Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers end 14-year streak as NFL guard continues to change
The NFL is entering a new era of dominant quarterback play as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers failed to win a playoff game for the first time since 2009.
On Monday night, Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers were comprehensively defeated 31-14 by the Dallas Cowboys to end the iconic quarterback’s 23rd NFL season. Brady doffed his cap to the fans and kissed his parents before disappearing down the Raymond James Stadium tunnel, suggesting his time in Florida is over.
After perhaps the toughest season both on and off the field in his illustrious career, Brady will not rush into making any decisions over his future. He famously retired last offseason only to reverse his decision 40 days later, and the 45-year-old will not make the same mistake again.
Meanwhile, Rodgers - a four-time NFL MVP - struggled in 2022 but, along with Brady, is considered one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history since he was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2005. Brady and Rodgers have faced off on five occasions, with the seven-time Super Bowl champion leading the head-to-head battle 3-2 while he also holds more NFL records including career quarterback wins, pass completions, touchdown passes and passing yards.
For many, Brady cemented his place as the greatest in NFL history when he led the Bucs to the Super Bowl - his seventh and first away from the New England Patriots - in 2020. Rodgers was one of the names Brady knocked off en route to the Super Bowl, defeating the Packers at Lambeau Field in the NFC Championship Game.
It was the fourth time the pair have met one another on the field - and the only time it’s happened during the playoffs. However, the legendary duo have both failed to win a game in the postseason for the first time in 14 years after Brady’s loss to the Cowboys and Rodgers’ failure to make the playoffs.
The monumental statistic highlights the growing shift to a new generation of signal-callers, with Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts now leading the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles to greater places. One of these quarterbacks will win the MVP next month, with Mahomes the favourite to collect his second award.
After the Cowboys crushed the Buccaneers, there was a palpable sense of finality in Brady’s post-match press conference. This could largely be due to the imminent end of his three-year stay in Tampa as his contract is set to expire this offseason.
Speculation has been rife regarding what Brady could do in 2023, with retirement mooted along with finding a new team. The 45-year-old has been linked with a sensational return to the Patriots, the franchise where he won six Super Bowls, as well as move to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Derek Carr’s impending Raiders exit is set to spark a quarterback carousel around the NFL, so Brady - and maybe even Rodgers, if his uncertain future is to be believed - will undoubtedly be a big part of that this offseason. The Raiders would be an attractive proposition for either superstar quarterback, given the exciting market and talent on the roster with both men are keen to contend for Super Bowl rings as their respective careers draw to a close.