Published: Jan 23, 2021 at 09:46 AM
With the historic playoff meeting finally about to happen on Championship Sunday, NFL Research’s Matt Okada charts why Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have never met in the playoffs before.
That will change on Championship Sunday, when Rodgers’ Packers meet Brady’s Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game. While we wait for these two quarterbacking giants to finally face each other with playoff glory on the line, let’s take a look at the people who have been most responsible for denying destiny in each of the 12 previous seasons.
Included with each breakdown is a rating (out of 10) on the “Didn’t Quite Meet-er,” a gauge to measure just how close Brady and Rodgers — who had been in opposite conferences until Brady left the Patriots for the Bucs this season — came to clashing in the Super Bowl.
2008 – Didn’t Quite Meet-er: 1/10
What happened to Brady: Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard hit Brady in a Week 1 game between Kansas City and New England, leading to a torn ACL and a lost season for the quarterback.
What happened to Rodgers: Late Packers general manager Ted Thompson transitioned from future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, who’d won one Super Bowl and three MVP awards in 16 seasons in Green Bay, to a 25-year-old Rodgers, who’d been scooped up with the 24th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. In Rodgers’ first season as a starter, the Packers went 6-10 season with the NFL’s 22nd-ranked scoring defense and 17th-ranked rushing offense.
2009 – Didn’t Quite Meet-er: 5/10
What happened to Brady: Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2018, recorded 13 tackles, one sack and two QB hits against Brady in the first of Brady’s two Wild Card Round losses thus far.
What happened to Rodgers: Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner went 29-of-33 for 379 yards and five touchdowns (with a 154.1 passer rating) to outduel Rodgers in a 51-45 overtime win in the Wild Card Round.
2010 – Didn’t Quite Meet-er: 8/10
What happened to Brady: Jets head coach Rex Ryan guided his defense to five sacks, seven QB hits and one pick against Brady, the winner of the 2010 MVP award, as New York knocked off New England in Foxborough in the Divisional Round.
What happened to Rodgers: The Packers won Super Bowl XLV against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.
2011 – Didn’t Quite Meet-er: 8/10
What happened to Brady: The Patriots lost Super Bowl XLVI to Eli Manning and the Giants.
What happened to Rodgers: Manning threw for 330 yards and three TDs in the Divisional Round at Lambeau Field, ending Rodgers’ first and — until the Packers claimed the No. 1 seed in the NFC this year — only experience holding a home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
2012 – Didn’t Quite Meet-er: 6/10
What happened to Brady: The Ravens’ Lewis recorded 14 tackles in the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots, helping Baltimore hold Brady to 13 points (tied for the fewest in his playoff career).
What happened to Rodgers: San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick passed for 263 yards and two TDs and rushed for 181 yards (a postseason record for a QB — and two TDs in a 45-31 Divisional Round win over the Packers.
2013 – Didn’t Quite Meet-er: 5/10
What happened to Brady: Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning went 32-of-43 for 400 yards and threw two TDs to beat Brady and the Patriots, 26-16, in the AFC Championship Game.
What happened to Rodgers: The Niners’ Kaepernick eliminated Rodgers for the second straight postseason, this time with 227 passing yards, one passing TD and 98 rushing yards in the Wild Card Round.
2014 – Didn’t Quite Meet-er: 10/10
What happened to Brady: The Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX over Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.
What happened to Rodgers: Packers tight end Brandon Bostick bobbled a late Seahawks onside kick with the Packers up 19-14, leading to a crushing overtime loss for Rodgers in the NFC Championship Game.
2015 – Didn’t Quite Meet-er: 8/10
What happened to Brady: Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller led a fierce defense, recording 2.5 sacks, four QB hits and one interception against Brady in the AFC Championship Game.
What happened to Rodgers: Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald took the first scrimmage play in overtime 75 yards and then scored two plays later to knock Rodgers out in the Divisional Round.
2016 – Didn’t Quite Meet-er: 9/10
What happened to Brady: The Patriots won Super Bowl LI over Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons.
What happened to Rodgers: Ryan, the 2016 NFL MVP, had 392 passing yards and five total TDs to blow out the Packers in the NFC Championship Game.
2017 – Didn’t Quite Meet-er: 3/10
What happened to Brady: The Patriots lost Super Bowl LII to Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles.
What happened to Rodgers: Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr’s tackle resulted in a broken collarbone for Rodgers in October, and he missed nine games while the Packers finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
2018 – Didn’t Quite Meet-er: 1/10
What happened to Brady: The Patriots won Super Bowl LIII over Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams.
What happened to Rodgers: The Packers fired head coach Mike McCarthy after a 4-7-1 start that included going 2-5-1 in one-possession games and clashing with Rodgers over play-calling. As a result, Rodgers’ Pro Bowl season (25 passing TDs against just two INTs) was wasted by the Packers’ 6-9-1 final record.
2019 – Didn’t Quite Meet-er: 6/10
What happened to Brady: Titans running back Derrick Henry rushed for 182 yards and one TD in the Wild Card Round, and Brady’s Patriots managed just 13 points (again tying his playoff career low) in what proved to be his final game with New England.
What happened to Rodgers: San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert rushed for 220 yards and four TDs in the NFC Championship Game, becoming the only player ever with 200-plus rushing yards and four-plus rushing TDs in a playoff game.
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