Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees: Who Is the Best Quarterback?

Andre KhatchaturianCorrespondent IIIJanuary 3, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 1:    Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with teammate  Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots after a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills in the second half at Gillette Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

It's not a fluke the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints all made the playoffs again. With the quarterbacks they have, these teams always have a shot to win games.

But from Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, which one is the best right now?

It's not a question that's easily answered.

Statistically, these quarterbacks are pretty even. Brees may have the most yards and highest completion percentage, but Rodgers has the fewest interceptions and the most touchdowns. Rodgers may have gone 15-1, but Brady won 13 games with less talent on his team. Brady may have three rings, but the other two might get there soon.

So it's hard to judge the three quarterbacks based on those three. One must judge them based on what they would do on three identical team with players of equal skill. Since that is not feasible, the next thing one can do is to see how these quarterbacks mask organizational flaws.

Peyton Manning did this well. We all saw how bad the Indianapolis Colts were when he didn't play this year. Manning's absence essentially told us the Colts had a terrible team that Manning elevated with his own skill. Elite quarterbacks mask organizational flaws. From the three quarterbacks mentioned above, Brady has done this the best from the three elite quarterbacks. 

Brees is certainly the most accurate and Rodgers puts up video game numbers on a weekly basis.

That being said, Brady is still the best quarterback in the league. He possesses the ability to turn marginal players into magnificent ones. He also has the experience and leadership over Brees and Rodgers. Oh yeah, and two more Super Bowl rings.

A Rodgers fan may point out that, like Brady, Rodgers led a team with an atrocious defense to a 15-1 record. While that's impressive, the Packers also had 31 interceptions, eight more than the team with the second most—the New England Patriots.

Rodgers' offensive personnel also has more talent than Brady's. 

Although Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker are both Pro Bowlers, one can argue the only reason why they've played so well is because of Brady. Evidence for this argument is exemplified through Welker's career statistics.

When Welker played in Miami, he only caught 67 balls in 2006-07. The following season when he went to the Patriots, his reception total nearly doubled. He had more than 1,000 yards for the first time in his career and also caught eight touchdowns.


Welker hasn't caught fewer than 67 catches in a season since he came to New England and Brady has a lot to do with that. 

In other words, give Brady an elite guy like Greg Jennings or Donald Driver and he'd be even better. 

Another example of Brady elevating a teammate was the resurgence of Deion Branch after he returned to New England. With the Seahawks, Branch never caught more than four touchdowns, leading one to believe he's done.

He comes to New England and in 11 games last season he scored five touchdowns. He added another five this season at the fresh age of 32. Branch essentially revitalized his career with Brady.

The point is, Brady has a bunch of marginal players on his team and a terrible defense and he still led the Patriots to the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Branch and Chad Ochocinco are both past their prime. Welker has only exploded statistically because of Brady. 

The same argument can be made for his two tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Who knows if they'd be able to put up the same numbers if Brady weren't their quarterback?

Let's not forget, Brady doesn't have the screen pass like Brees does in New Orleans. He's never had a guy like Darren Sproles or Reggie Bush to dump the ball off to for screen passes. Brees has that option and that's why his vertical game becomes more effective. The defense doesn't know whether he's going deep or short so it has to keep the entire field in check.

With all of that being said, a Brady critic might mention the Patriots haven't won a playoff game since 2007. 

Here's news to you: The playoffs are won based on team efforts. The Patriots as a team this season are terrible. Their defense just gives up too many yards and it won't be surprising if they get matched up with Pittsburgh and lose in the divisional round.

Last season when the Packers won the Super Bowl, their defense was stacked. They had plenty of limitations offensively because of injuries to Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley, but they were able to win because of a stout defense. 

If anything, Brees has the best chance to win the Super Bowl from the three elite quarterbacks because he has the most complete team from them. His defense isn't great, but it can make stops. They also have a great running game highlighted by Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles. But if the Saints win, it doesn't mean Brees is better than Brady. It just means the Saints were better than the Patriots.

Obviously, a Super Bowl victory for Brees or Rodgers means he becomes one step closer to Brady and, since Brady is getting older, he may be the successor for the title of NFL's best quarterback, but for now Brady is king.