Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers will go head to head for only the third time in their storied careers on Sunday — and while things may get heated on the field in Foxborough, off of it, it’s nothing but compliments and praise.
“I think it’s inspiring,” Brady, 41, told WEEI this week of watching Rodgers play. “Even for me, I watch his game and it makes me want to get out there and practice and improve because I think he’s so phenomenal with how he manages himself in the pocket. His ability to throw the football is unlike anyone in probably the history of the league. So it’s just pretty awesome to watch.”
This weekend’s game is the first time the two have faced each other since 2014, when the Green Bay Packers triumphed over the New England Patriots 26-21. Brady earned the victory in his first ever matchup with Rodgers in 2006, when the Pats shut out the Packers in a massive 35-0 performance. But in the time between their meetings, the two have continually added to their legacies and now account for six Super Bowl wins (Rodgers one, Brady five), 19 Pro Bowl appearances and five MVP awards combined.
“The feeling’s mutual,” Rodgers said when told about Brady’s admiration for him, according to NESN. “As a young player, I watched a ton of his film. I had a great guy to watch every single day in Brett Favre, but Tommy’s been at the top of his game for a long, long time.”
Because they don’t regularly face each other, Brady and Rodgers haven’t been seen as traditional rivals outside of debates of who might be considered the best quarterback of this generation. When it comes to that question, Rodgers has an immediate answer, though.
For Brady, he thinks the GOAT question may be unanswerable.
“I think it’s actually a hypothetical question that is just truly impossible to answer,” Brady told WEEI. “It’s great to debate it, and those types of things. I don’t think about, ‘Oh, was this guy better than this guy or this guy?’ I guess that’s just because maybe I’m an athlete and I realize it’s a lot of teamwork, there’s a lot of factors that go into helping your team win.”
Rodgers signed a record-breaking contract extension with the Packers in August that will net him $134 million over the course of four years, and at 34 years old, that means Rodgers will be 40 when his contract expires following the 2023 NFL season. Rodgers has mentioned that he intends to play well into his 40s.
Still, Rodgers sees Brady as an inspiration.
“The stuff he does on the field is phenomenal, and then to see him, as he’s gotten older in his career, just continue to reinvent himself year after year and play at a high level every season, obviously winning championships, he’s a phenomenal player,” Rodgers said in a call with reporters on Wednesday.
“He’s a pioneer as far as taking care of his body and rewriting the longevity books for players of his caliber. It’s been really impressive to watch, and whenever I get a chance, whether he’s on Thursday night, Sunday night, Monday night, I’m for sure tuning in.”
Rodgers continued of Brady to reporters: “He’s an outlier. He’s a unicorn. There’s not many like him.”