There is one name that divides American culture more than any other. No, I’m not talking about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
I’m talking about none other than the immaculate Tom Brady.
Like it or not, Brady is a household name. Even those who have never watched an NFL game, or even wanted to for that matter, know who he is. In terms of recognition, Brady is in a class reserved for only the greatest in all of sports. This echelon includes the likes of LeBron James, Tiger Woods, and Derek Jeter, just to name a few.
To put it quite simply, Tom Brady is an American phenomenon. He has the power to elicit emotions ranging from blood-curdling hatred to devout adoration of the most fanatical order. No matter what you think of him, there is no denying that Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback the NFL has ever seen.
Statistically, Brady is nothing short of superb. He has the fifth most passing touchdowns (396) and the fifth most passing yards (53,546) of all time, respectively. Brady also boasts the second highest touchdown-to-interception ratio with a mark of 2.77; trailing only Aaron Rodgers, who has a ratio of 4.02. This means that since taking over as the New England Patriots starting quarterback in 2001 (14 seasons), Brady has averaged 28.3 TD and 10.2 INT per season, a stat line many quarterbacks could only dream of achieving.
Perhaps the most impressive stat that Brady has accumulated throughout his 15-year NFL career is his winning percentage. Tom Brady has the highest winning percentage of any NFL quarterback to have started for more than a single season. Brady wins 77.4% of the games he plays in, which translates into a career record of 161-47. To put this into perspective, only three other quarterbacks have a winning percentage over 70% (Staubach, Montana, P. Manning). Based on this statistic, Brady’s teams have averaged 12.4 wins and just 3.6 losses for every season he has started at quarterback. Essentially, if Brady is starting, you can bet that the Patriots will win the AFC East Division title (as they have in 12 of 14 seasons with Brady at the helm), and finish with one of the NFL’s best records.
Oh, and by the way, Brady has a .500 or better record against every team in the NFL, just in case you were wondering.
Of course, one cannot talk about Tom Brady without talking about his Super Bowl pedigree. Brady has a record of 4-2 in the biggest game in American sports (5-1 if not for David Tyree). Brady’s four rings are tied for the second most in NFL history by any single player. Only Charles Haley can claim more titles (five).
Not only has Brady won championship games, he has dominated them. He is tied with Joe Montana for the most Super Bowl MVPs by any single player in NFL history (three). In six Super Bowl games, Brady has averaged 268 yards, 2.17 touchdowns, .67 interceptions, and a QB rating of 95.3. These numbers are nothing short of remarkable. Brady’s precision and consistency when the lights are brightest is what sets him apart from the rest.
Speaking of performing in the clutch, Brady has 46 game-winning drives in his career. You read that correctly, FORTY-SIX. Only Peyton Manning (52) and Dan Marino (51) have more game-winning drives in their careers, respectively. Of these 46 game-clinching drives, 35 have come while the Patriots were trailing. Point blank, Tom Brady is among the top three most clutch players of all-time, a characteristic that all coaches and fans want their quarterback to have.
While statistics certainly verify the claim that Brady is the greatest quarterback to ever put on a helmet, these stats cannot measure Brady’s off-the-field success as well. Brady has publicly endorsed and donated tens of thousands of dollars to various charities. Among these charities are The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Best Buddies International, kaBOOM!, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. Brady is also the head of his own charity, Team Tom Brady, which supports the inclusion of people with mental and developmental disabilities in everyday activities. In addition to his philanthropic efforts, Brady also has numerous endorsement deals with some of the world’s biggest companies- most notably Under Armour and Ugg.
And one more thing, he’s been married to supermodel Gisele Bundchen for six years. Not bad, Mr. Brady.
However, with great fame comes great controversy. Brady has seen his fair share of scandals and scrutiny during his time in the spotlight. From the infamous “Tuck Rule” game in 2001 to SpyGate and DeflateGate, it is hard to pinpoint an athlete who has been under a microscope quite as much as Brady has. While those who hate Brady point to these incidents as ‘sufficient reason’ to knock him from his place at the top, there is no true backbone to the allegations.
For instance, the Tuck Rule was not created on the spot during the 2001 AFC Championship game. NFL Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2 clearly states that any forward motion by the quarterback is considered a passing motion; thus if the ball touches the ground it is an incomplete pass by rule.
Sorry Raiders fans, the NFL didn’t ‘make-up’ any rules on that day.
Brady 1, haters nil.
Secondly, the NFL never accused Tom Brady of having any involvement or knowledge of the events that took place during the 2007 spying scandal. In fact, the blame was placed squarely on Bill Belichick and the Patriots management.
Brady 2, haters nil.
Lastly, and most infamously, is the controversy that is DeflateGate. After originally being suspended for a duration of four games by the NFL, Brady fought the case for the entire 2015 summer and was eventually acquitted by Judge Richard M. Berman. While there is circumstantial evidence that may link Brady to the deflating of the footballs, none of the evidence is concrete and certainly cannot warrant a suspension or penalty. Also, slightly deflated footballs also don’t make the difference in a game with a final score of 45-7.
Maybe next year, Colts fans.
Final Score: Brady 3, haters zero.
It’s clear that the hate Brady gets is a product of envy. He is what every team and fanbase wants, but only the Patriots can have. If you can’t beat him, you might as well hate him, right?
It’s time for NFL fans to come together and appreciate the greatness that is Tom Brady. At age 38, it’s very likely Brady is nearing the end of his career. It’s time for fans whose hearts have been broken in the past by the Patriots to bury the hatchet and heed my advice. Be grateful for the legend that is Tom Brady- it’s very unlikely we will see anyone quite like him for a very long time.