Tom Brady—The Greatest Quarterback of All-Time
By Seth Schuster
After capturing his ever-elusive fourth Super Bowl ring in Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks on February 1, New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady has vaulted himself to the top of the National Football League’s All-Time quarterback pyramid. While unquestionably already on the Mount Rushmore of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks alongside the likes of Brady’s childhood idol, Joe Montana, the San Francisco 49ers’ great, Tom Terrific has finally become its centerpiece.
Yes, that’s right! Move over Joe Cool, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all-time.
Could this be argued? Of course! This debate could last centuries if we wanted it to—but I don’t want it to. I want to end this debate right now.
Up until this point, Montana held a slight advantage over Brady for the obvious reason—Montana had four rings, Brady had three. Today, Tom Brady and Joe Montana both have four rings. It can be argued that Montana achieved this accomplishment more efficiently than Brady did. Montana went 4-4 in Super Bowl appearances, while Brady managed a lowly 4-6.
That argument is a complete joke. Brady has led his team to SIX Super Bowls over the course of a 15-year career, winning three in a four-year span. It is about consistency, people say. “Montana was more consistent. He never lost a Super Bowl.” Well, actually that argument can be made two ways. Maybe Brady is more consistent because he was able to make the playoffs, and lead his team to the big game, more often than Montana did. It is ludicrous to make this argument against Brady, as Montana only appeared in four—perhaps he would have lost his next two Super Bowl appearances if given the opportunity.
Where else does Tom Brady eclipse Joe Montana?
Brady, for starters, is fifth all-time is passing touchdowns. Where does Joe Cool rank? Oh, that’s right…16th. Additionally, Brady has the highest winning percentage of any player in history, boasting an incredible .773. Montana posted a still spectacular .713, but ranks as second to Brady in all-time wins. This stat not only holds for the regular season, but for the postseason as well. Brady yet again outshines Montana, holding 21 postseason wins compared to Joe’s 16 wins.
In the postseason, Brady not only has the upper hand in wins, but a plethora of other categories as well. This past playoff stretch, Brady passed Montana’s record of 45 postseason touchdowns and finished with a total of 53. Brady also holds the record for leading the most game winning drives in the fourth quarter, with nine—his ninth coming in Super Bowl XLIX.
Leading the Patriots downfield with the clock ticking away, Brady connected on a late touchdown pass to wide receiver Julian Edelman to take a final 28-24 lead. Throughout the duration of the game, Brady threw 50 times, completing a record 37 passes. But that wasn’t the only record Brady set or tied that day. He threw four touchdown passes, setting a new record for most career touchdown passes with 13. Brady also set new Super Bowl records for career passing yards (1,605) and most career completions (164). This stellar performance allowed him to tie, none other than Joe Montana, for the most Super Bowl Most Valuable Player awards, with three.
All of these accolades have been achieved despite the fact that—apart from the 2007 season—the Patriots have been notoriously skimpy when it comes to importing talented wide receivers. That year Brady has wide-out Randy Moss.
That year, Brady set an NFL record for most passing touchdowns.
Every year Brady does more with less. He makes no name players into household names: Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, and Rob Gronkowski, just to name a few. The cast of characters in the Patriots locker room is a revolving door—one minute the top wide receiver is Randy Moss, next it’s Aaron Dobson. Who? Exactly. The only constant is Brady.
For Montana, the constant was the entire 49ers’ team.
Montana achieved his success in a much different era. There was no salary cap. There was no free agency. In and out, each year Montana won with the same group of players—they were able to grow and develop with each other. It also doesn’t hurt that Montana had the greatest wide receiver ever to play the game, Jerry Rice. For every Super Bowl run, Rice was always Montana’s top target
In Brady’s six Super Bowl appearances, he has had a different go-to-guy. In Super Bowl XXXVI (2001), the man was Troy Brown. In Super Bowl XXXVIII (2003) and Super Bowl XXXIX (2004) it was Deion Branch. In XLII, Randy Moss was Brady’s favorite. It was Wes Welker in XLVI (2011). And in the most recent game, Super Bowl XLIX (2014), Rob Gronkowski served as Brady’s safety blanket.
Not only does Brady do more with less, he has done it more consistently and for a longer time. Brady’s run has been sustained over a 15-year period. Joe Montana won four, but Brady, year in and year out has been competing for a title. Oh yeah, and Brady has won four also—and also holds almost every postseason record in the book.
Brady is the best. Case closed. Drops mic.
Seth Schuster is a student at Blind Brook High School in Westchester, New York. He is an avid sports fan, who knows it all when it comes to the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, and Boston Bruins. Yup, that’s right – a Boston sports fan living in New York! Seth’s favorite all-time athletes include David Ortiz, Tom Brady, and Paul Pierce. Follow Seth on Twitter for all your Boston Sports updates at @Seth_Schuster