Instant Debate

Tom Brady or Andrew Luck: Best QB after MVP Aaron Rodgers?

It's "Aaron Rodgers Week" on NFL Network, with programming celebrating the 2014 league MVP. The Green Bay Packers star is widely considered the best quarterback in the NFL at this juncture. But here's a question that should generate debate: After Rodgers, who is the No. 2 QB in today's game?

Andrew Luck and Tom Brady are both very bright, and of course Brady is light years more accomplished, including in this past postseason, when his Patriots easily dispatched Luck's Colts in the AFC title game en route to winning Super Bowl XLIX. But Luck has the stronger arm, and he's a better athlete, in terms of his ability to move around without getting trapped or sacked. Brady has the edge in intangibles, but Luck isn't far behind -- and, crucially, Luck is 12 years younger, which is ultimately why I'd put him ahead of Brady in that No. 2 slot right now.

The bottom line is, Luck did more with a very average football team than anybody else in the NFL last season. He's a young guy who has the mental toughness and tools necessary to be a superstar for the foreseeable future. Tom Brady was No. 2 on my year-end quarterback rankings, and he certainly didn't do anything to change that during the Patriots' Super Bowl run. Brady has remarkably held off the ravages of time by never stopping to adjust his game. His feet were more of a factor in 2014 -- really. While he wasn't Russell Wilson, more plays were made after the pocket broke down. He still stands tall against pressure and he reads defenses faster than ever so that he can get rid of the ball quickly.

I'd rather have Andrew Luck long-term, but Brady resides at No. 2 now. My choice is Tom Brady. Yes, there are throws he can't make as well as other QBs (see: deep balls, particularly ones outside the hash marks), but his ability to play well in big games cannot be denied. He improves as the season goes along -- the bigger the game, the better he is. His leadership is as good as it gets. He seems to execute the Patriots' ever-changing game plan flawlessly each and every week. The guy now has four Lombardi Trophies in six Super Bowl appearances -- and the two losses were not his fault: Miraculous catches and/or throws beat him.

Lastly, when you look at the receivers Brady has played with ... well, it makes you appreciate him even more. Give me Andrew Luck. He's the only quarterback in the league today who has the ability and upside to match Aaron Rodgers' current level of greatness. In fact, if you gave Luck the Packers' coaching staff and cast of playmakers, I'm not sure he wouldn't rival Rodgers' production right now.

A major goal for the Colts this offseason is to address the middling cast around their dynamic young passer. If they do, don't be surprised if it's Luck who's collecting MVP hardware the night before the Super Bowl. Before we go crowning Aaron Rodgers, how about taking a moment to recognize Tom Brady? The man just won his fourth Super Bowl with far less talent on offense than the Packers house.

OK, that said, Brady's brilliant, career-capping moment doesn't make him today's top quarterback. Or even No. 2. Behind Rodgers, I have to go with Andrew Luck. He has all the trappings of a rockstar passer set to rule the league for another 15 years. The build, the arm, the leadership, the obsessive desire to win -- it's all there. Colts fans have gone from one pile of riches to the next in traveling from Peyton Manning to Luck. The latter has a chance to be even better than the former.

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