I will say this under my breath with a soft-spoken tone.
I will not call him the greatest of all-time. That belongs to the late Muhammad Ali however Tom Brady is the best quarterback of all-time.
Super Bowl LI was an epic failure on behalf of the Atlanta Falcons. The game should have never been won by the New England Patriots, however the final score is why Brady has a ring for the thumb now.
Brady led the Patriots on five straight scoring drives that equaled 31 straight points in the comeback win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
“Tom has had a lot of great ones. Tonight was one of them,” coach Bill Belichick said, underselling the obvious.
When Brady and the Patriots came away with a last-second win over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, Joe Montana still had the edge with Brady closing in by a nose. That win made Brady 4-2 in final games of the football season tying him with Montana and Terry Bradshaw with four Super Bowl wins.
Yes, Montana and Bradshaw both went undefeated in Super Bowls, but I was ready to crown Brady the best quarterback based on his seven Super Bowl trips. In the fashion that he won his fifth ring along with the crown, insert a throne also. Making his seventh Super Bowl appearance and winning five is very remarkable. Boys and girls, he missed the first four games this season because of his Deflategate suspension.
Brady added his fourth Super Bowl MVP award along with his fifth Lombardi Trophy. He is 183-52 as a starter in the regular season. His 25 playoff wins and 63 touchdowns are the most ever. This fall, despite missing the first four games of the season while serving his suspension, Brady threw for 28 touchdowns with only two interceptions. He is at the top of the National Football League for awhile.
Brady has completed more than 6,600 passes to at least 120 receivers. He completed passes to teenage high school teammates who now have their own families, and to teammates at Michigan who are now coaches and entrepreneurs. “He made me better than I was,” says Wes Welker who caught 632 passes from Brady between 2007 and 2012, more than any receiver in Brady’s career.
Separation comes in the preparation. It was at Junipero Serra High where Brady’s competitiveness was born, where he began banging helmets with teammates in celebration of big plays. Importantly it was at Michigan where he decided he would work from dawn until nighttime to improve himself. Brady is a celebrity with a famous wife who is valued more than him and vast resources, yet he returns calls without hesitation, texts and emails.
“To insinuate that this year was somehow different, that this year he competed harder, did anything to a higher degree than he has in the past is insulting to the tremendous effort and leadership and competitiveness that he’s shown for the 17 years that I’ve coached him. It’s been like that every year, every day, every week, every practice. I don’t care if it’s May, August or January. Tom Brady gives us his best every time he steps on the field.”
As a biased Miami Dolphins fan, I concluded on Twitter that the Dolphins will not win a Super Bowl until Brady retires. He turns 40 before next season; he has expressed he would like to play four to five more years if his body cooperates. Based on the foundation of the offense he quarterbacks with more short passes and less deep ones, I rarely see a decline in his game. The four-game suspension added rest and focus, particularly since he was still practicing throws.
His numbers statistically are getting better, not worse. Brady threw for 466 yards in the comeback win versus the Falcons, a Super Bowl record. Over the past years, his yards per attempt have increased from 6.9 in 2013 to 7.1 to 7.6. to 8.2 this season. His interceptions have dropped from 11 in 2013 to nine to seven to two.
Brady will not be called the GOAT. But he is the best of all-time. Don’t say this out loud.