In case you didn't hear, former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win on Sunday over the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. Wow. We all knew the narratives and the arguments regarding Tom Brady,
In case you didn’t hear, former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win on Sunday over the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs.
We all knew the narratives and the arguments regarding Tom Brady, his place in NFL history among players, quarterbacks, as well as his standing with the Patriots. This has really been one of the most fascinating years of following a single athlete ever, and it will continue to roll as he sets his sights on another title next season.
There’s just so much to chew on here, but I will start with what I believe is the biggest question at this point.
Where does Tom Brady rank on the list of all-time athletes, whether it be football or not?
In terms of the NFL, I would say his previous Super Bowl victory in 2019 sealed the deal on who was the best quarterback and player ever. But in terms of sports in general, he still did not seem to get the same national - and international - shine as the likes of Michael Jordan, Muhammed Ali, Tiger Woods, Babe Ruth.
Now, with his seventh Super Bowl win and 10th appearance, as well as his fifth Super Bowl MVP, I believe that he has not only earned a place on that transcendent list … but I think you can make the argument that he is at the top of it.
As I am writing this, I keep telling myself to calm down and not get caught up in the recency bias. But as I keep typing away, I can’t play devil’s advocate, even with myself.
Brady’s greatness was on full display on Sunday as he continued to bury, and I mean absolutely, shovel in hand, bury any argument on who the best football player ever is. That is now not even up for debate, there is no objective argument to be made.
But when I compare it to the other all-time greats across North American and international sports, I am still struggling to name a greater, more accomplished athlete.
Jordan? Brady has now won more.
Ruth? Brady won more and holds even more records.
Woods? Woods has more PGA victories, but there are far more events each year than the NFL. Not to mention Brady has remained consistent into his 40’s.
Ali? A cultural icon and one of the greatest boxers, if not the greatest ever, but in perhaps the most challenging team sport to win at, Brady’s greatness overshadows him.
Wayne Gretzky? Sure, Gretzky may have more impressive regular season stats, but in terms of winning and accomplishments beyond numbers, not even close.
And let me make myself clear, I was not trying to tarnish those great athletes. In fact, I am giving them credit in that I believe that handful is the greatest of all time.
Like I said, I believed that Brady should have been on that list prior to this most recent win, but now, there is no argument against it and there are even arguments for him being the greatest athlete of all time.
In terms of the Patriots, for the team, that must have been a gut punch, but for many fans, it was great to see.
The Patriots time and time again in his final few years declined to pay him big or extend his contract and show true commitment. I don’t blame the Patriots, as fit as Brady is, it’s not easy to commit to a player that is already in his 40s.
What I do blame the Patriots and Bill Belichick for though, is their failure to plan ahead and make sure that the post-Brady era would get off to a better start than 7-9 and missing the playoffs.
The Patriots overplayed their hand from the beginning. They clearly believed that Brady would return on a team-friendly deal as he always did. Then when he didn't, they believed that they could coach up anyone under center, and they couldn’t. For that reason, I have to imagine that Sunday was a tough night for Belichick and Robert Kraft. The guy they let walk out the door just hoisted the Lombardi once again, while they are on vacation earlier than they have been in a decade. Ouch.
For fans, some are bitter. I actually commend those feeling that way because that is the ultimate form of loyalty toward the team. No matter what happens, align yourself with your team and believe that it is in the right. I am not even being sarcastic, many people act that way and it is quite admirable.
However, the other group which I am in, was happy to see Brady get it done.
Here comes another layer.
For those of us that are happy for Brady, why are you happy?
The majority will say because they are happy to see their former longtime leader succeed and represent himself with class. Others, like myself, are happy because hopefully this will light a fire in the Patriots to make a splash in the coming months.
Like I said, the Patriots overplayed their hand this past offseason and ultimately paid the price.
Between the sting of a down year and now seeing your ex doing just fine without you, maybe the Pats will avoid the problem this time around.
I am happy for Brady and always embrace the opportunity to see greatness shine, especially when it relates to the New England area. I was proud to have Brady as my QB for 20 years and am proud to see him carrying on now.
I am human though, I do feel a sense of jealousy, and the only way to get rid of the feeling is to see my team respond.
Brady knocked Belichick down this season, but will he knock him out? I guess we will have to just wait and see next year.
As for our local athletes, take note of what we witnessed on Sunday and feel inspired.
A 43-year-old that was sent packing joined a new team in a season marred by a pandemic, but still managed to find a way to win. Let this be a reminder that hard work pays off, as well as mental toughness, physical toughness, and resiliency.
More than anything though … it’s passion. No one has a passion for football and winning like Tom Brady, and now we are seeing the result.