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Monday, 2 February 2015

Where Does Tom Brady Rank After This Super Bowl?

When Tom Brady went to bed early Monday morning, it is possible he took a moment in the still of the night and reflected on what just happened. Four Super Bowl rings in six chances. More touchdowns than any other quarterback in Super Bowl history. The end of an argument that has raged on for years of who has been better – Peyton Manning or Superman who wears No. 12 for the New England Patriots.

For the moment, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback to ever play the position.

He is better than Terry Bradshaw, and now he is better than Joe Montana. He is what every quarterback who plays this game wants to be – calm, efficient, a bit of a gunslinger and every bit a champion. The man who has everything in hand, with a hot model wife and family as well as the city of Boston anointing him the best that ever played the game.

When you think of it, it becomes even harder to fathom that Brian Griese, Chad Henne and Denard Robinson (who is now a running back) all played the same position as Brady at Michigan and all were drafted ahead of him in the NFL in their respective draft classes.

Shame on everyone else for not taking Brady before the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.

For a town that loves its beer, its strong Irish community and its football, there is no one more perfect to fill the role of greatest of all time than someone with the name Brady, like two souls that passed in the night.

In a way, Brady should send Drew Bledsoe a box of chocolates or some gift for allowing him to play football. Where would this town and the NFL be if Bledsoe was never hurt and Brady held a clipboard for the rest of Bledsoe’s career?

Brady’s career was already cemented with a trip to Canton long ago. Three Super Bowl wins in four seasons, the resurgence of the Patriots as the best team in the AFC and the guy who was as cool as the other side of the pillow (thank you, Stuart Scott). The game has had better passers and record breakers and even better players, but none are as equipped to be in this position that Brady is right now.

The Tom Brady-Bill Belichick combination will forever be remembered as a “dynasty”. Terry Bradshaw had Chuck Noll, Roger Staubach had Tom Landry, and Joe Montana had Bill Walsh. Brady had the most controversial leader of them all. And like any good pairing, all they have done is win and win when it counted.

I used to think the first three Super Bowl wins came easy to Brady and his crew because he was still wide-eyed. No one really thought it would last. Belichick’s bloom of the rose would get dusty and most of all, the NFL would catch up to both of them. In a way, it did with two straight Super Bowl losses – one coming on the heels of an undefeated season. But Brady’s ability to work with the talent he has been given over the years proves the talent is more far-reaching than the eye sees at times.

Aaron Dobson, Tiquan Underwood and Danny Woodhead are not names you would associate with brilliance. That’s what makes Brady’s legacy even richer and more defined.

It took a decade for Brady to claim his fourth title in this league. He may not be able to win it again. Changes in the NFL, the parity of teams and the new entitlement of players for more money prohibit teams to remain fully intact for long. The sand in the hour glass is almost empty for this era – one that Brady and Belichick know is special and rare. While the second half of Sunday’s game proved Brady can still lead a comeback and keep it together on the field, it only magnifies his true greatness.

Regardless of the circumstances and how the title was won, Brady’s heroics will remain the topic of lore and his image continue to build well beyond his retirement. That’s what happens when someone is great. It’s a term that is tossed around all too often. But in this case, the glass slipper of a 37-year old man’s career fits just fine. For how long it fits really depends on much more Brady wants to rewrite NFL history.


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