We started 2020 with Lamar Jackson as MVP. Patrick Mohames was the next GOAT. Deschawn Watson played the tortured wizard. And Josh Allen seemed ready to explode.
The quarterback class for rookie 2020 has been loaded. Even Trevor Lawrence of Clemson, who hadn’t even left college yet, was an electric storyline from the NFL’s first game of the season.
Somewhere behind the collective champagne pop for the next generation, Tom Brady appeared as the aging gambling of the unfortunate Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise. And further north, Aaron Rodgers swallowed the Green Bay Packers, spending an initial draft pick for a player ready to take his job. On Sunday, Brady or Rodgers will step forward from the NFC title game with a kick to smash an NFL game that seems to be trying hard to get angry without them. Whether the game from the AFC title is produced by Kansas City Chefs and Mohammed or Buffalo Bills and Allen, the story of the quarterback is set.
Then it is compared to now, with Brady or Rodgers, who represent the last breath of the golden age, and Mohammes or Allen reflect the nascent era of “everything”
Youth versus wisdom.
Porsche 911s versus diversified 401hp.
Decades of experience with big games against big bodies, bigger weapons and crazy plays outside the script.
And without a doubt, the top heads of state are absolutely here for that. Say what you want about their different paths to the NFC title game – from Rodgers’ scorching MVP campaign to Brady’s statistician’s kiss, suddenly reinforced by defense – they both defiantly present themselves as two of the league’s biggest defenders right now. Mahomes may be the centerpiece of the league and defend the Super Bowl champion, and Allen may be the early favorite for the league’s MVP next season, but Rodgers and Brady are fighting for the head of the table when this season ends. Even just to prove that the relay will not be as handy as the battle in the alley.
There is some bitterness in this persecution. Don’t joke with any of the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, but you still feel like they have something to prove where they live in the game. Especially after Brady had an awkward empty break with the New England Patriots and Rodgers suffered another needle punch from the personnel department, which continues to chart a course without him. Both have accomplished too much to be pushed out, either by the franchises, each on their shoulders, or by the league, which is leaning strongly toward the next wave of multifaceted talent in the position.
After all, it’s not like Brady and Rodgers don’t see what’s going on around them. The lights are constantly pointing to many of the contemporaries who have helped define them over the past two decades, with Peyton Manning’s retirement in 2016 signaling a two-minute warning about perhaps the league’s largest collection of quarterbacks of the same era. Ellie Manning followed in 2019. Drew Bryce will likely close this off-season, along with Ben Rothlisberger and Philip Rivers deep into the winter of his career. This is a group of players who determine the top 10 of almost every important quarterback statistic, not to mention the Super Bowl wins brought to the table by the Manning brothers, Rotlisberger and Breeze. The interesting thing about this NFC title game is that it can’t assumed that this was the last hurray for Brady or Rodgers. Both insist that they continue until 2021.
This is certainly no surprise to Rodgers, who seemed perhaps as dominant this season as anyone in his 16-year career. It was a campaign that he not only announced (before the season ended) that he believed he was the league’s MVP, but then backed it up with what equated to perfection. Not to forget, Rodgers is a young 37-year-old compared to 43-year-old Brady – and Packers’ quarterback has repeatedly said he wants to play until he is 40. Given how his 2020 season has unfolded, this seems more like a goal and more like security.
He is not alone either. Brady is already planning to return to the Buccaneers next season, and according to reports, year 2 in Tampa will be the top. Rob Gronkowski has said he will return in 2021, and Antonio Brown has repeatedly said he would like to continue playing with the Buccaneers quarterback. While it’s crazy to think that Brady could be a better player starting at 44-year-old camp, it’s worth noting that he may have a more normal off-season than his last, including an off-season program. in which vital parts of the violation are specified.
Neither Rodgers nor Brady are leaving. The NFC title game isn’t a big deal. If nothing else, this is a prologue to next season, when the teams around them need to be even better. And that gives them even more motivation to treat the next three weeks as an opportunity. It’s not just adding more coldness to your already rich resumes, but also sending a message to everyone that their era is not over, as we could have expected five months ago.
Of course, the Super Bowl will be the best referendum for the advancing quarterback. But Lambeau Field’s Sunday NFC title game retains its significance. Brady came up with an absurd 32 wins of the season and nine appearances in the conference titles. And Rodgers outplayed everyone in the season, including Mahomes, Allen and every other quarterback who spun it in 2020.
Age or not, this is still a battle of titanic proportions, surpassed only by the size of the middle finger delivered by the match, sending the message that if the next era of dynamic quarterbacks is ready to own the league, one of them will still have to prove it against an ageless miracle in February.
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