negative in DVOA. Was it he who changed, was it the rest of the team / coach, or was there never a change, just our perceptions? I honestly have no idea how to approach that.
The obvious thing that happened was Jordy Nelson got hurt. Nelson was second in the NFL in DYAR in 2014 and then missed all of 2015. In 2016 he was back, not quite as good, but finished 3rd in DYAR again and Rodgers bounced back. Then Rodgers got hurt in 2017 (and Nelson's numbers took a dive) and Nelson was gone in 2018 (and he actually bounced back some in Oakland).

Correlation isn't causation, and whatever impact Nelson had, I don't know that it's fair to hold it against Rodgers--Brady, Manning, Montana, etc. had some fine receivers, too--but I think one of the things that happens here is anchoring bias. Rodgers was at his best early in his starting career, so many assume that's his real talent level and what's happened over the past half-decade isn't his fault. OTOH, Jared Goff was terrible as a rookie (when he had an absolute garbage supporting cast) and then much better since (with McVay and far different, far better pieces around him), so you still hear people say that he's really not good and he's made by McVay / his supporting cast. Brady had his worst seasons early in his career (when his supporting cast was worst), and improved statistically as his teammates did; that seems to be the driver behind people thinking (preposterously) that any number of QBs could do what he's done. It seems to me that all quarterback performance fluctuates with supporting cast, but the public perceives that fluctuation differently based on the "anchored" assessment they started with. TL;DR: Rodgers isn't as bad as he looked in 2015, but he was never as good as he looked in 2011 either.
 
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Euclis20

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Brady has been statistically superior over the last 4 years, in any stat you can think of other than interceptions (Brady has 5 more picks, in 5 more games)

Rodgers: 112 TDs, 14,366 yards, 63.2% completion, 7.72 AY/A, 98.2 QB rating
Brady: 125 TDs, 17,256 yards, 65.8% completion, 8.38 AY/A, 103.1 QB rating

This is in stark contrast to 2011-2014, where Rodgers was statistically the best in the league and had solidly better numbers than Brady. Public perception is just slow to catch up.

I do like the NFL top 100 list, where the players vote on who the best players are. That group has already made up their minds on this topic. Here are the ratings for Rodgers and Brady since the rankings began in 2011:

2011: Brady 1, Rodgers 11
2012: Rodgers 1, Brady 4
2013: Brady 4, Rodgers 6
2014: Brady 3, Rodgers 11
2015: Rodgers 2, Brady 3
2016: Brady 2, Rodgers 6
2017: Brady 1, Rodgers 6
2018: Brady 1, Rodgers 10

Average rank: Brady 2.4 and Rodgers 6.6, with Brady being ranked higher in 6/8 seasons. I think that's about right.