Let’s just stop the debate now.
If you don’t have the list narrowed down between legend Joe Montana and the New England Patriots Tom Brady when talking about the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, I’m really not sure your opinion matters too much to the discussion.
After leading the largest fourth quarter comeback in Super Bowl history in the Patriots 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks Sunday evening, Brady took what was a two-week run of questioning his legacy and character about “Deflategate” and reminded everyone that he is the best quarterback of all-time.
It was just a couple months ago, when the rest of the football world were writing off the New England Patriots, after they were beat up and destroyed by the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night football back on September 29th.
The loss dropped New England to 2-2 on the year.
It was such a one sided game, and rough start to the season that ESPN football analysis Trent Dilfer echoed what a lot of the country was feeling, telling TV sets around America “We saw a weak team. The New England Patriots, let’s face it, they’re not good anymore. They’re weak.”
Boy, would that end up being so far from the truth. It’s what I have been learning first hand for years by following the Buffalo Bills. I don’t care how bad it looks; you never count out a Mr. Thomas Brady.
Brady and the Patriots went on win the seven next games. That stretch included blowout wins over both Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos team and Andrew Lucks lead Indianapolis Colts squad.
In total, after that beat down to the Chiefs, the Patriots finished the year 10-2 with the only losses coming to the Green Bay Packers and the Buffalo Bills, in what turned out to be a meaningless game for the season finale.
It was good for yet another AFC East division title; the sixth straight division championship for a team that has won it 12 of the last 14 years.
They then turned into the playoff team that everyone fears every year and knocked off both the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts en route to Glendale, Arizona.
Even after a week of questions and distractions, there wasn’t any doubt that Brady was going to be ready once it was time to actually play the game.
He didn’t disappoint, setting an NFL record for most completions in the big game in going 37 of 50, for 328 yards and four touchdowns.
He was also best when it mattered most, and shook off a pair of ugly interceptions to help erase a 10-point fourth quarter. You want perfection; well that is exactly what Brady was in the fourth quarter, going 13 of 15 for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
The last of the game, a three-yard score to Julian Edelman to put the Patriots up with just 2:02 left to play, gave him the Super Bowl record of 13-career touchdown passes.
The performance lead to his fourth Super Bowl victory, tying him for most all-time with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana. His latest Super Bowl MVP gave him three for his career, also tied for most all-time.
Critics love to point out those two Super Bowl loses, while they mean little now to the legacy Tom Brady has created. Never will he be compared to the likes of Peyton Manning, his biggest competition of this era again, as Brady always saved his best for the biggest of stages. His career playoff winning percentage, which sits at .724, is also an NFL record and ahead of Montana (.696).
He doesn’t just have the statistics to back it up; Brady has one of the most impressive collections of hardware ever, for a quarterback or any other position.
“It’s great. It’s just another one under his belt,” said Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis after the win. “He is going to go down as the greatest quarterback to ever play this game. He is clutch. He is Michael Jordan. He is Tom Brady. You put him in that category of Magic Johnson, all of them, man. Go down the list. He is one of the greatest to ever do it.”
Two MVP awards, twelve divisions titles, three super bowl MVP awards, most Super Bowl appearances by a quarterback in league history, longest span between Super Bowl victories by any quarterback, tied for most for Super Bowl wins, 21-8 lifetime playoff record, fifth all-time in passing touchdowns, third all-time in game-winning drives. Oh, and he has also made the playoffs every full year as a starter (except for 2002).
So where exactly is the debate again?
He has done it for longer, for great consistency than anyone you want to toss in the discussion, Montana included.
And you know what the craziest part of all of this is?
He isn’t even done yet.
“I never put myself in those discussions,” Brady said after the victory. “It’s not how I think. There are so many great players on so many great teams. I just want to enjoy the moment. I’ve been on the other end of this twice. When I was a kid growing up in San Mateo, Joe Montana and Steve Young were my idols.”
“I’ve never played the game to be the greatest ever. All of those discussions aren’t for me. I am just a lucky guy that’s fortunate to be the QB for a great team.”
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