Has the Rodgers vs. Brady Debate Changed?

Tom Brady is a cheater.  We've known this for some time, at least most of us have.  While some don't care that he "likely had knowledge" that the footballs in the AFC championship game were less inflated than NFL rules permit, the fact remains that Brady knew a rule was being broken.  Brady likes his footballs with slightly less air so he can grip easier and therefore make many of his throws easier as well.  The NFL found out about it and also learned that Brady withheld information that would have confirmed it sooner.

So what does that do to the current argument of Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers as the best quarterback in the game right now?  Rodgers, as far as we know, has never attempted to cheat or break a league rule to gain an unfair advantage.  We don't know these guys as people and they could both be raging jerks off the field (Brady certainly can be one, as I learned from a close colleague who had an interaction with him).  But we're talking about the guys on the field.  Both are arguably the best passers in the game.  Peyton Manning is still looming and playing well, but he's not nearly as effective as he once was before a neck injury cost him an entire season.  Andrew Luck is emerging as a top quarterback, but has a ways to go.  Russell Wilson has appeared in two straight Super Bowls, winning one and is also a name that must be mentioned.  What about Big Ben?  Well, when it all is said and done, it seems to still be Brady or Rodgers as one and two.

So given Brady's upheld suspension of four games yesterday, what does that do to your take on which quarterback is better?  A lot?  Nothing?  Not enough to change your previous stance?  Are Brady's four Super Bowl wins over Rodgers' one enough to keep him ahead, despite his infraction?  This is an argument that will never be settled easily and won't be short on opinions either.  Back in 2006, the Patriots, also with Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, were found to be video taping opposing coaches in an attempt to steal signals from the sideline.  This isn't the first time this team has tried to gain an unfair advantage.  Belichick certainly seems to live by the motto that "if you're not cheating, you're not trying".  This latest infringement only further stamps the label on the New England Patriots organization as one to keep an eye on at all times.  

The other question is whether Rodgers has done enough to surpass Brady?  Rodgers is 31 years old, Brady is 37.  Rodgers has more of his prime years ahead of him while we can expect to see Brady at least begin to decline soon.  Rodgers could have at least one more championship to his name, possibly two.  It's a team sport so the quarterback, while vital in getting his team to the Super Bowl, is not solely responsible for winning it.  But still, fans attach championships to quarterbacks when arguing who's best.  It's one of the only reasons Eli Manning's name gets mentioned outside of New York City.  Brady has more stats than Rodgers because he's been playing longer.  Rodgers has only two seasons with double-digit interception totals while Brady has several others.  A good thing, but is it enough?

We've seen players who are aging try various ways to gain an advantage.  Steroids, performing-enhancing drugs of other kinds and. . under inflating footballs.  Maybe Brady has been doing that since his days at Michigan.  Regardless, he's established a pattern of disregard for the rules of the game and therefore, he's much less to me than he previously was.  I made the trek all the way to Green Bay to watch Brady and Rodgers do battle last November.  Sure I wanted to see the Packers first and foremost, but I also wanted a chance to see Brady, one of the best in the game and arguably, ever.  If that game were now, I'm not sure I'd choose that one to see.  

Like I said, we don't know everything that goes on behind closed doors in Green Bay and during Packers games, but it sure seems like Rodgers belongs atop the quarterback list in the NFL right now.  The players agreed and ranked him the top passer in their recently released top 100 players of 2015.  The media agreed and awarded him the MVP award, his second, in 2014.  He's by far the most important Packers player on the roster and possibly on any team in Wisconsin right now.  Here's a salute to the best #12 and the right #12.  He does it the right way.

 

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (24)

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Since'61's picture

July 29, 2015 at 03:52 pm

Rodgers is the better player. He is more mobile and can extend plays better than Brady (make that Shady) ever has. In surveys of NFL GMs Rodgers has been the #1 player NFL GMs would choose to start their team when age is not factor. With age as a factor the NFL GMs have been leaning towards Andrew Luck. Shady may be one of the best of all time but he is hurting his legacy with this deflate gate stupidity. He should have admitted he cheated took his suspension and moved on. Now his 4 game suspension has been upheld because of his failure to cooperate with an in game investigation. This is part of the CBA which the players agreed to. If he continues to fight this he will only hurt his legacy further. He may get an injunction on the suspension but that will only delay the inevitable. Another big difference between Shady and Rodgers is that Brady, like his coach (Belicheat)and owner, has become very arrogant and believes that he is bigger than the league. I'm no fan of Goodell but I hope that he stands his ground on this one. Glad we have Rodgers instead of Tom Shady. Thanks, Since '61

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Tarynfor12's picture

July 29, 2015 at 04:21 pm

Deciding who is the better or best QB in the NFL is an endless debate with too many tentacles of information that can be used for both sides.SB victories simply shuts the door if based on that alone.

I believe Rodgers is the better QB over all than Brady but unless Rodgers acquires more SB victories he will not legitimately be considered as the best much less one of the best based on that stat alone.

The other point I wish to make is the taking away from Brady any credit earned via his play over the years on the field because of deflate-gate needs a yellow flag.Caution should be taken since Rodgers said he prefers his footballs to have more air in them,which would also be against the rules if those he uses are found to be over inflated and subject to the same ridicule and accusations being thrown at Brady and thus questioning Rodgers play as being achieved by cheating.

Under inflated or over inflated would have the same competitive advantage equally for the QB's preference.

To those who would declare that a football missing an iota of air in question is responsible for all of Brady's years of success and actual play on the field....take a breath and get real.

Did Brady authorize the deflation...IDK...is he likely guilty of using them after knowing they were deflated...likely...did he cover up the issue and possible destroy his phone under that premise...probably...does it mean he has cheated his whole career....ridiculous....is the 4 game suspension justified....no....unless he broke his phone while punching a woman in the face with it etc. :)

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LeagueObsrvr's picture

July 29, 2015 at 04:40 pm

So true. I don't get all the vitriol over this. How much can the p.s.i. of a football really impact the overall performance of a quarterback??? And I don't think they even bothered to take into account the impact of changing atmospheric conditions on a football during the course of a game.

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Since'61's picture

July 29, 2015 at 04:54 pm

League Observer - the suspension is not just about the footballs. It's about Brady not cooperating with the league investigation and destroying his cell phone with the evidence that the league requested to review. That's why he got 4 games. He probably would have had a 2 game suspension and been done with had he cooperated with the league. Thanks, Since '61

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JerseyAl's picture

July 29, 2015 at 06:53 pm

It's also about Brady laughing it off like he can do what he wants - typical Brady smugness. He acted like he's above the league rules and the NFL Brass couldn't just let it go and still be taken seriously.

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Since'61's picture

July 29, 2015 at 07:31 pm

Al - good point. I agree completely. Thanks, Since '61

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Spud Rapids's picture

July 30, 2015 at 11:22 am

"Under inflated or over inflated would have the same competitive advantage equally for the QB's preference."

Disagree with this... Try grabbing a football and holding onto it when it's under inflated versus a fully inflated ball. Hold it like a running back and have someone come and punch the ball attempting to dislodge it. It'll be 10 times easier to lose your hold on the fully inflated ball. That is more of an advantage.

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4thand1's picture

July 29, 2015 at 04:33 pm

Is the 4 game suspension justified? I think so. If you allow one rule to be broken, it'll open Pandora's box. Thanks to the seachickens most ridiculous play calling ever, Brady & the Patriots would have lost their 3rd SB.

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Since'61's picture

July 29, 2015 at 04:50 pm

4th and 1 - I agree, but Brady could have had his suspension reduced if he cooperated with the league investigation. Goodell's report indicates that Brady's suspension is not only due to deflatgate but due to the fact that Brady did not cooperate with the league investigation and that he destroyed his cell phone with evidence that the league wanted to review. Those are the circumstances that the league stated for justifying the 4 game suspension. Fortunately this has no impact on the Packers. Thanks, Since '61

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4thand1's picture

July 29, 2015 at 05:17 pm

Isn't there a way to access cell phone data if someone destroys a phone? Is that only if its a criminal case?

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JerseyAl's picture

July 29, 2015 at 07:01 pm

only if some app was being used to backup the data somewhere. Phone records can show who was called or texted, but not the content of those messages. If the phone were found, even if damaged, good chance the data could be retrieved.

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NewNikeShoes's picture

July 29, 2015 at 10:36 pm

There is, but there is 1 problem:
it can only be done if the judge decides it is needed, basically issuing a warrant. its the same as a judge giving the police a warrant to search the house.

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MarkinMadison's picture

July 30, 2015 at 07:37 am

Getting cell phone records is tough. The phone providers will not genearlly cooperate without a warrant. Even then, I'm not sure how long the phone providers maintain text records, but it is not long.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 29, 2015 at 09:03 pm

I agree that it is justified. He probably broke the rules. Bad for the integrity of the game. He destroyed his phone the day he was supposed to meet with NFL investigators. He said that he routinely destroys his phones every 4 months or so to protect his privacy (hackers are a problem), but then we learn that he did not break the phone before that. Taryn's post noting that a 4 game suspension seems questionable since Brady didn't hit any women with a deflated ball or with his broken phone is reasonable, but it goes to the consistency of the NFL's penalties rather than whether Brady should be suspended for 4 games.

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Icebowler's picture

July 29, 2015 at 09:09 pm

It really irks me that NE apologists argue that Rodgers is in the same category as Brady because he likes the balls inflated to the max. They totally ignore the fact that Brady's footballs were tampered with "after" the referee's inspection. That was never the case with Packer footballs.

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Clay Zombo's picture

July 29, 2015 at 11:56 pm

Nothing changes for me, Brady is a great QB but he benefits from having Bill Belichick I think. BB took Matt Cassell and won 11 games when Brady tore his ACL and GB could barely win 2 out of 7 without Rodgers. Still gotta say Brady at this point for all the wins, not just SBs

Im not 100% sure Brady and the Patriots are guilty of deflating balls after the Refs ok them for play but they sure look guilty. Balls in the bathroom, "The Deflator", breaking ones cellphone when an investigation is ongoing. More probable than not is a good way to phrase it as the proof is lacking but past transgressions make it easier to believe they would have the gall to do it. So it is what it is.

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Chad Lundberg's picture

July 30, 2015 at 12:57 am

This whole thing was a bunch of phoney bologna created and perpetrated by the media just to create a huge story and gain ratings. I'd bet my left arm on it. And even if Brady and the Patriots DID actually do something wrong, there's no doubt the whole league tries to cheat. They were just the ones caught with their pants down.

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Nick Perry's picture

July 30, 2015 at 05:55 am

Again, and again, and again.

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Chad Lundberg's picture

July 31, 2015 at 09:10 pm

How many times has Tom Brady been caught cheating? Spygate doesn't count, especially because that TOO was a bunch of phoney bull!

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Evan's picture

July 30, 2015 at 07:30 am

"... there's no doubt the whole league tries to cheat. They were just the ones caught with their pants down."

So, your solution is to punish no one?

That's how life works. 90% of the drivers in the world are speeding, but you got caught and you get the ticket.

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Chad Lundberg's picture

July 31, 2015 at 09:11 pm

If it was by chance, that would be one thing. But the media sees an easy target on Brady because it's easy to make the public believe it.

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gr7070's picture

July 30, 2015 at 07:14 am

This isn't even an actual debate.

While Brady is without question an absolute great, he is not, today consisted one of the best few QBs in the game.

He was around 6th best last year per Football Outsiders, and was 11th best on their rate Stat to Rodgers 6th in 2013. He's projected for 2015 as 24th in nF fantasy football to Rodgers 1st - yeah I know it's fantasy and only 12 games vs 16 but it's a huge disparity regardless and the best place for mathematics projection.

This isn't even a debate.

Brady is one of few greatest ever, but past his prime and Rodgers is the best QB today. It's simple and those two facts shouldn't be confused with each other.

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egbertsouse's picture

July 30, 2015 at 07:56 am

Brady will never serve one minute of suspension. By hearing the appeal of his own decision Goodell has tainted the outcome and Brady will get a judge to overturn it, sort of like the decision in Adrian Beaterson's case. That way Rog has his cake and eats it too. He looks tough but he doesn't lose revenue because his big star is sitting at home.

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The TKstinator's picture

July 31, 2015 at 10:03 pm

Most hated NFL team?
Patriots? Definitely in the discussion, and can't help Brady's evaluation.

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