Jesse is a lifelong sports fan with a passion for finding the facts. His writing has been recognized and published by Sports Illustrated.
Which QB Is the GOAT?
Ever since he won his sixth Super Bowl, Tom Brady has been pretty universally accepted as the greatest QB of all time. He's won more than anyone, is tied for the most rings in NFL history with any franchise, and seems to live in the Super Bowl. For the longest time winning was all you needed, but football is a team sport. With this in mind, an argument can be made that Aaron Rodgers is the most elite passer of all time with a lackluster team. People argue that if Rodgers had the help, he'd have easily surpassed Brady. He's statistically the best passer and has an incredible touchdown-to-interception ratio. Brady has played longer than Rodgers, so this article focuses on averages and records that aren't affected by longevity in order to have an unbiased look at the two.
Brady vs. Rodgers Regular Season Stats
These stats are based on years that they started at least half the season. This excludes the years Rodgers sat behind Brett Favre, his 2017 season, the year Brady was benched, and the year he had knee surgery after his first game in 2008. The results are as follows.
|Yards Per Season||Touchdowns Per Season||Interceptions Thrown Per Season||Avg Completion Percentage||Avg Wins||Avg Losses||Avg Times Sacked|
Clutch Brady vs. Accurate Rodgers
The stats show that Rodgers is far more accurate. He throws more touchdowns, fewer interceptions, and has better accuracy. Tom Brady throws for more yards, wins more games, loses less, and leads in both fourth-quarter comebacks and game-winning drives. So the comparison of the two players based on per season statistics of regular seasons stats doesn’t further the argument. Both QBs excel in multiple areas of importance that aren’t necessarily equivalent. Unfortunately, stats don't further the argument because both QBs excel in multiple areas of importance over the other.
Brady vs. Rodgers Playoff Stats
How do these two compare when it comes to playing in the clutch? Do they rise to the occasion or crumble under pressure? While regular season statistics don't support the argument, perhaps playoff statistics will.
|Playoff Games||Record||Avg. Yards Per Game||Touchdowns Per Game||Interceptions Thrown Per Game||Avg. Completion Percentage||Avg. Wins Per Playoff Birth||Avg. Losses per Playoff Birth||Avg. Times Sacked|
Again, the same results are reflected in the playoff statistics as they are in the regular season. While Rodgers appears to be the far elite passer, Brady simply wins far more often. Rodgers has a losing record in the playoffs, with three first-round exits out of his eight appearances. Brady has three first-round exits, but 18 playoff appearances. Of Brady's 18 appearances, seven resulted in a Super Bowl championship.
The stats do show us some things that are important; Aaron Rodgers carries a playoff win percentage of 54.5% and a regular-season win percentage of 67.4%. Tom Brady has a playoff win percentage of 74.4% and a regular-season win percentage of 76.8%. Brady has a higher winning percentage in the regular season by 9.4% and a playoff percentage that's higher by 19.9%. While Rodgers seems to have the better arm, Brady wins far more often.
Do Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers Have Better Teammates?
Brady and Rodgers' Teammates
So when it comes to basic statistics, we don't get a clear edge for who is the GOAT. Depending on who the judge is, one may say winning trumps better arm talent or vice versa. However, we can possibly determine who is better based on the talent level surrounding them. Below is a list of each Pro Bowl player on each QBs team.
Aaron Rodgers' Teammates
- Charles Woodson, DB, 2008-2011, 4x, 2x All-Pro
- Clay Mathews, LB, 2009-2012, 2014-2015, 6x, 1x All-Pro
- John Kuhn, FB, 2011, 2014-2015, 3x, 1x All-Pro
- Nick Collins, DB, 2008-2010, 3x
- John Sitton, G, 2012, 2014-2015, 3x
- Chad Clifton, T, 2007, 2010, 2x
- Al Harris, DB, 2007-2008, 2x
- Greg Jennings, WR, 2010-2011, 2x
- Mike Daniels, DT, 2017, 1x
- Tramon Williams, DB, 2010, 1x
- Eddie Lacy, RB, 2013, 1x
- Jordy Nelson, WR, 2014, 1x
- BJ Raji, DT, 2011, 1x
- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, 2016, 1x
- David Bahktiari, T, 2016, 2019, 2020, 3x, 1x All-Pro
- Jeff Saturday, C, 2012, 1x
- TJ Lang, T, 2016, 1x
- Scott Wells, G/C, 2011, 1x
- Randall Cobb, WR, 2014, 1x
- Sam Shields, DB, 2014, 1x
- Julius Peppers, DE, 2015, 1x
- Davante Adams, WR, 2017-2018, 2020-2021, 4x, 2x All-Pro
- Mike Daniels, DE, 2017, 1x
- Jaire Alexander, CB, 2020, 1x, 1x All-Pro
- Za'Darius Smith, LB, 2020, 1x, 1x All-Pro
- Elgton Jenkins, G, 2020, 1x
- Aaron Jones, RB, 2020, 1x
- Kenny Clark, DT, 2021, 1x
Total: 40 Pro Bowlers, 7 All-Pros
Tom Brady's Teammates
- Rob Gronkowski, TE, 2011-2012, 2014-2015, 2017, x6, 4x All-Pro
- Richard Seymour, DE/DT, 2002-2006, 4x, 3x All-Pro
- Wes Welker, WR, 2009-2012, 4x, 2x All-Pro
- Matt Slater, WR, 2011-2017, 2019, 8x, 2x All-Pro
- Ty Law, DB, 2001-2003, 3x, 1x All-Pro
- Stephen Gostkowski, K, 2013-2015, 3x, 1x All-Pro
- Logan Mankins, G, 2007, 2009-2013, 6x, 1x All-Pro
- Vince Wilfork, DT, 2007, 2009-20012, 5x, 1x All-Pro
- Adam Vinateri, K, 2002, 2004, 2x, 2x All-Pro
- Lawyer Milloy, DB, 2001-2002, 2x
- Matt Light, T, 2006-2007, 2010, 3x, 1x All-Pro
- Jerod Mayo, LB, 2010, 2012, 2x, 1x All-Pro
- Randy Moss, WR, 2007, 1x, 1x All-Pro
- Asante Samuel, DB, 2007, 1x, 1x All-Pro
- Mike Vrabel, LB, 2007, 1x, 1x All-Pro
- Darrell Revis, CB, 2014, 1x, 1x All-Pro
- Rodney Harrison, DB, 0x, 1x All-Pro
- Larry Izzo, LB, 2002, 2004, 2x
- Brandon Meriweather, DB, 2009-2010, 2x
- Devin McCourty, DB, 2010, 2016, 2x
- Jamie Collins, LB, 2015, 1x
- Stephon Gilmore, CB, 2018-2019, 2x, 2x All-Pro
- Chandler Jones, DE, 2015, 1x
- Andre Carter, DE/LB, 2011, 1x
- Corey Dillon, RB, 2004, 1x
- Malcolm Butler, CB, 2015, 1x
- Damien Woody, C/G, 2002, 1x
- Dan Coppen, C, 2007, 1x
- Troy Brown, WR, 2001, 1x
- Brian Waters, G, 2011, 1x
- Aquib Talib, DB, 2013, 1x
- James Develin, FB, 2017, 1x
- Teddy Bruschi, LB, 2004, 1x
- Dont'a Hightower, LB, 2019, 1x
- Jason Pierre-Paul, LB, 2020, 1x
- Shaquil Barrett, LB, 2021, 1x
- Vita Vea, DT, 2021, 1x
- Ryan Jensen, C, 2021, 1x
- Ali Marpet, G, 2021, 1x, 1x All-Pro
- Tristan Wirfs, T, 2021, 1x, 1x All-Pro
- Mike Evans, WR, 2021, 1x
Total: 41 Pro Bowlers, 19 All-Pros
Who Is Surrounded by the Most Talent?
Clearly, Tom Brady had far more talent over his career. If you average the amount of talent by years played Aaron Rodgers had 2.8 Pro Bowlers per year and .5 All-Pros per year. Tom Brady had 2 Pro Bowlers per year and .95 All-Pros. Not only does Brady have a less productive arm, but he has been surrounded by far better talent throughout his career by far, especially in the category of first-team All-Pro players by a wide margin. Rodgers has done more with far less in his career.
Brady vs. Rodgers Playoff Info
The NFL is all about making the playoffs. Each game matters—a single game could determine if you fight for a Super Bowl or sit at home in January. Aaron Rodgers has made it to the playoffs 12 times in 14 years as a starter, winning a Super Bowl in that time. Tom Brady has made it 19 times in 20 seasons as a starter (not including the year he tore his ACL in game one) and won seven Super Bowls. The two QBs played great in most of their playoff games, but lost at various times in the years they didn't win the big game. Below is a list of the rounds they lost each year.
Aaron Rodgers Playoff Info
- Lost in the Wild Card game on 2 of his 12 appearances; 16.6%
- Lost in the Divisional game on 4 of his 12 appearances; 33.3%
- Lost in the Conference Championship game in 5 of 12 appearances; 41.6%
- Won the Super Bowl one time out of 12 appearances; 8.3%
Tom Brady Playoff Info
- Lost in the Wild Card game 3 of 20 times; 15%
- Lost in the Divisional game 3 of 20 times; 15%
- Lost in the Conference Championship game 4 of 20 times; 20%
- Lost in the Super Bowl 3 of 20 times; 15%
- Won the Super Bowl 7 of 20 times; 35%
The amount of winning that Brady does is absolutely astounding. Not only did he only lose in the wild-card round three times, partially due to him rarely avoiding the first-round bye, but he also made it to the Super Bowl half of his career. In fact, Brady was on a top-four team at least 70% of his playoff career.
Aaron Rodgers lost in the wild-card round or missed the playoffs nearly a quarter of his career. In his 14-year career as a starter, he either missed the playoffs or was a first-round exit 42.8% of the time. He was only a top-four team 50% of the time, a whopping 20% less than Brady.
Is Brady or Rodgers More Clutch?
Finally, we'll look at high-pressure situations. Who has a better clutch gene? According to profootballfocus.com Tom Brady has 42 fourth-quarter comebacks in his career and 53 game-winning drives. Tom Brady has started in 318 games in his career. This means that 13.2% of Brady's total games played resulted in him leading a fourth-quarter comeback to win a game after being down near the end of the game. Game-winning drives orchestrated by Brady were responsible for 21.8% of Brady's wins. Those are incredible numbers considering he's going to retire as one of the oldest QBs in NFL history. One of his comebacks was also in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, when Brady orchestrated the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, overcoming a 28-3 deficit that lasted until the middle of the third quarter. He had another game-winning drive against the Rams for his sixth Super Bowl victory in the fourth quarter.
Aaron Rodgers has 18 fourth-quarter comebacks in his career and 27 game-winning drives. Rodgers has started in 213 games in his career. He led a fourth-quarter comeback 8.4% of the time, and 12.6% of his career he won the game on a game-winning drive. His fourth-quarter comeback percentage is 5.2% lower than Brady's, and his game-winning drives are 4% lower. Coupling this with the fact that Rodgers also lost often in early rounds of the playoffs goes to show that Brady is far more clutch than Rodgers.
So Who's Better?
In conclusion, Rodgers has a better arm than Brady, but statistically, both are close in many areas. Brady wins much more than Rodgers in both the regular season and the playoffs. Brady has six Super Bowl rings to Rodgers' one. However, Brady also had a far greater amount of talent surrounding him throughout his career than Rodgers ever did. Brady has led his team to many more late-game clutch victories, and he was a top four-team 70% of his entire career. Who do you think is the greatest QB of all time? The greatest winner in the history of the game, Tom Brady? Or the greatest arm talent the game has seen, Aaron Rodgers?
Who's the Greatest QB of All Time?
© 2019 Jesse Unk
Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on March 25, 2020:
My all time favorite player growing up was Favre.
Zrot on March 21, 2020:
Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on February 21, 2020:
Same could be said for wes welker dropping the first down that could have been Brady's 7th ring. Or that the D allowed David Tyree to catch the ball. Ifs and buts dont translate to what is.
frank on February 20, 2020:
You should a litte more digging in the clutch statistics. How many times have we seen rodgers go back for a tying or go ahead TD and their Defense jus lets the other team score a game winning drie and not let rodger get the ball? while the patriots it's the total opposite
Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on December 06, 2019:
I await your response to this direct quote from Rodgers.
anonamys on December 05, 2019:
you get rid of his stats with deflated balls aaron is better
Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on November 10, 2019:
Check out my other article on the Pats.
Benjamin Harkey on November 09, 2019:
Brady may have a better winning percentage, but he is also a cheater. In my opinion if Brady and Rodgers went head to head one more time, Aaron Rodgers would out play and out perform Tom Brady by far. This is just my opinion though.
Andy on October 20, 2019:
Calling someone an idiot with out any reasoning or statistcal proof supporting your own claim is petty idiotic, rodgers has the best QBR in history also the best td to int ratio also he can throw moving to either direction and i read somewhere he has had more drops by widerecievers than almost any other qb in history but here are actual stats
Rodgers : 14 years in the league 352 tds, 82 ints
Bady. : 19 years in the league 527 tds, 174 ints
Montana : 14 years in the league 273 tds, 139 ints
The article is about who is/was the better qb not about who has the most rings its a team game and as you can see at the positions they are the best by a wid margin now just my opinion but watching the 2 of them play i think rodgers is the better qb
Jerry Gilbert on September 05, 2019:
First, to Mr. Irwin Jamss (or James?). You may be right about Montana being better than Rodgers. I haven't seen comparison statistics on that. I do recall that Montana led his team to 4 SB wins. But I just don't see why it was necessary to call Mr. Unk an idiot. That is disrespectful. Also, we are just sharing opinions. Second, so who do you think was better between Brady & Montana? I'm a Patriots fan, so my opinion is biased. I consider Brady the GOAT, but Mr. Unk made a good point about some statistics favoring Rodgers, & Brady being surrounded by better players. Still, it's a matter of opinion.
Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on August 31, 2019:
You should read my article that includes montana in the argument. Youd be surprised just how much HOF talent he had to aide him along the way.
Irwin Jamss on August 27, 2019:
Aaron rodgers isnt even better than joe montana you idiot