Why Tom Brady is a Special Quarterback...not just an All Time Great
Is Tom Brady an All Time Great?
Today on championship Sunday in 2013 Tom Brady and his Patriots team are taking on the Baltimore Ravens for a shot at the 2013 Super Bowl. One of the story lines is the greatness of Tom Brady vs. Ray Lewis. It is a terrific story line because these are two of the best a their respective positions.
It is probably not debatable that both of these players are all time greats. There are any number of stats to back that up. The impact Ray Lewis has had on the game is formidable. The longevity playing at such a high level at such a violent position is almost unthinkable.
Much the same could be said for Tom Brady. Multiple Superbowl wins. Long term dominance at his position. It is not hard to make a case for either of these players that they are destined for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Better yet, you could easily make the case that both of these players in the the conversation for the best ever or at least in the top 3 at their position. However, Brady among his peers stands out as truly special and unique.
Tom Brady & Team Sports
What makes Tom Brady so special amongst his peers? Simply put, he plays a team sport without an all star supporting cast. He's the only All Star. What do I mean by that? Let's look at other teams that have won multiple Super Bowls as a team.
For instance look at the Dallas Cowboys Circa Early 90's. It was a team lead by Troy Aikman. He had amongst his supporting cast Hall of Famers, Micheal Irvin & Emmit Smith. You can also count HOFer Deion Sanders who played in the last one for the Cowboys.
Go back to the 80s' version of the 49ers. They had Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Fred Dean, Jerry Rice, Steve Young. Not all played in all the Super Bowls but there were multiple members on each of those teams who were HOFers.
Go way back to the 70's Steelers. They were stacked. Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Mel Blount, Jack Ham, Joe Greene, Mike Webster. Dominant teams lots of HOFers.
Each of these teams who dominated a period of time, was supported by multiple HOFers. Even if you look at dominant teams who never quite won the Super Bowl like the Buffalo Bills circa early 90's, they had a run where they were in 4 consecutive Super Bowls. They may never had won it but they were certainly dominant. They had the likes of Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, James Lofton...all HOFers.
The point is that teams that dominate for a period of time tend to have multiple Hall of Fame players as part of the cast of those teams. Tom Brady had very little of that supporting cast.
Bradys' Supporting Cast
For much of his history with the Patriots, Tom Brady has been the lone superstar. There were 2 seasons and parts of a 3rd where Brady had Randy Moss. They had to use the kid glove treatment just to keep his head where it needed to be. There might be some case made that perhaps Richard Seymore might have some HOF qualifications but he's not a lock. Same goes for Vince Wilfork who has an outside chance.
The point is, most of Brady's supporting cast has been a bunch of talented players, but not HOF type players. Players who fill a role and know what they are supposed to do and are able to execute their role. It's not like the Steeler's or 49er's of old who just had more talent to go along with desire.
This is what sets Brady apart from his peers. His long run of success with a bunch of plug in parts. Talented and smart no doubt but not Hall of Fame worthy.
So hate him if you must but enjoy the talent while you can watch because he doesn't have many years left playing at such a high level.