He was a chubby sixth-round pick draft pick from the University of Michigan who’s now a five-time Super Bowl champion. He’s won the Vince Lombardi trophy more times than Aaron Rogers, Joe Montana or Peyton Manning. He has won more games than any NFL quarterback on the planet. He has thrown for more playoff yards and more playoff touchdowns than any quarterback in the history of the National Football League. He is, without a doubt, the best quarterback of all time. He is Tom Brady.
Now hold on – there are two sides to every argument. It wouldn’t be football without controversy, and answering “who’s the best” might be the most controversial question of all time. The “Tom Brady haters” are quick to point out that head coach of the Patriots, Bill Belichick, is really the one winning games. After all, Tom Brady has had access with a series of remarkable teams that, it could be argued, other quarterbacks might have won Super Bowls with. And it would be ignorant to ignore Brady’s passer rating, 97.6, which falls far short of Aaron Rogers’ ridiculous 104.1. But perhaps most scarring of all the strikes against Brady, in the public’s eye, would be Deflategate.
Deflategate, that time Tom Brady allegedly knowingly and willingly allowed footballs to be deflated in order to give his team an advantage, landed Brady a four-game suspension. Now remember, the National Football League Players Association decided to take that suspension to a U.S. District Court, and the suspension was thrown out. The court ruled that Brady had not been given due process and there was never a direct link between Brady and the shoddily inflated footballs. Brady ended up serving the suspension anyway, but only after the NFL decided that “as Brady’s employer” it had the right to suspend him. Even better, once Brady served his four-game suspension, pushed back until the 2016 season, he came back and won the Super Bowl that same year.
Without Deflategate, and ignoring Rogers’ passer rating due to Brady’s dominance in numerous other quarterback metrics, adversaries to the “Brady is best” camp are left with close to nothing. But what about Belichick’s superior teams? Matt Cassel led the Patriots to an above-average 11-5 season in 2008; isn’t that proof enough? Well, no, it isn’t.
As great a quarterback as Tom Brady is, he isn’t perfect. He isn’t particularly athletic. He’s tall, but not unnaturally tall, and his throwing motion hasn’t always been perfect . Tom Brady, however, is consistent. It seems like every year he’s putting up elite numbers. Sure, he isn’t the MVP every single season, but he always seems to be in the discussion. Brady has been a top-level quarterback for 15 years, save a season and a half of injuries. Brett Favre may have played longer, but Brady has gotten more out of his time. With more Super Bowl appearances and 18 more playoff touchdowns than any other quarterback in history, Brady has risen above the good and even above the great.
This gets back to why Belichick’s teams are irrelevant; the Patriots, since Brady won the starting job in 2001, have always been competitive. Why? Tom Brady! There have been better NFL teams over the past 15 years, and other quarterbacks have had better individual seasons, but that doesn’t matter in the big picture. Players come and go; Brady’s teammates in 2001 were far different from his teammates this year, but Brady finds ways to win.
At the end of the day, what makes the best quarterback “the best?” Is it overall career passing yards? If so, Brett Favre should be the best. Is it passer ratings? If so, Aaron Rogers should be the best. Or is it results? Is it most Super Bowl rings? Don’t judge Tom Brady by the kind of person the media portrays him as or the players Bill Belichick pays to surround him–judge him by results. Once you do that, the answer becomes clear.
Tom Brady is unequivocally the best quarterback of all time.