It’s a staple of NFL seasons to discuss which quarterback is the greatest of all time, almost always inserting current players into the discussion way too early (I.e. Aaron Rodgers) for the sake of argument. And in almost every case, the list is fairly short: Brady, Manning, Montana, Elway, Unitas (if you want to go back wicked far), Brees, Marino, and now Rodgers are always at the top of the list, unless you ask Tony Dungy.
The arguments are different for everyone. Statistical nerds favor guys like Manning and Brees and Marino. Brady and Montana are selected for their postseason legend. Elway and Unitas are less common arguments, but typically thrown in by old timers. Rodgers is unique, since he’s relatively new to the scene compared with the above mentioned players, and is usually considered the most “purely talented” and athletic of the bunch.
But for each one, there are arguments against them. Rodgers is said to he too new, or lacking in the postseason success outside of his 2010 performance. Manning is a classic choker, a nine-time one and done playoff performer. Marino never won the Big Game, Brees throws too many picks and misses the playoffs too much, Elway only won super bowls because of Terrell Davis. Montana was statistically not that great, but knew how to dial it up for yhe postseason.
The argument with Brady, in my experience, is always related to his coach. He has great numbers, even for today, with often mediocre receivers. He doesn’t have a history of choking or blowing big games. He even won his fifth super bowl and fourth super bowl MVP. But for some reason, he is the only one who has his hall of fame coach held against him.
Yes, Bill Belichick is spectacular. Even without Brady he’s gone 19-19, though he hadn’t made the playoffs in the two Brady-free seasons with New England. (People conveniently forget the 5-11 2000 season, Bledsoe’s last as a starter in NE) But without Brady it’s likely that he wouldn’t ever have won. super bowl with The Patriots. I love Drew Bledsoe, but he had injury issues and didn’t play great in big games: Brady, on the other hand, has had two of the greatest super bowl performances ever, at the ages of 37 and 39. Remember Manning at 39? He sucked.
Belichick has transformed the Patriots into a machine. But he’s not the sole reason for Brady’s success. His offensive roster moves have actually probably hindered New England, especially in the mid 2000s. If Deion Branch was on the team in 2006, Brady would have had 4 super bowl wins in 6 years.
Beyond that, nobody ever says anything about Montana’s hall of fame coach and star-packed defense and offense. Nobody mentions Don Shula leading Marino, or Manning having a spectacular receiving core and a solid defense, along with a hall of fame coach in Tony Dungy. Nobody else in the discussion has their coach considered when their stats and talents are stacked up. Only Brady is punished for having a good coach, something that every single player in that list had. If people want to hold that against Brady, do it consistently. Hold it against Montana and Manning. Either that or don’t bother using what little ammo you have left to criticize Brady and pretend that he hasn’t warnwd four super bowl MVPs, with the potential for more at the age of 40.