Archive for February, 2017

Tom Brady is the GOAT

Friday, February 3rd, 2017
Cameron Turner

I hate Tom Brady, just as much as anyone else, although I do enjoy watching Gronk.

This is going to upset a lot of old-time football fans. And I myself am upset to officially admit this – Tom Brady is the best quarterback to ever put on an NFL uniform.

Many fans of the NFL, who grew up watching the old greats like Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Steve Young, and John Elway are going to whole-heartedly disagree with me on this, but numbers do not lie. These naysayers will say that the beloved Joe Montana ‘Joe Cool’ is the NFL’s greatest quarterback of all-time. However, although this all-time great is in fact one of the best, it doesn’t mean that he gets a pass in the statistics column just because he may have been your idol growing up.

Joe Montana has set the standard extremely high, a standard achieved by none – until Tom Brady. Some great quarterbacks – Hall of Fame quarterbacks – have come ever so-close to the standard, but only one man has reached and potentially will completely pass this mark.

Tom Brady – as much as I have disliked him over the years – has reached and some would say has already passed the level of play of the great Joe Montana. However, with another potential Super Bowl win on the way, a win in the big game would cement Brady in the football world as the greatest.

Like it or not, Joe Montana would never be mentioned in the GOAT talks if it weren’t for his four rings which he earned with the 49ers. However, this was at a time when the NFC dominated the NFL world winning 15 of the 16 Big Games when Montana was still an active player. Now in 2017, the landscape is much more competitive as the AFC league actually leads the NFC by a count of 9-7 in the big game, ever since Brady has been in the league (2000).

This to me, doesn’t suggest that Montana had much opposition once he reached the big game. He was ahead of his time, but a trailblazer doesn’t equal the greatest by default. Yeah an unblemished 4-0 record in the biggest game of the year is fantastic, but Montana only reached that game four times. His postseason struggles are well documented – look them up, there is a reason he didn’t reach the big game every year when playing with the best wide receiver ever, Jerry Rice. Montana was great in the playoffs but with a 16-7 playoff career record, one wonders why he didn’t reach the big game more often.

Sounds eerily similar to another all-time great and eventual Hall of Famer – Peyton Manning coupled with Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.

Manning currently holds countless passing records in the NFL, but is commonly known as ‘the best regular season quarterback’, due to his 14-13 record in the playoffs. Sure, Manning earned a ring with both the Colts (2006) and with the Broncos (2015). Manning a near-lock for an appearance in the playoffs each year of his 17 seasons, proved to be a human when it came to the playoffs.

This hurts to write, due to my love of everything Colts and Peyton Manning. It hurts to say that the Patriots are and have been doing better what the Colts were all about for years. I started liking Manning when I was a young kid, he was winning, he was a role model, he played for this upstanding high-class organization. Yet somehow, over the years he was bested by his rival – Tom Brady and the Patriots.

However, even though Manning is the reason I started watching football, the truth is the truth. Peyton Manning was never the quarterback he was in the playoffs that he was in the regular season. Even though a younger version of myself, a more childish version would have defended Manning as the best ever, at some point you have to come to terms with reality. Even if that means a sports legend, a sports idol isn’t all that you once viewed them when younger.

And to think Manning could have potentially been 4-0 in the big game just like Montana – as he made four appearances in the big game with losses coming to the Saints in 2009 and the Seahawks in 2013. Then who would we be talking about?

Two losses, that is it. Two losses has dropped Manning essentially out of the minds of the public, as ever being a contender for the GOAT spot. Instead, two wins simply has catapulted Montana into a lock that can never be broken at the top spot? Explain this.

Look at this, Peyton Manning who played 17 seasons (13 Colts, 4 Broncos) and has 14 Pro-Bowls, 7 All-Pro selections, and is a five time NFL MVP – having a regular season record of 186-79 in 266 games; while holding a 65.3 percent career completion percentage, and throwing for 71,940 yards, with 539 touchdowns to 251 interceptions.

Those numbers dwarf Montana – Montana who has only eight Pro-Bowl seasons, three All-Pro selections, is just a two time NFL MVP – but somehow, is viewed as the best. How do these numbers say Montana is the best, when he had 192 games in 15 seasons (13 49ers, 2 Chiefs) with a 63.2 percent career completion percentage, with 117-47 record, while throwing 273 touchdowns to 139 interceptions for only 40,551 passing yards.

This is somehow the GOAT? The greatest of all-time? Just because he has four rings in four appearances.

Enter Tom Brady. Brady has the Peyton Manning like stats to go along with the hardware of Montana.
Tom Brady, in my opinion, will win the big game against the Atlanta Falcons, led by heavy favorite to win the 2017 NFL MVP quarterback Matt Ryan.

I can see a tight game for this weekend’s big game, but who seriously bets against Tom Brady and company? I call the game going down to the wire but the Patriots pull out the win with a 27-21 win come 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017.

Brady will walk away from the 2016-2017 season with a big game record of 5-2. Wait did I just say Tom Brady will have five rings?

That is right, for all the old-time fans who praise Joe Montana for his 4-0 record in the big game, Brady has already met that mark and raised the ante. Brady will be playing for his fifth ring come this Sunday.

In my opinion, it hurts to write what I am about to, but Brady has already cemented his legacy in the NFL, he is simply just waiting for the cement to harden.

Brady currently blows away the careers of both Montana and Manning – due to his you know, 17 seasons played with one team and one head coach. Where in New England, Brady has amassed 12 Pro-Bowl selections, two All-Pro selections, with two NFL MVP awards under his belt.

And while these accomplishments match generally what Montana and Manning have done, add in the 237 games with 456 touchdowns to 152 interceptions in the regular season, throwing for 61,582 yards while snagging a nifty 24-9 playoff record with four rings and three MVP’s in the big game. Brady has the most wins by any quarterback in NFL history – surpassing Manning – and will now own the record of most appearances ever by a quarterback in the big game.

Some may still look at the numbers and whine that Brady is a cheater, that the NFL is soft now, and that may be so. But I was once told by a great coach of mine that “you aren’t trying to win if you aren’t cheating.”

Just because Brady has bent some rules does not negate him from the conversation. And just because the NFL is a pass-happy league that favors the quarterbacks and receivers over the old-ways of hard hitting defenses. That is not Brady’s fault, that is the fault of all the old players who are now suffering from brain trauma they received when playing in Montana’s era of football. This brain trauma and therefore lawsuits that ensue toward the NFL, have pushed the game to become ‘soft.’ Step back and think about the fact that the old, hard-hitting football that you may miss, might be the reason when it is all said and done that Brady surpassed Montana.

Football is all about winning, and that is something Brady does very well. Brady may have some scandals on his resume, but even when suspended from the league for four weeks at the beginning of this season (2016-2017), where he had zero contact with his team or coach.

Brady resorted to throwing passes in the backyard with his wife, as well as longtime friend and old receiver Wes Welker. He came back into the NFL in week five at 39 years old, and simply torched the league that suspended him – mind you at the age of 39 – and threw for 3,554 yards with 28 touchdowns and just two interceptions, en route to a 14-2 overall record (11-1 record of games started by Brady).

To deny Brady and possibly the best head coach ever in Bill Belichick, the credit they have earned is childish in so many ways. Records were meant to be broken, and the game, and life, changes dramatically each year. It is our job to keep up with, adapt with and accept the changes.

With a new year, comes new records, new greats, and sometimes things we do not enjoy – in every facet of life, not just football. However, one must adapt with the times, or get left behind.

That does not diminish what Montana and all the other Hall of Fame or soon-to-be Hall of Famers have done for their teams, and the league itself. It simply means that a rational human can realize when a mark has been bested. And Tom Brady has already bested the golden standard mark.

Although I will be rooting for the Falcons, and will enjoy watching Matty Ice and Julio Jones hopefully carve up the Patriots – in reality I know I will be watching the greatness of a sixth round draft pick – Tom Brady – turned NFL superstar take the field, while the genius of Belichick manipulates the game any which way to his favor.

Or I suppose I should say I will be watching ‘Tom Baby’, as my younger cousin has hilariously named him – either way I will be watching NFL history in the making.

Note that two of the three quarterbacks heavily mentioned above are retired, everyone who watches the the big game this Sunday, I implore you to appreciate the current greatness. At 39 years old, who knows when Brady’s last game will come, as even the best quarterbacks generally fall off the cliff at the daunting 40 years old mark.

And once that eventual retirement happens, Brady will be enshrined as the GOAT of the NFL – that is until the next quarterback maneuvers his way into the conversation.

Remember, records are meant to be broken.