By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s nothing new to see writers make the case for another quarterback being better than Tom Brady, whether right now or all-time. But this newest take is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
It’s easy for many in New England to overreact or exaggerate when battling back against writers and pundits who use stats, analytics, or just straight-up scorching takes to explain why Joe Montana or Peyton Manning are better all-time than Brady, or why Aaron Rodgers is better right now. But you should at least be able to accept a baseline criteria that the argument is related to actual football.
Arguments like the one made by the Huffington Post’s Percell Dugger are simply unacceptable.
In a new column on Thursday, Dugger made perhaps the worst football argument of all time to posit that Rodgers is a better quarterback than Brady. That’s because the argument has nothing to do with football. It’s entirely because of politics. The headline alone, “Trump Supporting Tom Brady Will Never Be As Great As Aaron Rodgers”, reads like an op-ed from ClickHole.
“That being said, Tom Brady’s trumpy reputation, gets sacked when compared to the social consciousness and cultural savviness of Aaron Rodgers,” Dugger’s article says. Slick turns of phrase, but totally unrelated to football. That’s problematic, seeing as literally the first sentence of the article is “For sometime now people have been debating on who is the best quarterback in the NFL.”
To be fair, Dugger is at least thinking outside the box here. Can’t make the same tired “Rodgers over Brady” arguments using tired tropes like arm strength, mobility, deep ball accuracy, or ability to throw on the run. Better to just skip the football stuff and go straight to their thoughts on taxes and the budget and the judicial system.
He’s obviously proud of the story; he’s only tweeted it five times in a span of six hours.
Dugger goes on to explain that he is disappointed Brady is still as celebrated as he is despite his support (or lack of criticism) for President Donald Trump, while Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job. The article stems from Rodgers’ recent public support of Kaepernick, whom he believes is only unemployed because his national anthem protests create too much of a distraction and not because of his diminished football skills.
Then, after somehow circling it back to football, Dugger concludes: “Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL because he has all the accolades to prove it. He also genuinely respects and supports the plight of black and brown people. I wish I could say the same for that other guy.”
He also shoehorned his argument into a YouTube video, which essentially says Rodgers’ football accolades are equal to Brady and his social consciousness is what puts him over the top as a football player.
“Mr. Madison, what you just said …”
So according to Mr. Dugger, Rodgers’ accomplishments are exactly the same because he’s a “Super Bowl champion”. So 5 = 1 in this man’s world, apparently.
Look, I’m not here to argue about Kaepernick, or Trump, or how Rodgers or Brady feel about either of them. I’m here to say that it’s utterly preposterous to frame a political discussion as a football argument, as a reason why it makes Rodgers a better quarterback.
If you want to argue that you respect Rodgers more as a person, if you believe he’s a better ambassador for the game, then go for it. But keep that in the political sphere, which is clearly Dugger’s forte. Keep it off the football field. What Dugger did here is take an argument about role models and broader social issues and somehow cram it into a sports take. In turn, he undermined his own credibility and took the focus off what he was really trying to argue, which are admittedly important issues.
They’re just not important to the game of football. It couldn’t have less to do with arguing who’s the better football player.
Next time, Mr. Dugger, keep the word “quarterback” out of your arguments. You know full well it had nothing to do with football, yet you tried to frame it as such. You took something that could be worth talking about and made it a laughingstock.
Criticize Brady for his political stances (or lack thereof) or his relationship with Trump all you want. But if you’re going to argue about quarterbacks, you better have some actual sports arguments ready if you don’t want to embarrass yourself.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, CBS, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @Dolloff985 and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.