Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback to ever pick up a football.
As a lifelong Ravens fan and career Brady-hater, I never thought that notion would even cross my mind, let alone appear in a piece with my name in the by-line. But after witnessing Tom Terrific’s performance in Super Bowl LI, I finally gave in.
Brady had a slow start to the game at best, especially under the lofty standards he has set for
himself over the course of his career. The Patriots offense looked anemic in the first half and the Pats quickly found themselves down 18 points at the break. Brady was not playing well and had just thrown a crucial pick six in the waning moments of the first half with his team about to enter the red zone. It appeared that this might’ve sealed the Patriots’ fate.
Unfazed and undeterred, Tom came out in the second half and did what all the greats have done over the years: adjust and finish strong. Brady did it when the odds were as close to insurmountable as you can get.
Although Brady ended up setting the Super Bowl record for passing yards, stats alone do not tell the story of his MVP performance in the second half. Brady willed his team to victory, making clutch play after clutch play to pull the Patriots back into the game. He kept all of his teammates’ minds in the game, never letting them lose faith in themselves as they tried to pull off an unprecedented comeback. Brady was near perfect in the second half, throwing precision pass after precision pass without any more interceptions.
When the game was over, comeback complete, I watched the trophy presentation on TV as the confetti rained down, and one thought ran through my mind: Tom is now the only quarterback to ever win five Super Bowls. Not Joe Montana. Not Terry Bradshaw. Brady. That simple fact alone is hard to dismiss when it comes to splitting the hairs when debating the identity of the best QB ever.
In addition to his five rings, Brady has also been at the helm for some of the greatest statistical feats in the history of the NFL. He threw 50 touchdown passes in 2007, which set the NFL record at the time, en route to leading the Patriots to a perfect regular season. Brady holds 11 Super Bowl records, including four Super Bowl MVPs and is also the NFL’s career leader in playoff victories among starting quarterbacks with 25 career postseason wins. Brady has achieved these feats all while seldom playing with premier offensive talent on the outside, save for three electric seasons with Randy Moss. And while New England’s defense is above-average, it is definitely not the type of defense a franchise can ride to multiple Super Bowls.
The craziest part about all of this? Brady has shown no signs of slowing down. At 39, he threw for 28 touchdowns and just two interceptions in 2016. Brady himself has said he wants to play until he’s 50, and at this rate he just might. It is no longer irrational to think that he has a legitimate chance at winning six or seven Lombardi Trophies before it is all said and done. As a non-Patriots fan, I am hoping for another suspension because that seems like just about the only way to stop Tom Brady.