Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers struggle like neither could have imagined in the dusk of their Hall of Fame careers

Aaron Rodgers was dazed, his face planted in the grass, a dashing wash in his head. Tom Brady stood with his hands on his hips and his head staring at his boots, the image of frustration and failure.

Two needless Hall of Famers, two pathetic losses in a season when that’s become the norm and Super Bowl dreams become a fantasy.

Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers lost to Taylor Hynek and Washington 23-21. Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to PJ Walker and Carolina, 21-3.

Both teams are 3-4 years old in a conference now looking to go through Philadelphia, New York or Minnesota, not those two. Rodgers is 38 years old. Brady is 45 years old. They both play to win the Super Bowls, not just hoping that they can find something hitherto unseen in their teams in order to squeak, one way or another, the playoffs.

In the past week, the two seemed agitated and even angry – Brady was screaming on his offensive line. On Sunday it felt as though a bitter resignation was beginning to emerge.

They muttered while breathing. They passively stood on the sidelines. They searched for the answers, if not the energy to find them. Rodgers is still talking about a good game – “I’m not worried about this squad.” Brady can’t seem to muster the effort.

“No one is satisfied with where we are,” Brady said. “No one is satisfied with the way we played or how we are doing.”

Tom Brady and the Buccaneers fall far short of their Super Bowl aspirations at this point in the season, but there don’t seem to be any easy fixes. (Photo by Eiken Howard/Getty Images)

Their teams are not good. Their teammates are not good. And if both are honest, it’s not good either, at least not good enough to raise these lists at anything. Surrounded by so many talents – the kind Brady sought out in Tampa Bay when he left New England in 2020 – they might still be able to do something. However, it is not.

Tampa Bay’s only blessing this season is that even at 3-4, it’s tied for first in the terrible NFC South. Until then, Brady wasn’t here to somehow get back into the playoffs at 8-9 and crush him. The guy has seven Super Bowl titles and the New York Post is full of off-field issues to deal with.

On Sunday, the league’s biggest winner lost to a team that sacked their head coach, traded their best player, and lost 12 of their previous 13 games…and was starting at quarterback as an uncredited free agent outside Temple with two touchdowns in their careers.

And it wasn’t close.

Meanwhile, The Packers are a full 3.5 game behind the Vikings in the NFC North, who lost to them in Week 1. They still have to visit Buffalo and Philly, among other parts of a tough schedule. Rodgers may not be as old as Brady, an eccentric person in longevity, but he is reaching an age where quarterbacks generally fade from effectiveness.

However, maybe he needs help, he doesn’t have Davante Adams or much talent in reception (four points against Washington). His offensive streak is messy (only one had started Sunday the previous week in the same position). Running game is almost non-existent (38 yards on Sunday). Rodgers only had 47 yards in the first half and there was no turning around for third against Washington.

“It’s not about winning football,” Rodgers said.

If there’s one thing these two people know, it’s winning football.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers lose, and they're not used to it in Green Bay.  (Photo by John McDonnell/Washington Post via Getty Images)

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers lose, and they’re not used to it in Green Bay. (Photo by John McDonnell/Washington Post via Getty Images)

In seasons as the quarterback, Brady has never lost a losing season and has at least 10 wins in 19 of his 20 campaigns. Rodgers only had two years, one of which was his first year as a rookie. It’s a key part of what makes this so amazing. It’s not just that the NFL is used to seeing these two teams compete in depth in January and February, these twin towers of continued excellence. It almost doesn’t look bad or the same.

In this case, it’s worse. What are the possible solutions? And even if they both rallied somehow to spend 6-4 or 7-3 the rest of the way, is that good enough for what they’re playing for, which is everything?

Tampa Bay cannot run the ball – 46 yards against the Panthers. He can’t protect Brady in the pocket and he can’t scramble. There is no speed outside. He has scored more than 21 points only once this season.

Meanwhile, Green Bay heads to Buffalo as a loser by 10.5 points, the largest margin ever for Rodgers in the NFL.

Rodgers offered, “This might be the best thing for us this week,” hoping that the No Expectations card will help in some way.

Except this is Green Bay. and Tampa Bay. This is Rodgers and Brady. There will always be expectations. There will always be a spot of light. They happen to lose lines that don’t happen to them. It is open season for them.

Old and upset, they both seem to be rocking career-end struggles that neither of them might have ever imagined.

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