Aaron Rodgers has been the Packers’ starting quarterback since 2008. Tom Brady has been under center for either the Patriots or Buccaneers every year since 2001. But, surprisingly, Sunday’s NFC Championship Game will be just the 4th time they meet head-to-head, and their first ever playoff showdown.
The twists and turns of their respective careers have led to more near-misses and might-have-beens that will finally end this weekend.
December 19th, 2010 – Patriots 31, Packers 27
When the schedule was released in the spring, everyone circled this game as the first ever matchup between Rodgers and Brady. But, Aaron missed the game with a concussion that he suffered one week prior in Detroit. Matt Flynn performed admirably, throwing 3 touchdowns, but the Packers came up just short falling to 8-6 on the season. Of course, Rodgers and the Pack got the last laugh that season, hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy just a few weeks later.
November 30th, 2014 – Packers 26, Patriots 21
At long last, Aaron and Tom Terrific finally met at Lambeau Field. The game lived up to its top billing. Both QB’s threw a pair of touchdowns and logged quarterback ratings over 100. The Pack edged out the Pats, in large part due to a coming out party for Davante Adams. The rookie wide receiver caught 6 passes for 121 yards in the win. The game left everyone hoping for a rematch in the Super Bowl. The Patriots made it that far. The Packers…well, we don’t have to go into Brandon Bostick right now.
November 4th, 2018 – Patriots 31, Packers 17
A forgetting matchup for the Green and Gold, in what turned out to be Mike McCarthy’s final season as head coach. Brady and the Pack went on to win the Super Bowl over the Los Angeles Rams, while the Packers were forced to hit the reset button.
October 18th, 2020 – Buccaneers 38, Packers 10
A pair of Aaron Rodgers interceptions turned this game from a close battle to a blowout in just a matter of minutes. It may, however, have served as a wake up call for the Packers. Since the loss in Week 6, Rodgers and company have won 10 of 12, setting up this weekend’s NFC Championship Game.
This will be Rodgers’ 5th career conference championship game as a starter. It’ll be Brady’s 14th, yes 14th.
Regardless of the result, we’re in for an instant classic at Lambeau on Sunday.