Trent Dilfer Says Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers' Modern-Day Feats Are 'Not Impressive'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 6, 2023

FILE - Trent Dilfer talks during ESPN's Monday Night Countdown before an NFL football game between the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles, Sept. 19, 2016, in Chicago. Dilfer, who has been coaching a high school team in Tennessee for the last four years, is the leading candidate to become the new coach at UAB, a person with knowledge of the search told The Associated Press on Tuesday night, Nov. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File

Former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer channeled his inner Shania Twain when discussing a pair of future Hall of Famers.

During the 30 for 30 documentary Bullies of Baltimore, Dilfer referenced the various rule changes the NFL has seen that have made the lives of quarterbacks far easier compared to past generations, explaining that "the modern-day game does not impress me."

"It's super easy when you don't get hit as a quarterback and when you can't reroute receivers and when you can't hit guys across the middle," he said. "I love Tom Brady. I love Aaron Rodgers. I love these guys. It's not impressive."

Robert Griffin III @RGIII

Trent Dilfer is not impressed with Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. <a href="https://t.co/oVoNVtF4AT">pic.twitter.com/oVoNVtF4AT</a>

There's no question the landscape has dramatically shifted for NFL quarterbacks, and it goes well beyond the rules the league has instituted toward improving player health and safety.

Decades ago, you could use the phrase "pro-style offense," and fans would have a broad grasp of what that looked like in practice. Now, coaches are getting more and more creative as they embrace the spread offense and concepts that were previously utilized only in the lower levels.

When Dilfer and the Baltimore Ravens won a Super Bowl in 2000, Peyton Manning led the NFL in passing yards with 4,413. He was one of three passers to eclipse 4,000 yards through the air.

Five years later, it was the same story. Tom Brady (4,110) and Trent Green (4,014) were the only 4,000-yard passers. By 2010, however, five quarterbacks hit that threshold, with Manning and Philip Rivers both going for 4,700-plus yards. The number swelled to 12 by 2020.

Even taking that into consideration, Dilfer's comments come off as unnecessarily dismissive of Brady's and Rodgers' performance.

The pair can only work within the confines of their environment, and their success relative to their peers leads you to believe they'd excel in any era.

The notion that playing quarterback is easier now that it was years or decades ago also isn't reflected in how much elite QBs are coveted by their respective teams. If the job were "super easy" like Dilfer said, then you'd think teams could sign some veteran retread in free agency or pluck a college star in the middle stages of the NFL draft and be set.

That couldn't be further from the truth.