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Just When I Need a Laugh Most, the Analytics Nerds Rate Aaron Rodgers the Best Postseason QB of the Decade

I don't know if anyone has said this yet, but we live in a difficult time of great challenges. (Trademark Old Balls Ltd., all rights reserved.) And if you get too caught up in all the grim news, you're in danger of losing sight of the things that truly matter. The little things, that make life worth living. Which is why today I owe a debt of gratitude to the stats elves who work in Cris Collinsworth's little analytics factory, Pro Football Focus. 

If you read me more than occasionally, you know I subscribe to PFF. I use their analysis whenever it's suitable. (Which is to say, whenever it fits my narrative and supports all my biases, just like every other opinion writer on every subject.) I'm sure the professionals who actually coach, scout and analyze pro football for a living think PFF's conclusions are ridiculous at times. But to me it's like religion. You make of it what you will. 

And this conclusion they just reached, that Aaron Rodgers has been the best postseason quarterback since 2010 is exactly what I need right now. It's a little reminder to me of what was once good. And can be again. This takes me back to a time when life made sense. When Tom Brady was still living next to a fairway in Brookline, you could buy draft beer in a bar and the only time the Irish Rose and I wore masks was while sexy cosplaying Bane and Catwoman. 

With all due respect to Eli Manning, Nick Foles and Matt Ryan, I won't even dignify their spots on this ranking ahead of Brady with a breakdown. Other than to point out that, while their postseason records against Brady in this decade are a combined 2-1, their overall playoff records are 12-8. Brady's is 16-7. And all four of Eli's wins came in the same postseason, which was nine years ago. 

But rather get lost in the weeds getting into all those guys, let's just compare the records of Rodgers and Brady. From the more reliable, cold, dispassionate, fact-based, zero opinion Pro Football Reference:

From the years 2010-19:

  • Brady and Rodgers TDs per game are almost identical.
  • Brady has more interceptions, but has thrown for an average of 45.7 more yards.
  • Rodgers' passer rating and completion % are higher, but the differences are negligible.
  • Brady has been asked to carry his team far more, with more attempts, completions and yards.
  • Rodgers has run more but taken far more sacks.
  • They have the same number of losses. Brady has 60% more wins. 
  • Rodgers won a Super Bowl at the start of the decade. Brady went to eight straight championship games and five Super Bowls.
  • In those Super Bowls, Brady led a go ahead touchdown drive in the 4th quarter or overtime in all five. One was sudden death, and defense blew the lead in two of the other four.
  • In one of those losses, he threw for 505 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions as his defense allowed scores on eight of their opponent's 10 possessions and two drives of over 7:00 (basically a quarter of the game).
  • Brady won three rings, which is as many as the other four names in this ranking combined.

And it's worth noting that during this period, Rodgers was throwing to Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, who combined for seven Pro Bowl appearances. While Brady was fighting for championships by getting 128 yards out of Chris Hogan, 151 out of Danny Amendola and 141 out of Julian Edelman. 

But I get it. The Rodgers apologists will blame his 10 years without a title on Mike McCarthy, his defenses, the lack of talent around him. And put a ring on him that reads, "Best Postseason Analytics." And ignore moments like this. 

But deep down in places they don't like to talk about at parties, when the season was on the line over this past decade (and the decade that proceeded it), there was only one quarterback you wanted under that center. That you needed under that center. And he wasn't in Green Bay.