Patriots vs Packers – Recapping Super Bowl XXXI and QBs

Everyone thinks about the New England Patriots and immediately think about Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, and their success together has been second to none. But before this duo took over the NFL, the Patriots did have other Super Bowl appearances, including 1997, when they lost to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI.

History of Aaron Rodgers vs Tom Brady

Sunday Night Football this week will feature the Packers vs Patriots. It’s kind of amazing that these teams never faced off in a Super Bowl during this era. Blame the Packers front office and even coaching staff for failing Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers only Super Bowl appearance was a 2010 win over the Steelers. The Steelers beat the Patriots, of course, to get there. In 2014, Green Bay lost in the NFC Championship game to the Seahawks and Seattle would go on to lose to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. That was Rodgers best chance to face Brady.

More amazing, than not facing off in a Super Bowl, these two QBs have only started against each other once, a 2014 Packers victory. Rodgers threw for 368 yards and 2 TDs and Brady threw for 245 yards and 2 TD. Business as usual for both future Hall of Fame QBs. Rodgers missed the 2010 game, which was started by Matt Flynn. The only other time they faced off was 2006, Rodgers second year and he came off the bench in the 4th quarter to replace Brett Favre in a 35-0 defeat.

History of Packers vs Patriots

The Packers lead the all-time series against the Patriots 6-5, which includes that 1997 Super Bowl. While Belichick and Brady have proven to be a pretty good combination, before them, Bill Parcells and Drew Bledsoe had penty of success with the Patriots too. As did Mike Holmgren and Brett Favre with the Packers. The crazy thing about comparing the duos, Belichick took over the Patriots four years after Parcells left (Pete Carroll coached in-between). Mike Sherman was the coached in-between Holmgren and Mike McCarthy. The QBs are the same – Brady took over for Bledsoe in 2001 and has never looked back while Rodgers took over for Favre in 2008 and never looked back either.

Despite the presence of Brett Favre, the MVP of that Super Bowl was former Heisman Trophy winner from Michigan Desmond Howard, who is currently an analyst for ESPN on College Football Gameday.

Bledsoe threw 4 interceptions and attempted 48 passes, while RB Curtis Martin had only 11 carries. Packers carried out a much more balanced attack as Favre threw 27 passes, 246 yards, 2 TD and no turnover and Dorsey Levens and Edgar Bennett had 31 combined carries in the backfield.

Sunday’s Game

Sunday Night Football will feature the second and most likely last meeting between these two QBs, which as noted is a shame given their incredible career successes. At 6-2, the Patriots have won 5 straight games and are once again on the verge of running away with the AFC East for what feels like the 75th straight season. The Packers come into Sunday 3-3-1, stuck in the middle of the NFC playoff race. Rodgers has thrown just 1 interception and 13 TD passes while Brady has 16 TD and 7 INT. The Patriots have played better defense and shown a more consistent run game than the Packers and have the edge coming into Sunday.

Can you Packers end the Patriots winning streak and begin building momentum towards a playoff run?

Mike is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and an alum of the University of Cincinnati.

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