New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady praised Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers at a Friday news conference ahead of Sunday's game.
"He's a great player, and I think he's gonna play his best, he always does," Brady said. "He plays pretty great every week."
Brady has spent the better part of his 19 seasons in the NFL eclipsing virtually every milestone set by his predecessors. Along the way, he's captured every major piece of hardware the league has to offer from multiple MVPs to Super Bowl titles, all while remaining at the top of his game at 41.
But Brady said the Patriots have a challenge ahead of themselves when they square off with the Packers Sunday.
"You see a lot of looks, you prepare for a lot of different things, but they'll probably have some new wrinkles in there this week that we've gotta just adjust on the fly," Brady said. "I think a lot of it is just following our rules, being instinctive when we get out there and then just reacting to what we see."
Rodgers isn't as decorated as Brady, but has been just as celebrated during his 14-year career for a free-wheeling style and an uncanny ability to pull off plays that have been rarely duplicated by his peers.
Between them, they have five regular-season MVP awards, nine Super Bowl appearances and six Super Bowl rings.
The latest news from around the state
Yet when the Patriots host the Packers on Sunday night, it will mark just the second time that the future Hall of Famers have squared off as starting quarterbacks. Rodgers won the first meeting in 2014 in a game in which they combined for 613 passing yards and four touchdowns in Green Bay's five-point victory at Lambeau Field.
Rodgers capped that season by winning his second regular-season MVP trophy. Brady went on to hoist his fourth Super Bowl title.
Watching each other's success from afar has bred a deep respect between them. Rodgers for Brady's longevity. Brady for the skillset Rodgers brings to the position.
"Tom's been at the top of his game for over a decade," Rodgers said. "Obviously, we play a little bit different style of game, but the stuff that he does well is stuff that over my career I've tried to incorporate into my own game."
"I enjoy competing against great players and obviously Tom is right at the top."
It's similar to how Brady describes Rodgers.
"What he's done as a quarterback, I think it is inspiring even for me," Brady said. "I watch his game and it makes me want to get out there and practice and improve because I think he's so phenomenal with the way he manages himself in the pocket and his ability to throw the football is unlike anyone probably in the history of the league.''
Though he wants to play until he's 45, Brady will presumably retire before Rodgers, leaving the 34-year-old time to narrow the gap between them in career numbers.
But neither is interested in playing the hypothetical game about who the better quarterback is.
"I don't really try to get into the 'what-if' game," Rodgers said. "I'm fortunate to have been drafted here and sit behind Brett (Favre) for three years. He was obviously drafted late there ... so his chip might have been a little bit bigger than mine starting out his career."
"There's a lot of pride in that legacy part of your career, and I think him and I both feel the same way about our organizations."
Brady also called any similar debate about the greatest quarterback of all-time a fruitless endeavor. Though he knows one name that belongs on his list.
"It's hard to compare positions and eras. It's impossible to answer," Brady said. "I think Aaron is one of the best ever to play the game. He's got every skill you need to be a great quarterback."