Now that Tom Brady has finally won his first NFL championship without getting caught cheating to get there, the question has to asked: Is Brady the best QB ever? The Patriots and Tom Brady have been caught cheating in every Super Bowl winning season, prior to this victory. That is not true of any other QB in consideration for “best ever”. Brady is very talented, focused and extremely hardworking by all accounts. It just is not fair to compare a QB that benefited from a cheating team for almost a decade to those that played by the rules and still achieved greatness.
Remember that the Patriots do quite well with or without Brady. In fact, when Brady misses a game, his replacements have almost the same numbers as Tom. Check this link out for the numbers comparing Brady with his replacements. However capable Tom Brady is, that team and system makes most QB’s look equally as good. Knowing that, how much “greatness” is involved in performing as well as your second-string?
All of that said, is Brady in the top five “best ever”? Probably.
That pesky decade of cheating aside, Brady can still make a lot happen and faces adversity well. His drive and focus are visible every time he has the football in his hands. That football might be an ineligible deflated ball that gives him an advantage when he throws, but it is hard to deny what he is capable of.
Who gets bumped down the list to make room for a guy with a decade of cheating, but a slew of wins and championships?
Definitely not Peyton Manning, who may have been robbed of multiple Super Bowl appearances due to the cheating of Brady and company.
Certainly not Montana, who boasts a championship legacy almost equal to Brady but who earned that legacy clearly and convincingly.
Not Dan Marino. No championships, no problem. Anyone who wants to doubt Marino’s greatness needs to pull their head out of their Xbox and watch just about any of his games. Nobody controls 100 yards like Marino and few are as commanding a presence. Oh, and he didn’t cheat.
Favre? Maybe. Favre is great, no doubt. His rank takes a bit of a hit because of his inability to do much with Adrian Peterson and a decent Minnesota Vikings team at his command. The Vikings were certainly not a great team, but they gave him more tools than most QB’s have at their disposal. So, Brett needed to do something big with it. Manning jumped teams and led the new team to back-to-back Super Bowls. The Broncos team that Manning inherited was not much better than the Peterson-driven Vikings that Favre took over.
So, perhaps Brady fits nicely just a hair above Brett Favre. It would be insane to say he is better than Manning, Montana and Marino given Brady’s massive baggage that his legacy will be weighted down with the cheating question forever. That nagging question: Just how much of his success was augmented by cheating? We will never know the full answer, but we do know that this unanswerable question is a divisive fact separating Brady from all of the other greats. That is undeniable.
Checkout: “The Numbers: Brady vs Patriots’ Second-Stringers“
Also published on Medium.