Tom Brady is the Greatest of All Time

Tom Brady is the Greatest of All Time

Tom Brady is the Greatest of All Time

I must begin by admitting that I was born and raised in Massachusetts, and I grew up cheering for the New England Patriots. I am not old enough to have cheered for the Boston Patriots, but I would have had I been old enough. I grew up a die-hard fan of all sports teams in Massachusetts. I truly enjoyed watching the Super Bowl this month, especially because the New England Patriots won their 6th Super Bowl. Now with those admissions out of the way, I want to tell a story about my trip to the 2002 Super Bowl and how I saw something that showed me even then that Tom Brady was special. I won’t go as far as to say I knew he would be would someday be known as the “GOAT” (Greatest of all Time), but it was clear he was going to be special.

I was fortunate enough to have attended the February of 2002 Super Bowl in which the Patriots, led by Tom Brady, defeated the St Louis Rams 20-17, with a last second field goal. The Rams were heavily favored to win the game and were known as “The Greatest Show on Turf.” The trip to New Orleans was magical for many reasons outside of seeing first hand that Tom Brady was something to admire as a football player. This was my first Super Bowl. I went without tickets and just to enjoy the festivities of a Super Bowl.  I expected it would be my only Super Bowl, so I wanted to go to the game at all costs. I was told that I should expect to pay a thousand dollars or so over the face value. As luck would have it, the Rams were heavily favored by more than two touchdowns. This factor drove the price of the tickets down and I was able to snag one at face value. However, the magic started long before I got my ticket.

That season, Tom started as the back up to an All Pro quarterback, Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe was injured after a number of games, but when he came back, Brady kept the starting position. Ultimately, Brady led the Patriots to the Super Bowl. The most astonishing aspect of the Super Bowl is what happened at the closing drive but was not seen by anybody other than the crowd that was at the game. As the Patriots started that winning drive, there was a TV timeout. As the Patriots offense was huddled on the field waiting for the time out to end, you could see a number of the players nervously rocking back and forth or pacing. The players were full of nervous energy because they were being watched by over 100 million people, who were watching what was likely the most crucial part of their football careers. They were living and creating history - and they knew it. And depending on the result, it could be the absolute worst or the absolute best time of, not only their football lives, but possibly of their entire lives. On the sidelines, the coaches were frantically reviewing their play books and the other players were pacing backing and forth, were on their knees praying and/or shouting words of encouragement to their team players on the field. Among all the chaos and fervor of the closing minutes of a tied score Super Bowl, there was one person who appeared to remain calm under all the pressure, Tom Brady. He walked from the sideline and into the huddle with a cool and composed appearance. When he got into the huddle, you could see him motioning with his hands to all the players to calm down. They proceeded to drive the down field for the winning field goal.

Now, many players have exhibited heroic actions to win a Super Bowl with the same coolness. For example, there is the story of Joe Montana pointing out John Candy in the stands to the rest of the offense, which as the story goes, relaxed all the players before driving for a winning score. However, never has a quarterback with little experience or fanfare calm a whole team down and lead them to the winning score in a Super Bowl. Brady was famously a 6th round draft choice, who had never started a game until that season, and had thrown for a total of 6 yards the season before, his first in the NFL. That one scenario speaks volumes about Brady’s unmatched swagger, confidence and leadership.

I could cite countless football statistics that show Brady is the best of all time. However, the only stat I need is 6 Super Bowl wins out of nine appearances. This stat has so many ramifications. First this was over an 18 year career to date, with the first Super Bowl being his first full season in 2001 and the last being the last NFL season of 2018. This is more Super Bowl appearances than every other TEAM over the NFL history and is more appearances than 11 teamsCOMBINED  over their NFL history. He has won 6 Super Bowls to date. This is more than any other TEAM in NFL History, except the Pittsburgh Steelers who also won 6 Super Bowls. However, this was done with completely different teams years apart and a number of quarterbacks.

Now I have argued over my lifetime that other Boston sports heroes were one of the greatest of all time or others that were, arguably, the greatest of all time. The key word is “argued.” Never before Tom Brady did I unequivocally believe the respective Boston sports hero was the best or one of the best of all time, whether it was Bobby Orr, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Ted Williams etc. With Tom Brady, it is a fact. He is a GOAT, Greatest Of All Time. End of story.

Image courtesy of USA Today.