Anybody who’s paid even a little amount of attention to football in the past few years can probably tell you who Tom Brady is. It doesn’t take a die-hard fan to know that the Patriots quarterback has been the NFL’s poster boy for quite some time now. Although on NFL Gridiron Gab we acknowledge the ongoing debate on whether he is the greatest of all time, for the sake of this article we will temporarily put that aside and show how the six-time Super Bowl champion has already achieved that status.
Simply put, pure numbers tell us Tom Brady has achieved more than many of his contemporaries. Brady holds the record for the most number of regular season wins by a starting quarterback (207) and playoff wins (30), according to statistics compiled by Pro Football Reference. It is no surprise that a player of this caliber also holds the record for the most number of Super Bowl MVPs (4). Perhaps what makes these statistics even more jarring is the fact that he’s still going strong at 41 years of age – an age where most athletes would have long retired.
One past athlete that Brady is most often compared to is the legendary Joe Montana. Detractors of Brady point out that he has lost in three of his nine Super Bowl finals appearances, while the 49ers man has never lost a Super Bowl. Although some say that this complicates his near-perfect footballing legacy, it still doesn’t erase the fact that Brady has won six Super Bowls (so far) compared to Montana’s four, against arguably tougher competition. Brady wins in a comparison of their individual performances as well: a 1.8 interception percentage compared to Montana’s 2.6, 63.8 completion percentage versus 63.2 and almost twice the number of touchdowns. As per an article by Bleacher Report, Brady has already surpassed Montana in many ways.
Critics also point out that when compared to leadership abilities and football IQ, Brady falls somewhat short in comparison. There is a reason, after all, why Joe Montana’s uncanny ability to keep calm under pressure earned him the nickname of “Joe Cool” and why Peyton Manning’s brain is constantly picked for the way he kept his sack numbers so low (303 in 17 seasons). Many also like to point out that Brady has always had a good supporting cast in the form of Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, etc. and never had to rally a team of underdogs to win from behind like legend Johnny Unitas.
Yet this doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the makings of a leader, as writer John Baldoni notes how Tom Brady is seen as a father figure by his teammates, which is only natural being the most senior and most accomplished in the squad. He doesn’t let his famed status go to his head either, and has shown he can be just “one of the guys” by enjoying a beer with his team and poking fun at himself from time to time. Indeed, it’s not every day that someone who has accomplished so much can be that humble and down to earth.
Although Brady has managed to keep relatively free of controversy, he has had to manage his fair share of heat: incidents such as fans from rival teams shining lasers on his face show the extent to which he is hated as much as he is beloved. A new report from CBS Sports details how the fan not only risked the fairness of the game by distracting Brady, but could have also caused possible eye damage. This vitriol even extends to the media harassing his ex-wife Bridget Moynahan after they split. Brady was even in the middle of a legal battle involving a picture taken of him with Celtics manager Danny Ainge as Special Counsel describes how Brady was joining the team’s lobbying efforts to bring the former Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant to Boston. What’s admirable, however, is how Brady managed to weather these challenges, earning him the respect of the league’s coaches and players.
Superstars from other sports have nothing but good words for him, with one example from Boston.com that details how Kevin Durant had this to say about the QB: “Seeing someone so successful at his craft, and just a great ambassador for the game of football and the city of Boston, it was great to be in the presence of greatness.” As someone who has shown greatness both on and off the field, Tom Brady truly deserves the title of the league’s greatest quarterback.