City Sports Report

Tom Brady stakes claim as best quarterback ever

New England Patriots quarterback Brady celebrates his second quarter touchdown pass against the Seattle Seahawks  to wide receiver LaFell during the NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game in Glendale

By Carey Wood

If you ask Tom Brady if he thinks his name should be mentioned as being the best quarterback in NFL history, he’ll tell you the thought has never entered his mind. Well, that’s all well and good for him. However, with the brilliant performance he put on against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, the debate will only intensify, and his name will be mentioned even more.

Brady, joined some pretty elite company in winning his fourth Super Bowl. Former San Francisco 49ers QB Joe Montana, and former Pittsburgh Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw were the only two quarterbacks to accomplish the feat coming into the game. He also, matched Montana by winning his third Super Bowl MVP award.

High accolades and winning awards are nothing new to the two-time league MVP. But, it’s the route in which he’s received those awards that may be overlooked.

As successful as the Patriots have been over the years, it’s easy to assume they’ve done so with a star-studded roster. Of course, they’ve had their share. Names like Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Rodney Harrison, Ty Law, Troy Brown, and Wes Welker easily come to mind. However, when compiling a list of the Pats top players since 2000, when Belichick and Brady arrived in Foxboro, it’s probably going to be a defensive heavy lineup. Not to say Brady hasn’t had weapons. The chemistry and cohesiveness he had with Welker was remarkable. He also had the venerable, Troy Brown to throw many passes to.

Sure, he had Randy Moss, who’s one of the best receivers of our time, but when you look at the number of receivers, and running backs that have been shuffled into and out of the lineup, especially over the last few seasons, you can’t help but respect what Brady has done even more. It also makes the ten Pro Bowl appearances, the three times leading the league in TD passes (2002, 2007, and 2010), and six total Super Bowl appearances that much more impressive.

For me, the debate for who’s the best QB ever, it comes down to two names. In my eye, Joe Montana has always been the guy. No one has been better in clutch situations. Sure, guys like Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre have had superb careers that include Super Bowl wins and MVP awards. That’s also not to forget stars of the past like Johnny Unitas. But, the four Super Bowl rings, the three MVP’s in those games, and moments like the game-winning touchdown drive in Super Bowl XXIII to beat the Cincinnati Bengals stand out for Montana. John Taylor, caught that TD pass. Taylor, was undoubtedly one of the best complimentary receivers in NFL history. It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing opposite Jerry Rice the way he did.

Speaking of arguably the greatest receiver to ever play the game. Rice, is exactly the type of weapon that Brady has had little of. Montana, and Rice formed one of the best QB/Wide Receiver tandems ever, and they won three Super Bowls together over a span of eight seasons. The 49ers also had offensive weapons like running back Roger Craig, tight end Brent Jones, and fullback Tom Rathman.

You would be hard pressed to name some of the running backs Brady has had to hand the ball off to. Corey Dillon, who led the Patriots in rushing for the 2004 through 2006 seasons, probably had the most prominent career. Included in that was a win in Super Bowl XL. Other than Dillon, it’s been the Antowain Smith’s, Kevin Faulk’s, and Laurence Maroney’s of the world.

It’s clear that Brady has done a lot with less. That’s not to say it’s not still a hot debate for quarterback supremacy. It’s just to say, whether Brady wants to say it or not, he’s put himself squarely in the mix. With his four TD, 328 yard performance against the NFL’s best defense, it’s even easier for me to argue the man wearing number 12 for the New England Patriots is the best ever. What do you think?

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