Can’t we all just agree that Tom Brady is the GOAT (greatest of all time)? It’s almost unbelievable that we are still having the conversation. If you’re someone who simply believes that Joe Montana is truly the greatest because he was the first person ever to go undefeated in four Super Bowls, that’s fine. There is much more to this argument these days, especially when you consider the body of work that Brady has submitted throughout his career.
The main lynchpin in this debate remains that Joe Montana never lost in the Super Bowl, which sort of echoes with one of the main tenants of the Jordan-LeBron argument that goes back-and-forth every year. Football is (very generally) a different beast in this regard, because players don’t play both ways like they do in football. Brady can produce historic outputs while his defense blows it. That was the case last year when he put up 505 passing yards in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.
In this regard, football fans have become much more forgiving of Brady’s exploits to a certain degree because “football is a team sport”. There are obviously those that will brand him as a cheater, and another faction of football fans that don’t like the Patriots regardless of what they accomplish. But the sheer volume of his achievements is making it impossible to ignore his candidacy as the best player this game has ever seen.
There are a lot of fun facts to list when making the case that Tom Brady is the GOAT, but these three stick out the most:
- Brady owns 13 Super Bowl records including most wins (5), touchdown passes (18), and passing yards (2,576)
- With 9 appearances, Brady has played in more Super Bowls than any other franchise (Denver, Dallas and Pittsburgh have been in the Super Bowl 8 times each)
- Brady has won more playoff games (29) than any other quarterback has played in (Peyton Manning appeared in 27 playoff games while Joe Montana played in 23)
Since he arrived on the scene, the former 6th round pick has led an offense that has never ranked outside of the top-10 in terms of scoring. For the past 15 seasons, the Patriots have averaged a ranking of 2.5 (i.e. 2nd or 3rd best) when it comes to putting up points since 2005. That’s insane. Take in to consideration the fact that even when he had game-changing weapons, such as Randy Moss and Rob Gronkowski, Brady’s never had a full outfit of superstars around him. This is not the Golden State Warriors. This is Tom Brady elevating the play of his teammates to an obscenely consistent standard.
It’s very true that Joe Montana had Jerry Rice and arguably not much else, but the 49ers never enjoyed prolonged success at this level. Which feeds in to another tidbit about why Tom Brady is the GOAT – his age. At 41 years old, Brady will become the oldest player to start in a Super Bowl and shows no signs of really slowing down.
Critics love to nag on Brady’s seemingly lacking athleticism, but many forget that he was selected in 1995 MLB Draft by the Montreal Expos, who projected Brady as an All-Star caliber catcher. The argument can be made that he’s not as athletic as Patrick Mahomes, DeShaun Watson, Drew Brees or a countless number of his contemporaries, but it’s not fair to say that he’s not an athlete. Four of the five oldest players remaining in the NFL are kickers. The fifth is Brady.
If the New England Patriots lose Super Bowl LIII as 2.5-point favorites against the Los Angeles Rams, does that take away his title as the greatest ever? It shouldn’t. Nobody has ever done it at this level for this long with this many accomplishments. When you consider the scope of his career, and his team’s success throughout, it will take a monumental effort to dislodge Brady from the top of this list. After all, it’s taken Brady over 15 seasons and 5 Super Bowl victories in 8 appearances to wrestle the title from Montana decisively.