Tom Brady is Jesus
by Chris Bucci on Friday, February 20th, 2015
The National Football League has seen its share of legends throughout the years, from Unitas to Montana or Elway to Manning. However, the NFL has never seen a player as great as Tom Brady, who established himself as the greatest quarterback of all time by defeating the Seahawks in this year’s Super Bowl. Brady’s fourth ring tied him with Joe Montana’s and Terry Bradshaw’s titles for the most of all time as a quarterback. Brady has also appeared in more Super Bowls (4) and started in more playoff games (29) than any other quarterback. The statistics do not lie: no quarterback has ever been as successful as Brady in the playoffs, where he holds records for most playoff wins (21), completions (683), passing yards (7,345), and touchdowns (53).
When talking about other quarterbacks who could be the greatest of all time, the names that are always brought up are Hall of Famers Bart Starr (1956-1971) and Joe Montana (1979-1994), as well as longtime rival Peyton Manning (1998-2014). While each of these players has found incredible success in the league, none of them can match Brady’s regular season and postseason greatness.
Paired with Vince Lombardi, football’s greatest coach, Bart Starr and his Green Bay Packers stomped through all competition and won Super Bowls I and II. However, even though Starr won more championships than Brady (Starr won three NFL championships before the Super Bowl was created), he won them in an era when there was little competition. In contrast, there has only been one team to repeat as Super Bowl champs in the past 15 seasons. Comparing Brady to Starr is like comparing Michael Jordan to Bill Russell: although the former was a star for his time, the level of competition in today’s NFL dwarfs that of Starr and Lombardi’s time.
Prior to Brady’s fourth Super Bowl victory, most fans agreed that Joe Montana was the greatest quarterback to ever grace the sport. Montana won all four Super Bowls that he played in, but cannot match Brady’s stats in the regular season. Montana has a 71.3% win rate over 164 games, while Brady boasts a 77.3% win rate in 207 games. Brady’s career has not only been much longer than Montana’s, but also stronger, as Brady has averaged more passing yards and touchdowns per game than Montana. It is also worth noting that Montana played with Jerry Rice for most of his career, the greatest wide receiver of all time. On the other hand, Brady has had a reliable but constantly changing receiving corps to work with. While Brady and Montana are even in postseason play, Brady’s strength in the regular season, as well as his slightly weaker supporting cast, place him above his idol.
Throughout each of their careers, Brady and Manning have met 16 times, with Brady leading the series 11-5. While Manning’s regular season stats (69,691 yards and 530 touchdowns) are rivaled only by Brett Favre, he has only won a single Super Bowl in three appearances, including a humiliating 43-8 defeat last year at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. Otherwise hailed as the league’s greatest regular season quarterback, Manning has lacked in performance in the postseason. Manning’s inability to finish the season strong in January and February place him a step below Brady in the pantheon of all-time greats.
While the competition is stiff, Brady’s regular season achievements, such as the record breaking 16-0 2007 season, and playoff success is unparalleled. Looking at his achievements and considering that he could play for five more years, Tom Brady has firmly established himself as the greatest quarterback, if not the greatest player, in the history of the NFL.
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