|02-08-2008, 12:06 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Why Tom Brady can't match quarterback legends like Elway, Montana and Marino
After his Super Bowl XLll disappointment, the New England Patriots star's place in NFL history has been left open to question.
One of the big questions in the run-up to Super Bowl XLII was whether Tom Brady of the New England Patriots is the greatest quarterback ever. After his performance in Sunday night's 17-14 stunning defeat by the New York Giants, it is clear to any unbiased pro football fan that he is not.
To even mention Brady's name in the same breath as NFL legends John Elway, Terry Bradshaw or Joe Montana at this stage of his career is a stretch. To his credit, Brady is an excellent manager of the game with an uncanny ability to avoid mistakes. Only 30 years of age, his list of accomplishments is long and impressive, the most notable, of course, being his three Super Bowl victories (XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX), two Super Bowl MVP awards (XXXVI and XXXVIII), four Pro Bowl invitations and the NFL record for most touchdown passes in a single regular season.
If you want to judge the greatness of a quarterback on Super Bowl victories alone, the book is still open on Brady. But if you look at the record of Super Bowl QBs, Brady can now no longer stand beside Joe Montana or Terry Bradshaw as their equal. With his teamís defeat on Sunday, Brady is now 3-1 in Super Bowls. Both Montana and Bradshaw were 4-0.
The loss also cost Brady the chance of leading a team to an undefeated season. That incredible feat could have ended this debate, but now the Patriots join the 1984 San Francisco 49ers, 1985 Bears, 1998 Minnesota Vikings and the 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers, who were all 15-1.
One can argue that Bradyís success can be found in the fact he has been blessed to be coached by one of the greatest coaches to ever walk an NFL sideline, Bill Belichick. Coach Belichick has the unique ability to take skilled players with troubled pasts and help them fulfill their potential and to turn many average players into great players. This can also be applied to Brady himself. It is almost hard to imagine Brady being where he is without Belichick.
This has led to Brady being a part of extremely good football teams. In this regard, he is no different to Joe Montana was with the 49ers, Troy Aikmen with the Cowboys or Bradshaw with the Steelers. But if you strip away the talent around Brady, is there still greatness? Would he be able to equal the success of Dan Marino, who shattered the record book with inferior teams? Or be even close to doing as well as Elway did early in his career when he literally carried his team on his back? I would argue the answer is no, due to his overall lack of physical tools.
In terms of greatness, one must look at the physical attributes a quarterback possesses. This area is often overlooked by Brady supporters and is his weakest link. Brady is a classic pocket passer who relies heavily on his offensive line for success. This was evident in Super Bowl XLII, when his offensive line broke down. He simply did not have the ability to avoid the pass rush and make things happen.
He is extremely slow, which does not give him the option of making plays with his legs, and only has average arm strength. In comparison with other NFL greats, it is clear Brady does not measure up. He lacks the quick release of Marino, the scrambling ability of Elway and the arm strength of Brett Favre.
It is clear that Brady is the best quarterback of his era, with Payton Manning a close second. He was lucky to be drafted by the Patriots and has made the most of it with hard work and the tutelage of Belichick. But his inferior physical skills compared to other NFL greats, and the complete lack of a proven record of being able to carry an average or bad team on his back to success, eliminates him from ranking alongside Montana or Marino or Elway or Johnny Unitas or Otto Graham as the greatest quarterback of all time.