After watching Tom Brady guide his New England Patriots to the biggest comeback victory in Super Bowl history during last week’s cross-conference showdown with the Atlanta Falcons, football fans from every corner of the country were quick to call him the greatest starting quarterback to ever play the game.
Brady’s latest performance may have made him exactly that. But it’s easy to go overboard when debating a player’s place in history less than two weeks after that player does what Brady just did to win his fifth Super Bowl ring. Understandably, Mr. Bundchen’s many supporters now consider him to be the greatest human to ever breathe, but talk of Brady as the best athlete to ever play team sports is just plain ridiculous.
Ideally, athletes playing in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL possess more than enough individual skills to do their job, enough knowledge to execute some sort of game plan, and the talent to make their teammates better. The best of these athletes are innovators who consistently excel in all three areas while advancing the game itself, and although Brady has solidified his place at the peak of the quarterback pyramid with a fist full of rings and a pair of M.V.P. awards, he’s nowhere near the best we’ve ever seen.
Since becoming New England’s starting quarterback as a second-year pro in 2001, Brady has only led the NFL in passing yards [2005 and 2007], and passer rating twice [2007 and 2010]. However, he has topped the NFL in passing touchdowns on four occasions [2002, ’07, ’10, ’15], earned Super Bowl M.V.P. honors three times, and helped to set this generation’s standard of divisional dominance thanks to an endlessly-dismal AFC East.
While the heartbroken folks in Atlanta—and several other NFL cities, don’t want to hear it, at the very least, Brady is the greatest quarterback of his generation. But Brady hasn’t dominated like two of the greatest athletes to ever play team sports—Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky, and surpassing that duo is the only way for Boston’s boy to become the hands-down, absolute best.
Entering the NHL as a teenage phenom in 1979, Gretzky totaled 137 points as a rookie and won the first of ten Art Ross Trophies as the league’s leading scorer in 1980-81. More importantly, Gretzky led the league in scoring for seven straight seasons beginning that year, and not even the immortal Tom Brady has ever dominated like the man who won four Stanley Cups and still stands as hockey’s all-time leader in points, goals, and assists.
Along with equaling Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA-best career scoring average of 30.1 points per game, Jordan redefined the term “dominate”, matching Gretzky’s ten career scoring titles and earning seven straight beginning in 1986. The six NBA titles that Jordan won with the Chicago Bulls also bests Brady, and the nine times that “His Airness” was named to the All-NBA Defensive First Team serves as a reminder that Jordan was also one of basketball’s toughest defenders.
Does any of that sound like what Brady has done during his time in Beantown? Of course not. Brady’s numbers aren’t even close to what both Gretzky and Jordan accomplished statistically. When the NBA was desperate for a superstar to attract the masses, it was Jordan’s high-flying antics that answered the call with a style of play that changed basketball forever. And Gretzky was constantly changing the game with a skill-set that hasn’t been seen since.
But Brady just isn’t the type of innovative quarterback who’s capable of changing the game. There’s something to be said for the fact that he began his career as virtually unknown, sixth-round draft pick before developing into the player he is today, and to some extent, that makes him more relatable to your average football fan. Does Brady belong among the game’s greatest quarterbacks? Without question, but he’s nowhere near the best to ever play professional team sports, and no amount of heroic Super Bowl victories will ever change that.
Patriots Addresses Filming, Say Video Crew Filmed Sideline During Browns-Bengals Game
The New England Patriots are explaining themselves after a story hit the news wire, sparking a league investigation, saying that the team had filmed that their production crew inappropriately filmed the field and sideline during Sunday’s game between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals.
According to ESPN, the Patriots’ crew was credentialed by the Browns to shoot video for a Patriots web series called “Do Your Job,” but the Patriots did not inform the Bengals or the NFL, which they called “an unintended oversight”, and led to the controversy that has dominated NFL headlines on Monday.
“The sole purpose of the filming was to provide an illustration of an advance scout at work on the road,” the Patriots said in an official statement. “There was no intention of using footage for any other purpose.”
The Patriots went on to say that the production crew, which included independent contractors who shot the video, is not part of the team’s football operation.
The NFL is currently investigating the incident and has a copy of the video, although they have not commented on the incident as of yet.
“They 100% know. All of our scouts, all of our video people and everything, they know what that is,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick told WEEI on Monday (h/t ESPN). “Again, I have nothing to do with the TV production shows and stuff like that. I have no idea what they do. Or what their projects are and everything else.
“As I understand it, they were videotaping him, trying to show kind of what an advance scout does, or something Iike that, I don’t know. You’ll have to wait to see the show I guess and see how it’s presented.”
The Patriots and videotaping isn’t something new, as they were punished by the NFL for videotaping the New York Jets’ defensive playcalls on the sideline during a 2007 game at Giants Stadium, a game in which they won, and an incident dubbed “Spygate”. The 2007 fiasco ended up costing the Patriots a 1st round draft pick in 2008, a $500,000 fine for Belichick and the team was orderd to pay $250,000 for the incident.
The Bengals, who flagged media relations and Bengals security staff after observing a videographer shooting the sidelines, play the Patriots this Sunday.
Patriots Releasing Josh Gordon Off IR
The New England Patriots are releasing wide receiver Josh Gordon off of the injured reserve list, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
Gordon, who was knocked out of the Patriots’ win over the New York Giants back on October 10th, had been playing through a left knee injury he endured when attempting to make a tackle following a Patriots’ fumble.
The Patriots used the minor designation for his placement on injured reserve, signifying a lesser injury, meaning that the Pats had to release him upon his return to health.
Gordon hauled in 20 receptions for 287 yards and a touchdown this season for New England.
Gordon will be subject to waivers and other teams can put in a claim for him.
Patriots’ Acquire Mohamed Sanu
The New England Patriots have acquired veteran wide receiver Mohamed Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons for a second-round draft pick, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Patriots have been banged up in the receiver corps with injuries hitting the likes of Julian Edelman (ribs), Josh Gordon (knee) and Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) during recent weeks.
Sanu now gives the Patriots, and Tom Brady, an inside target and 3rd down receiver that can help alleviate the pressure off of Edelman.
Sanu, 30, has 33 receptions for 313 yards and one touchdown thus far during the 2019 season.
Sanu is under contract through the 2020 season, and is reportedly “good” with the trade and excited to try to win a Super Bowl, per the report.
Both Sanu and Brady issued the following on Twitter.
I appreciate everything the organization has done for my family & I. Mr. Blank, TD, Coach Q, & everyone through the organization, I am forever grateful for the opportunity. To my Teammates & fan y’all know how I feel about y’all love y’all to death. #ThankYou
— Mohamed Sanu Sr. (@Mo_12_Sanu) October 22, 2019
See you soon. https://t.co/2QgSuWbTXB
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) October 22, 2019
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