One of the greatest parts of being a sports fan is the debates, dare I say arguments, over just who may be the best. I am here to tell you that no matter the player, and no matter the sport, whoever you think is the greatest, there is someone else who thinks someone else is better (except maybe in the NHL, where I don’t think there can be any debate about the fact that Wayne Gretzky is the GOAT [Greatest Of All Time]. Hell, an argument can be made that no player in any sport had the impact and overall greatness of #99. But that is a debate left for another day).
I mean in the NBA, while I would say most sheep, I mean people, believe that Michael Jordan is the greatest, an argument could be made for Kareem, Wilt, Bill Russell, Magic, Lebron, and the list goes on.
But here, we are going to focus on the NFL, and one Tom Brady.
While trying to debate between a QB, and a linebacker like say Lawrence Taylor, is a tough proposition, I think we can all agree that a quarterback has a greater effect on the outcome of more games over a season and career than a linebacker does.
Should a guy, who is about to start his 10th Super Bowl, who has thrown for more TD’s and the 2nd most yards in NFL history, who has more wins and a better winning percentage (based on at least 100 starts) than anyone else who has ever played the position, be a slam dunk to be the GOAT?
I am here to tell you no, Brady is not the best to ever play the position.
While I will admit there may not have been anyone who is more clutch than TB12. There may be no better winner in NFL history than him, I will show you why calling him the G.O.A.T. is still totally subjective.
True, he stands on the precipice of becoming the only guy to win 7 Super Bowls as a QB (both Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw sit in 2nd place with 4). But, last I checked one of those rings was because Malcolm Butler jumped in front of Ricardo Lockette at the goal line and picked off what could have been a game winning TD for the Seahawks.
Brady’s first two titles were won more on the leg of Adam Vinatieri and the defense than the arm of Tom Terrific. The point being, in a team sport like football especially, it is tough to credit or blame one player specifically for a win or a loss.
So, while his calmness in the clutch, and his overall performances on the games grandest stage are a part of his greatness, they are not the whole reason he is (or is not), the GOAT.
As a matter of fact, even stats can be manipulated in a way to either argue for or against this topic. Just by saying that nobody has thrown for more TD’s and only one player has more yards than Brady would make it seem like he really has no peers.
But if I were to turn it around and say that Brady is 3rd in both yards per season and TD’s per season, it makes him seem a little less of a certainty.
Payton Manning is the best in per season TD passes (32 to 29) and yards (4,231 to 3,960), but because he played 3 fewer seasons (so far), than Brady, the counting numbers for Manning are much lower than those of Brady (by 40+ TD’s and almost 9,000 yards). So just looking at the numbers can be deceiving.
If you want to go by the eye test (which may be the most subjective way of all), I would say that Dan Marino and John Elway were BOTH better QB’s than Brady. But again, that is only from the way I see it, not necessarily the way it actually is.
You also must look at the teams and coaching staff surrounding the players. For most of their careers, Brady and Marino were coached by two (Bill Belichick and Don Shula) of the greatest coaches in NFL history, so that had to have helped as well.
So, is it fair to call Tom Brady the greatest winner in NFL history? Well, no QB has more regular season or post season wins. No QB has won more Super Bowls, and I guess that is the reason why you play the game, to win and win at the highest level. But still, it is very subjective.
If I were starting a team from scratch and I had to choose one QB in his prime to lead my squad would it be Tom Brady? Believe it or not, I would have to say no. John Elway had better arm strength and mobility. Dan Marino had a quicker release. Before writing this article, I would have said Marino would be my choice, but after doing the research and talking to former players, I think Elway would be my choice.
Yes, as with everything in life, there is a little bias involved. After all, as a long-suffering Buffalo Bills fan, I grew to hate Brady. But I think the only sure thing you can say as to who is the GOAT is this, Tom Brady is one of five to 10 QB’s who can, without argument be, lay claim to saying that he truly is one of the greatest.