Aaron Roders Tom Brady
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Green Bay Packers stud Aaron Rodgers headline NFL Week 9 while pushing G.O.A.T. talk. 

It’s impossible to watch Aaron Rodgers play quarterback and not be amazed. Rodgers is the greatest quarterback talent to ever play in the NFL.

He currently owns the highest passer rating in NFL history (103.6) and the best touchdown-to-interception ratio (4.13) ever. His mobility, ball placement, arm strength, and accuracy make him the greatest thrower of the football I’ve ever seen.

However, he’s not the greatest of all time.

That title belongs to the other No. 12, Tom Brady. Rodgers is by far more talented, but Brady is more accomplished.

Ahead of their epic showdown this week, the debate between who is better has dominated the headlines. Sunday’s matchup will be only the second time in their storied careers that they face off against one another.

Their only matchup came back in 2014 when the Green Bay Packers defeated the New England Patriots 26-21 at Lambeau Field.

The comparison between Brady and Rodgers reminds me of another famous sports debate. For years, NBA fans debated who is better Kobe Bryant or LeBron James. Bryant has the championships, and the intangibles, much like Brady does. However, James is more physically gifted and dominant, but not as accomplished, much like Rodgers is.

Similar to James/Bryant, we’ve never seen Brady/Rodgers face off on the biggest stage: the Super Bowl. The year after the Packers won the Super Bowl, they went 15-1. It appeared the Packers and Patriots were on a collision course, giving us the opportunity to see the battle of the twelves.

However, the New York Giants had other plans that year. They routed the Packers 37-20, on their way to knocking off the Patriots in the Super Bowl for the second time in four years.

Twenty-fourteen was another golden opportunity for Brady and Rodgers to have that epic clash that was in the playoffs. The Packers were a little over five minutes away from punching their ticket to Super Bowl 49. That was until they collapsed, blowing a 19-7 lead before ultimately losing to the Seattle Seahawks in overtime. The Patriots went on to defeat the Indianapolis Colts in the infamous “Deflategate” game and advanced to the Super Bowl where they defeated Russell Wilson and the Legion of Boom 28-24, securing Brady’s fourth Super Bowl victory.

In the end, this debate comes down to Super Bowls. Rodgers has appeared in just one Super Bowl, and to his credit, he came out victorious.

However, that was then. This is now.

Brady has appeared in eight Super Bowls overall and won five of them. Since 2011 (the year Rodgers won the Super Bowl), Brady has been to four and won two of them. He would have won last year’s Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles had Bill Belichick’s defense not turned Nick Foles into the second coming of Joe Montana.

Every Super Bowl that’s featured Brady/Belichick has gone down to the wire, and the outcome could have gone either way.

However, that is what separates Brady from Rodgers; the fact that the pressure never seemed to faze Brady. No stage appeared to be too large for him, and no deficit appeared to be too much for him to overcome.

Yes, the argument that Brady has the luxury of being coached by one of the greatest football minds ever to do it in Belichick is valid. However, Belichick did not make Brady. Brady made Belichick.

Tom Brady
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

If you don’t believe me, look at Belichick’s track record as a head coach in Cleveland and with Drew Bledsoe at the helm versus when Brady officially took over.

Here’s my bottom line: Rodgers has underachieved and could never be “the GOAT.”

Blame it on his head coach Mike McCarthy. Blame it on his lack of a running game. Blame it on his team’s defense, or lack thereof. We know football is the ultimate team sport, but part of what makes a player the greatest of all time is performance plus intangibles. The ability to consistently perform at a high level in spite of an ideal situation is why Brady is the “GOAT.”

Brady’s heroics in the postseason speak for itself.

I can’t say the same for Rodgers.

Despite Brady’s desire to play football until the age of 45, Sunday night may be the last opportunity we have to see these two compete against one another. With a 6-2 record, the Patriots are trending upward, and they look poised to make yet another Super Bowl run. The Packers are trending in the opposite direction, as they’re coming off a devastating loss to the Los Angeles Rams and traded away multiple players before the deadline.

I expect the game to be a high scoring affair, but close throughout. The team that has the ball last most likely wins the game.

Aaron Rodgers is a once in a lifetime player. There’s no denying that. He’s just not better than Tom Brady.