A passing of the torch took place this season in the demise of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers

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Plenty of time for the NFL’s old guard to hit the links this offseason.

Plenty of time for the NFL’s old guard to hit the links this offseason.
Photo: Getty Images

As the NFL community awaits Tom Brady’s decision about the next step in his career, one can’t help but notice the changing of the guard we witnessed during the 2022 season. For the first time since 2009, the divisional round of the postseason does not include a game where Brady or Aaron Rodgers is on the field. Over a decade of deep playoff runs have ended for the time being, at least.

Since 2010, the veteran duo has combined to play in 14 conference championship games, with Brady participating in eight consecutive AFC title games in New England. Either Brady or Rodgers has been in seven of the last 12 Super Bowls, with Tom carrying the bulk of that load. No matter how you slice it, these quarterbacks owned the past decade.

Whether it’s wins, statistics, or individual accolades, the story of the ‘10s in the NFL can’t be told without Brady and Rodgers. Multiple MVPs, All-Pros, and Pro Bowl selections between them, but the only thing we never got was a matchup on Super Bowl Sunday. And it’s most likely never going to happen.

New generation takeover

This season, we officially saw a passing of the torch atop QB mountain. Entering the season, Rodgers was the reigning back-to-back league MVP and had played in the NFC championship game against Brady two years ago. Brady went on to win his seventh Super Bowl ring after bouncing Rodgers and the Packers from that postseason.

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The writing is on the wall in big bold red letters for Brady, and Rodgers. A new breed of younger, more athletic QBs has snatched the mantle away from the old guard, led by Patrick Mahomes. Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, and now Jalen Hurts are also part of the next generation of elite QBs. This is Hurts’ first MVP-caliber campaign, but if he continues to improve as a passer, he’ll be in the MVP conversation for many years.

In matchups against Mahomes, Jackson, and Burrow, Brady was 0-3 this year. Rodgers was 0-2 against the new kids on the block, falling in defeat to Allen and Hurts. Brady and Rodgers are no longer the dominant force in the league that other QBs are chasing. Neither man threw more than 26 touchdowns, and Rodgers failed to eclipse 4,000 yards when playing an entire season for the first time since 2015. So, it’s safe to say the days of Brady/Rodgers domination are over. Both played in all 17 games, and their teams finished with the same 8-9 record. Tampa Bay lucked out by playing in the worst division in football, winning the NFC South with a losing record.

What’s next?

Unless one or both pick up and leave, their time in the winner’s circle is likely done. There’s speculation that Brady could be moving onto his third team, with multiple suitors reportedly in the mix for his services. With Rodgers, you never know what will happen during the offseason recently, but he’ll probably be back in Green Bay for another year of complaining about what he doesn’t have and how his wide receiver can’t get it right. It seems the most we can expect out of these two now is drama.

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