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Tom Brady is the Best of All Time.
Well... Isn't he?
With the 199th pick in the 2000 draft, the New England Patriots selected a relatively unknown quarterback from Michigan named Tom Brady.
With Drew Bledsoe firmly in place as the starter, and with John Friesz and Michael Bishop ahead of him on the roster, nobody expected anything to ever come of him.
In 2014, only five teams carried more than three quarterbacks on the roster, and none of them had a solid answer at quarterback like the Patriots did in 2000.
Imagine a world where the Patriots decided to only keep three quarterbacks and young Tom Brady had ended up on the practice squad.
He would have hung out with the younger players for a year or two before becoming a free agent.
He might have gotten a spot as a backup on a few other teams but getting playtime would've been very difficult.
Of course, here in 2015, we know that isn't what happened.
Brady fought his way up the depth chart until he was Drew Bledsoe's back-up, and then, on September 23rd, the face of the NFL changed forever when Jet linebacker, Mo Lewis hit Bledsoe and knocked him out from the year.
And the rest is history.
Brady went on to win three of the next four Super Bowls and become one of the best quarterbacks in professional football.
Over the course of his career, he'd go on to win 12 division titles (In 13 years as a healthy starter), 6 conference championships, 4 Super Bowls, 3 Super Bowl MVPs, 2 League MVPs, 2 Offensive Player of the year awards, and comeback player of the year.
Along the way, he's accumulated 53,258 yards and 392 touchdowns, both of which are fifth all time.
What's more impressive than that, however, are the 7,345 yards and 53 touchdowns he's thrown in the playoffs, both of which are all time records.
With all these impressive accomplishments, he's gotta be considered the best of all time, right?
Well, let's entertain some arguments.
Well, it's only fair to compare Tom to the other quarterbacks who have won four Super Bowls, right?
I don't think that many people outside of the Steel City would actually argue that Bradshaw is the best of all time.
In my opinion, Terry Bradshaw was the original Eli Manning.
He did just enough to help the Steelers win, but was definitely not the reason they won.
I think we can all agree that the Steel Curtain and a powerful running game were the reasons the Steelers were so dominant in the 70's.
Bradshaw threw 212 TDs to 210 interceptions over 12 years.
Brady has thrown 392 TDs and hasn't even thrown his 200th interception yet.
I know that times have changed and the position has evolved to put more responsibility on the QB than there was back then...
But doesn't that mean that a quarterback who is asked to do more and continues to do more is better?
You wouldn't race the Ford Model T against a Dodge Viper...
We debunked the other QB with 4 Lombardi trophies, so it's time to address the man who Brady idolized as a youth.
Brady's statistics are obviously going to be better, so for sake of the argument, we'll just pretend they don't exist.
We'll just compare the way that both teams affected their franchises.
I mean, Joe was undefeated in Super Bowls, something that Brady can't say.
And! Even though Tom just broke Montana's record for Super Bowl touchdowns, it did take him 6 games when Montana did it in 4.
But, let me just ask you this.
If Calvin Johnson was on the Patriots, wouldn't they be the favorites for the Super Bowl?
I mean, if Brady had a weapon like that on offense, would they ever be the underdog?!
Yeah, well if you ask 10 people who they think the best wide receiver of all time is, I'll bet that 7 will say Jerry Rice.
And if you ask those same 10 people who they think the best safety of all time is, those same 7 people will probably tell you Ronnie Lott.
Exactly. Those 49er teams were littered with Hall of Fame players. There are guys on that team who had hall of fame careers who aren't in Canton BECAUSE of how good those teams were. I mean, Roger Craig helped redefine the runningback position. Guys like Marshall Faulk and Brian Westbrook owe their careers to Craig but he is without a bust in Canton.
How many hall of fame players has Brady been around during his career?
I mean, especially on offense!
Randy Moss gets in, but he was barely a Patriot. Gronk is well on his way to Canton, but it's still too soon to tell.
Outside of that...
Deion Branch? Nah.
Brandon LaFell? Not happening!
Kevin Faulk? Probably not.
Despite playing with mediocre talent and some questionable defensive talent, Brady has played in 9 conference championships and 6 Super Bowls.
He's carried teams to the promised land by himself.
Nobody else can say that, at least not as honestly as Brady can.
If you put Tom Brady on those 49er teams (something we may see before all is said and done), who knows how many rings he could have won.
Okay, let me settle this really fast.
The Average Super Bowl for John Elway (5 Super Bowl Games)
15/30 for 226 yards, >1 TD, 2 INTs. Lost 3/5 games.
The Average Super Bowl for Tom Brady in (6 Super Bowl Games)
27/41 for 268 yards, 2 TDs, >1 INT. Won 4/6 games.
I rest my case.
This is obviously the most compelling argument.
Manning vs. Brady has been the rivalry of the 21st century.
Manning is the first guy on this list where you can bring up statistics.
Peyton Manning has the record for most TD passes in a season as well as all time, and will likely break the record for passing yards in a career if he decides to come back for one more season.
The easy thing here is to say that Peyton Manning doesn't stack up compared to Tom when it comes to the postseason.
Peyton Manning has actually been to the post-season more than Tom Brady has.
Yup. It's true.
While Tom's 12 playoff berths are impressive, Peyton has taken his team to the playoffs 14 times! Very impressive.
You know what isn't impressive?
The fact that in 9 of those 14 seasons, Peyton's team has lost the first game.
Yup. One. And. Done.
Tom's not perfect, he's been one and done as well.
But he's only done that twice, and both of those seasons came after his ACL tear in 2008.
Honestly, it's too easy to compare playoff records.
Peyton being 11-13 doesn't really sound good next to Brady's 21-8.
And the playoff statistics?
While Brady has broken all of the positive records... Peyton hasn't played in enough games to gain ground.
Not to mention that Peyton's teams have been significantly more talented than Brady's.
In years that either team were in the Super Bowl, let me show you how the defenses stack up.
In 2001, Indy was #3 and New England was #8.
in 2003, Indy was #22, and New England was #26.
In 2004, Indy was #4, and New England was #24.
In 2006, Indy was #12, and New England was #27.
in 2007, New England's defense was slightly better, at #29, but Indy was #30.
In 2009, Indy was #15, and New England was #22.
You get the picture.
Throughout their careers, Peyton always had more offensive talent and better defenses but he was never able to get the wins that counted.
Here's what takes the cake for me.
In 2013, Peyton's Broncos played the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
In 2014, Brady's Patriots played the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
Why don't you tell me which teams were more talented and what the results of both games were.
Yeah. So... Not Peyton.
To sum it up...
It's pretty obvious that Tom Brady is the best quarterback to ever play in the NFL.
Andrew Luck might be able to steal that throne eventually if Irsay gives him the right supporting talent, but for now, I think the only way you ague against Brady is if you're biased.
In which case, you need to remember that you're supposed to think with your head, not your heart.