Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers square off against each other this week, so naturally there is some debate on which quarterback is better.
Both are Super Bowl champions, both are MVPs and both were also dealt crushing losses by the Giants in the playoffs.
Former Giants safety Antrel Rolle — a key figure of the Giants defense that defeated both quarterbacks en route to a Super Bowl championship in 2011 — detailed the differences between the all-time greats in a recent Q & A with Sports Illustrated.
“The simple fact is, [Brady] has a different ‘it’ factor. He has that Michael Jordan s—. He wants to kill you,” Rolle said. “He wants to dominate you every play. I’m not saying other guys don’t, but he’s done it without the most talented receivers, the no-name guys. He makes that system work no matter who is back there. No matter who is catching the ball.”
It was that killer instinct from Brady that made it that much more difficult to knock him off his game, according to Rolle.
“OK, put it this way: If you know your guys are gonna be on their assignments and keys, the guy you’ll fear most is Tom Brady,” Rolle added. “I think he just has a way to keep going. Aaron Roders, not saying he doesn’t keep going, but he doesn’t have the same drive as Tom Brady in my opinion. It was easier to knock the fight out of Rodgers than it was to knock it out of Brady.”
While Rolle considers Brady the best quarterback he has ever played against, he said that Rodgers is the most talented quarterback.
“When I was in Arizona, he scared the living s— out of me,” Rolle said of Rodgers. “Because there was no way that we could stop him. … the way Aaron placed the ball, the only person who could get it was his wide receivers. He’s that talented of a guy. He’s versatile. He can beat you with his legs, his arms. He doesn’t look to run, he scrambles to complete the ball downfield and make all those acrobatic throws.”
Because Rodgers was so mobile, Rolle said the key to beating him was 1.) take away his primary receiver and 2.) keep him in the pocket.
“We wanted to blitz and force him up in the pocket because we knew he didn’t like to stay in the pocket,” Rolle said. “We knew he liked to get outside the pocket and extend plays. We knew he was better at completing passes and throwing on the run.”
Brady, on the other hand, was a little bit different.
“The plan for the Patriots is, our defensive line first,” Rolle said. “Those guys were a force to be reckoned with … We each learned each others’ positions the whole week and we made ourselves versatile to the point where Brady couldn’t identify who would be the nickel, who would be the rover and who was the free safety.”