It’s hard to play better than Tom Brady did Thursday night.
Yet despite the New England Patriots quarterback’s elite performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers, there still are two NFL quarterbacks who will have him beat this season.
That’s the consensus of 28 executives from around the league, who were asked by NFL Media’s Albert Breer in August to predict who the NFL’s top five quarterbacks will be at season’s end. Here were their responses:
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
2. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
3. Tom Brady, Patriots
4. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
5. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Patriots fans might disagree, but it’s hard to argue with putting Rodgers and Luck at the top. Breer asked the executives not to factor in past history when making their decisions, and they had particularly high praise for Rodgers, who received 18 of 28 first-place votes.
“He’s so smart, so accurate, so competitive, such a fast decision maker,” an NFC exec told Breer. “And I know it’s generic to say a lot of this, but he really is a 10 out of 10 in a lot of categories.”
League executives did acknowledge Brady will be especially motivated this season — something we certainly found out in Week 1 — and that he isn’t exactly a guy you want to face in a big game.
“I think he’s coming back with a chip on his shoulder, like he did after they lost a couple games early last year,” an NFC exec said of Brady. “He’s such a competitor — no one like him — and he’s got the proven track record. And I think what I’d based it on is, of all these guys, I sure don’t want to be playing against him.”
A notable name left out of the Top 5: Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who NFL executives ranked 6th.
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images
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