GREEN BAY, Wis. – Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, who will battle for the fifth time in their legendary careers on Sunday, have thrown a lot of touchdown passes.
Rodgers last week against Chicago became the fifth quarterback in NFL history with 450 touchdown passes. He’s at 451 and counting.
“Just means I’ve played a long time,” Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers’ four-time MVP, said on Wednesday, a handful of days before a showdown against Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “Feels good. That’s a lot of touchdowns.”
Indeed, Rodgers has thrown a lot of touchdown passes but nobody has thrown more than Brady, who is No. 1 all-time with 626. While Brady will forever have bragging rights with his seven Super Bowl rings, Rodgers has lapped the field in touchdowns vs. interceptions. Rodgers needs 49 touchdown passes to reach 500 for his career. With only 94 interceptions, he has a shot to reach 500 touchdowns before 100 interceptions. Nobody has come close to that feat. (More on that below.)
“Five to come in under 100,” Rodgers said. “That would be a good stretch of ball to get to that. See if I play that long, see if I get there.”
The “see if I play that long” is an obvious reference to the 38-year-old Rodgers nearing the closing act of his career. While Brady is 45 and retired for about a half-minute during the offseason before changing his mind, Rodgers is in year-to-year mode. Hypothetically, a 45-year-old Rodgers with an average of 30 touchdown passes over the next seven seasons would have a 661 touchdowns. However, Rodgers says he has no interest in playing into his mid-40s,
“I won’t be, I’ll be doing something else,” Rodgers said. “I have a lot of other interests outside the game. Game’s been really really good to me. I feel I’ve given my all to the game. At some point, it’ll be time to do something else, and I strongly believe that’ll be before 45.”
In four prior matchups, Brady’s teams are 3-1. In the biggest of those games, the Buccaneers beat the Packers in the NFC Championship Game in 2020 at Lambeau Field. The Packers would have met the Patriots in the Super Bowl had they not suffered a colossal meltdown in the 2014 NFC Championship Game at Seattle. Rodgers missed the 2010 game at New England with a concussion.
They’ve gotten to know each other over the years and have immense respect for what they’ve accomplished and what it took to reach those accomplishments. That started with encounters at the Kentucky Derby and included made-for-TV golf events, like the one this year when Rodgers and Brady combined to beat Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
“I enjoyed beating him in 2014. That was fun. And I enjoyed winning The Match with him in 2022,” Rodgers said. “He’s a great competitor. So, I enjoy watching him play, enjoy the years of memories watching. We’ve played a few times over the years but a lot of respect for his game and what he’s accomplished in this league. Hard to find the words.”
Here are the five quarterbacks with 450 career touchdown passes, their touchdown-to-interception ratios and how many interceptions they had when they threw No. 450.
Tom Brady, Buccaneers and Patriots
Career touchdown passes: 626 (and counting)
Career touchdown-to-interception ratio: 3.07 (fourth all-time)
Interceptions at time of 450th touchdown pass: 152
Drew Brees, Chargers and Saints
Career touchdown passes: 571
Career touchdown-to-interception ratio: 2.35 (11th all-time)
Interceptions at time of 450th touchdown pass: 211
Peyton Manning, Colts and Broncos
Career touchdown passes: 539
Career touchdown-to-interception ratio: 2.15 (15th all-time)
Interceptions at time of 450th touchdown pass: 209
Brett Favre, Packers, Jets and Vikings
Career touchdown passes: 508
Career touchdown-to-interception ratio: 1.51 (49th all-time)
Interceptions at time of 450th touchdown pass: 292
Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Career touchdown passes: 451 (and counting)
Career touchdown-to-interception ratio: 4.80 (first all-time).
Interceptions at time of 450th touchdown pass: 94