Tom Brady did it again, he led his team to a fifth Super Bowl title Sunday night and this was his most improbable yet. When everyone had counted Brady and the New England Patriots out of Super Bowl LI, he somehow lifted them to yet another title. There will be a ton of discussion over the next few days and weeks over what the biggest factor in New England’s incredible comeback was, but there should be no argument about one thing: Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
Love him or hate him, Brady is the best to ever play the position. There can be no doubt about it now. Not only has he has consistently put up monster numbers during his career, he’s also led his team to wins and titles. No quarterback has ever matched his seven Super Bowl appearances or five championships, and noother NFL player has ever been MVP of the big game four times. On Sunday night when he team needed him the most, Brady stepped up and produced a masterpiece.
The Atlanta Falcons led the Patriots 21-0 in the first half following a terrible pick-six by Brady. Then Atlanta jumped out to a 28-3 lead midway through the third quarter. No one thought New England could come back, but Brady calmly got his team together, things slowly started to click. The Patriots proceeded to reel off 25 straight points to tie the game at 28 with less than a minute remaining in regulation.
In overtime, the Patriots got the ball and Brady calmly drove them down the field, tossing darts all over the field. Then, James White was able to finish off the Falcons less than four minutes into the extra frame with a two-yard run, ending the insane 34-28 comeback. Brady and his offense were held to just three points through the first 42 minutes of the game. In the final 22 minutes they scored 31. I’m not sure we’ve ever seen a turnaround like this in football history.
Despite several key drops from his receivers and an offensive line that seemed to be leaking Falcons defenders throughout the night, Brady remained calm. He was under duress all game while being sacked five times and hit eight others. But the 39-year-old was never rattled for long, as he completed 43 of 62 passes for 466 yards and two touchdowns.
What Brady did this season is nothing like Peyton Manning limping to the finish line in his final season. While Manning struggled all year in 2015 before going out on top, Brady likely would have won the MVP had he not been suspended for the first four games of the season. He may be 39 but the guy is still playing like an elite quarterback.
Since sports are so heavily stat-driven these days, I can give you all the all-time numbers you so desperately want. Brady is fourth in career passing yards (61,582), fourth in passing touchdowns (456), third in passer rating (97.2) and is tied with the second-lowest interception percentage of all-time (1.8). He’s a two-time MVP, four-time All-Pro and a 12-time Pro Bowler while also being named to the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team.
During his 17-year career, Brady has never thrown more than 14 interceptions in a season, he’s topped 4,000 yards eight times and 3,500 yards 14 times (and he missed an entire season due to injury and didn’t start a game as a rookie). In his 15 seasons as a full-time starter, the Patriots have won 10 or more games 14 times and 12 or more 11 times. They have won 14 AFC East titles during his career and have taken home the last eight in a row. But here’s the stat that separates Brady from his competition: his all-time winning percentage as a starting quarterback is 77.9, which puts him behind only Otto Graham (81.0) and Daryle Lamonica (78.4) all-time. That’s remarkable.
Brady’s legacy will always be tainted by scandal, as “Deflategate” and “Spygate” ate up national headlines for too long to be forgotten. But on the field, there’s no one who has ever been better at his position.
For years, there were debates about who was “the best” quarterback in NFL history. Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana have always had cases in that discussion alongside Brady. Sunday night’s incredible, improbably, impossible comeback changed that forever.
There is no debate anymore. Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all-time and it’s not even worth arguing.