It would take one of the most devastating hits in NFL history to launch a dynasty that would change the course of the NFL forever. On that fateful day in 2001, Tom Brady would be given the reigns after franchise quarterback Drew Bledsoe got completely knocked out. After a long and endearing season filled with moments of glory and tuck rules, Tom Brady would go on to win the first of his five super bowl rings.
Often called arrogant and cheaters by the prototypical haters, no one can disagree that the Patriots franchise under Tom Brady and Bill Belichick rivals that of Joe Montana and Joe Walsh or Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson. Tom Brady’s impact on the game can be extrapolated from the superbowl rings on his fingers, but for residents in Boston, it can be felt in the rejuvenation of their once deteriorating franchise.
The Patriot’s are now the sixth most valuable sports franchise in the world, which has served as a big pull for the region, increasing the value of Boston real estate and rate of tourism. The current Patriots’ iteration is also recognized as being the best dynasty of NFL history.
As Tom Brady and the Patriots inevitably make it to the super bowl each year, the same conversation arises. Is Tom Brady truly the greatest of all time (G.O.A.T).
Focusing the Debate
Many people have compared Brady to the Michael Jordan or Babe Ruth of football, pulling off amazing comebacks and jaw dropping numbers each year. Many also compare him to Lebron James, who serves as a more contemporary juxtaposition. But if we’re going off of rings and super bowl appearances alone, how does he compare to clutch Joe Montana?
Taking this debate across different sports is difficult, as football is obviously more unique than other sports. For one, Tom Brady is not the most athletic quarterback of all time, considering that missed grab in the superbowl. Tom Brady doesn’t always put up the most impressive numbers either, building his career off of 5 yard dump passes and 20 yard crosses to 5’8 wide slot receivers and 6’5 tight ends.
Football is also more of a team rounded effort than basketball, where the raw talent of one individual (James and Jordan) can take over a game (Chamberlain’s solo 100 point game, anyone?). In fact, much of Brady’s success could be owed to his coach, Bill Belichick, or a robot posing as a person posing as a robot.
Wilt Chamberlain Holds the Record for Most Points in a Game.
Brady’s impact on the game and the region is obvious, but the same could be made about Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth and so forth. To best analyze this, it’s best to go by the numbers.
A Brief Comparison
Even after Tom Brady retires- 10 years from now- he still won’t go down with the most passing yards or touchdowns in the game. What truly separates Brady from the pack is his clutch, making it to eight total super bowl appearances. But if we’re bringing clutch into the conversation, we shan’t not forget Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw’s perfect 4-0 super bowl record, individually.
Yet, if the Patriots are one thing, it’s consistent, making it to seven straight conference championships this year. They’re like the Jim Kelly of conference championships, except they actually win.
On the other hand, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won six NBA championships, compared to the Patriot’s five. Also, if we’re bringing up consistency, it should be noted that the Bulls had two three-peats over a 7 year stretch.
Brady has been awarded MVP three times and even super bowl MVP four times. Lebron James, on the other hand, has won four NBA MVPs and three NBA finals MVPs. James has also been awarded a first team all-star eight more times than Brady.
Now, the Patriots do not consistently have the greatest teams and maybe survive on the greatest luck at times, but they do have consistency in Brady. It’s hard to compare him to legends like Babe Ruth who competed in a segregated league, or Michael Jordan who also had Scottie Pippen at his side.
You have to give it to Jordan if we’re going off of straight superbowl rings and maybe a player like Lebron for contemporary stats. But in the end, Brady brings all of this together and exemplifies some of the most valued traits of a player. He is the GOAT of the NFL, but of all of sports? The debate will forever rage, although in New England, across all sports, Tom Brady is their GOAT.