Jay C. Brandriet
Tom Brady retiring from the NFL has been a difficult story to absorb. His career covered so much time. Who were you and what were you doing 22 years ago?
For about seven seasons, I’ve considered Tom the G.O.A.T. among NFL quarterbacks.
As he walks away, many are claiming he’s the best at something else.
Is “TB12” really the “best football player” ever?
That’s quite a subjective topic.
A ton of guys have played pro ball.
That’s over 100 years to examine.
Let’s start with stating we tend to discredit anything before the Super Bowl era (1967).
That means we are naive to being as fair as we could be.
FOOTBALL IS OFTEN ABOUT SUPREME STRENGTH, SPEED AND VERSATILITY
The game is so complex, and needs many parts to make it work.
Think about who Larry Allen was. The man could bench press 700 plus pounds and could move. I’ve seen him abuse Hall of Fame monsters for 60 minutes. He would often make the sound of a train whistle as he was on his way to knock someone out.
Jonathan Ogden, Bruce Matthews, Anthony Munoz, and John Hannah were all tens!
Pretend we are picking teams in the backyard.
Say you get to select Tom Brady.
Assume I get Joe Montana. I’m not sweating it. Joe was Tom, with sweeter feet. His career was shorter so we don’t rank him as high. Tom idolized Joe. There is no Brady, without Montana.
Consider what my squad could do with random names like Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker, Devin Hester, Ed Reed, or J.J. Watt.
Less random like Barry Sanders, Peyton Manning, or Ray Lewis?
How scary does “Megatron” look in your backyard?
Deacon Jones, Reggie White, or Joe Greene getting your attention?
What if I get Lawrence Taylor? Your now worried about the well-being of #12. You now have a defender so powerful, and explosive he changed the game. Nobody was better at tackle football than L.T. was.
Walter Payton is arguably the best running back of all time. He could throw, block, tackle, and kick.
Deion Sanders? The best ever at TWO positions. “Prime” was as dangerous as ANY player with the ball in his hands. He was a corner. Let that sink in.
Jerry Rice has been retired for 18 years. The offenses have gone pass happy. To this day, nobody touches #80.
Ronnie Lott didn’t just dominate at corner and safety. He had a league full of receivers consumed with fear. Lott made impact on plays, he wasn’t directly involved in. Tom will eat perfect. Ronnie will lose part of his finger to get to the next week.
In a vacuum, nobody was more dominant than Jim Brown. He was too good, and just left at age 29.
WHY BRADY SEPERATES HIMSELF
We know it takes a village to become champions. Brady had two decades of amazing ownership, coaching, and structure with the New England Patriots. He was joined by special team’s heroes and many of the sports defensive stand outs.
Here’s the thing. Brady was as good or better than all of those guys I’d listed above.
He did it better, longer.
The details of his competitive obsession, made his intangibles glow.
He occupied the most important position on the field.
Bill Belichick is the best coach of my lifetime.
However, Brady was the straw that stirred the drink.
TB12 was paid to win. He won more regular season, and playoff games than anyone in history.
He slaughtered all of us.
Dude has more Super Bowl rings than any other FRANCHISE!
Tom switched conferences for two years, and still left on top. That will make his legacy an even more difficult ghost for others to chase down.
Haters are going to go back to the “team game” thing.
It’s not the results that made Brady the best.
It’s HIS contribution to the process.
Look under the hood.
Brady being in positions to win or lose gigantic games, is unmatched.
He came through in those spots…..
OVER AND OVER,
AND OVER AND OVER,
AND OVER AND OVER.
It’s not a coincidence, HE won the most.
Making more clutch plays than anyone else that’s lived, is a tough debate point to beat.
Can one person be “the best football player ever?”
That’s a difficult question.
The only easy answer would be, Tom Brady.
Jay C. Brandriet