Last February, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers was voted Most Valuable Player of the NFL in a “uninamous” decision. There is no question Rodgers deserved a spot on the ballot, for his MVP-like season may be one of the best in league history. However, Saints quarterback Drew Brees was just as good, if not better. 2012 was labeled as the Year of the Quarterback, and rightfully so when you are dealing with big names such as Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Mathew Stafford. Rodgers may have won the MVP Award, but in no way does that make him better then the Purdue alum. So who is the better quarterback: Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees?
Three years; that’s how long Rodgers sat on the Packers bench, watching star quarterback Brett Favre calling out plays on the field. Aaron Rodgers was drafted 24th overall out of UCal, and would be Favre’s replacement when needed. His career started off slowly, but things were looking up for the quarterback. Brett Favre was on the wrong side of 30, and later announced he would be retiring (or so we thought) by the end of 2007. When 2008 rolled around, it was Rodgers’ time to shine. In his first year as a starter, Rodgers passed for 4,038 yards and 28 touchdowns. However, the trait that differentiates Rodgers is his mobility. Early on in his career, it was clear to football fans the new quarterback possessed extraordinary speed. Rodgers has evolved his running game so that he can make a spectacular throw off balance, as well as rushing for a few extra yards. The next two seasons of Rodgers’ career were spectacular as well, where he ended up beating Pittsburgh for his first Super Bowl title. Undoubtedly his best year in the NFL came in 2011. The Packers quarterback threw for 4,643 yards, and was just 5 touchdowns away from the touchdown record with 45. His Green Bay Packers earned a 15-1 record, but were dethroned by New York in their first playoff game. Rodgers’ regular season success won him the MVP Award last February, and rightfully so. Taking all of this into account, I still find Aaron Rodgers one of the more overrated quarterbacks in the league. Now don’t get me wrong, Rodgers is clearly an elite passer, but not quite as elite as people think. When comparing Rodgers to Drew Brees, you will notice Rodgers’ receiving corp is dramatically better then that of New Orleans. Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley are all spectacular weapons that allow Rodgers to put up extraordinary statistics. The main reason why I am doubting Rodgers is due to Week 17 of the 2011 season. Green Bay started Matt Flynn in order to rest their star quarterback for the playoffs. Flynn had started in just one other NFL game, yet he was able to throw for 480 yards and 6 touchdowns against Detroit. Had Flynn been dealing with the Saints’ wide receivers, there is no way he could put up the same statistics. Rodgers has exemplified fabulous accuracy in his 4 seasons as a starter, but I am not sure if he is a better quarterback than Drew Brees.
Brees’ career began as the starting quarterback for the San Diego Chargers back in 2002. Many had doubted Brees due to his problems with injuries in the past, which is why was taken 33rd overall. He may not have been an elite quarterback when he first became a starter, and clearly the Chargers were not satisfied. That is why San Diego traded for NC State passer Philip Rivers. Brees stayed a starter for the rest of 2004, and was later slected to the Pro Bowl team. After one more season spent in San Diego, Brees was signed by the New Orleans Saints. Over time, he was able to improve his game bit by bit, and eventually brought a Super Bowl trophy home to New Orleans. He may not have been succesful in his quest for a second Super Bowl title, but last season statistically was the best of Brees’ career. In 16 games, Drew Brees threw for 5,476 yards (an NFL record), 46 touchdowns and a passer rating of 110.6. The most impressive feature of Drew Brees is his lack of weapons at wide receiver, even though the Saints quarterback manages to put up great staistics. Brees has spectacular accuracy (.71 completion percentage) which allows him to hit the smallest of targets. He may not have the same speed as Rodgers, but Brees definitely has the capability of escaping pass rushers. Overall, Brees has experience, arm strength, and awareness on the football field, the main reason why he has been so successful in the league.