This might be the last article I ever get to write for NFL in London because – WARNING – I’m going to say some nice things about Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. I assume many of you will know that Wade, the boss of this here domain, is a huge Chicago Bears fan. Therefore I am walking on eggshells at best by setting out my stall here and saying I’m going to be positive about the Cheeseheads from Wisconsin… but stick with me.
Sunday Night’s win over the Chiefs wasn’t perfect from the Packers’ perspective, but perhaps that’s what made it all the more impressive. The Chiefs often maligned defense was able to pressure and worry Rodgers, and the usually assured scrambler was hit and sacked at a significantly higher rate than the norm, suggesting the Packers’ O-Line protection needs a little bit of work done to it. But Rodgers was able to use his backfield weapons to great effect. Aaron Jones (I love you) & Jamaal Williams (I don’t love you, STOP taking fantasy points away from my Aaron) both found the endzone twice, and ensured that the team bereft of it’s one truly elite receiver – Davante Adams – still managed to score 31 points in one of the NFL’s most intimidating “home field advantage” stadiums. Jones, especially, is a true livewire, as exhibited on his two huge plays in Arrowhead. The pace he showed to break away from the Chiefs’ secondary will terrify most defenses around the league, and when you have Aaron Rodgers making INSANE plays – like the “heave and hope,” over the shoulder pass to Williams in the very back corner of the endzone – you always have more than a chance.
Rodgers has only one black mark on his surefire Hall of Fame resume. He’s only got one title. ONE. Playing for Titletown. The 2010 run to Super Bowl XLV against the Steelers was fairly magical, with the Packers winning 3 road games against the Eagles, the Falcons and the (sorry Wade) aforementioned Bears, en route to the Lombardi Trophy. But that’s been it. Not just one title. One Super Bowl APPEARANCE for Rodgers. Yep. It’s amazing. Admittedly, he’s not always had the best pieces around him, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but the closest he’s come to glory since 2010 is getting blown out in the NFC Championship game in 2016 by Atlanta. Yes, he’s a two-time League MVP, but only having one Super Bowl win, when you’re considered by SOME to be the greatest Quarterback of all time… It doesn’t quite feel right.
On the other hand, there’s another guy out there who is widely considered the GOAT, who seems to be blazing his annual trail straight back to the Super Bowl in his search for his SEVENTH Championship and the destruction of the planet as we know it. Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr & The New England Patriots. Brady’s run is almost the antithesis of Rodgers’. Brady has usually been supported by a solid team, whilst Rodgers has often had to make more than the sum of the parts around him. Brady can also be glad for the elite coaching staff he’s always had alongside him, and therefore the ability to be good enough in the regular season to almost guarantee home field advantage for his yearly hunt for gold. Since 2008, Brady has played in just THREE true road playoff games. Interestingly, he has a 1-2 record in those games, with the only win being that travesty against the Chiefs last year. And before I hear ONE COMPLAINT from Patriots’ fans, that pre-snap penalty saved you and was an absolute travesty. Ugh. So he’s actually beatable if you can drag him away from Foxborough. He’s just too good to let that happen often. Ugh again. Anyway, basically Brady hasn’t even had to be that good this year so far because the Patriots defense is absolutely mauling all teams unlucky enough to be put in front of them. Seriously, “lambs to the slaughter” comes to mind every time I watch a team try to score against them. But the point is, Brady is rolling towards another AFC Championship game, without really breaking much of a sweat.
But IF the Patriots make it to the big one again this year… could it be Rodgers waiting for him? The NFC is seemingly stacked with very viable teams, but Green Bay – who for once have a defense to support Rodgers – could be the one. We’ve only ever seen Rodgers vs Brady twice (1 win each for the record, don’t all great things come in threes?!), but wouldn’t it be poetic to see these two face off for the biggest prize in North America? There would be a LOT of conflicted people who wouldn’t know who to cheer for… but it might just end up being that way. What a spectacle it would be. Maybe Brady vs Rodgers on the biggest stage in American sports is what we truly deserve… Or worse… maybe it’s what we all secretly want.