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Patriots Insiders: Is Brady the best?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mikey, Dec 25, 2005.

  1. mikey

    mikey In the Starting Line-Up

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    http://patriots.scout.com/2/482364.html

    [​IMG]
    Does Brady Deserve To Be Called "The Best"?

    By Ricky Popolizio

    Date: Dec 25, 2005

    There's a debate raging in over who's the best. The best RB, the best QB, the best all-around player. Each year players prove themselves on the field to have others judge them in terms of value, ability even statistics. Arguments over who qualifies as "the best" rage on, but one thing that helps clarify the picture is success. There's one player who has proven his case through success, and he's not related to a guy named Archie. It's Tom Brady. He's good, but is he the best?

    Three-time Super Bowl champion. Two-time Super Bowl MVP. 2005 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. Owner of the highest quarterback rating and completion percentage of all time for a Patriot. Tom Brady's aforementioned accomplishments were all first-time feats for a New England Patriot quarterback. As such, it may only be a matter of time before the 28-year-old is recognized as the best quarterback in the history of the franchise. Now in his 6th and perhaps most impressive year yet, Brady is putting up big numbers while climbing the Patriots' record books.

    With an impressive win against Tampa Bay in week 15, Brady and the Pats (9-5) are surging at the right time. Several key pieces have come into place in recent weeks to help New England, but Brady has been excellent all season and that cannot be overlooked. With two weeks remaining in the regular season, Brady has already put up a career high in passing yards (3888).
    Bledsoe is the only other Patriot quarterback to top that number, but he has done so three times (4555 in 1994, 4086 in 1996 and 3985 in 1999). A tough 667 yards separate Brady from Bledsoe's best mark of 4555. In all likelihood, Brady will finish the season somewhere in between Bledsoe's 4086 and 4555.

    For arguments sake, Brady's numbers, as good as they are, do not justify him being the greatest quarterback to ever play in New England. Drew Bledsoe and Steve Grogan remain at number one and two in all-time passing yards (29,657 and 26,886 to Brady's 17,813). Bledsoe, Grogan and Vito "Babe" Parilli still top Brady's touchdown pass numbers (166, 182, 132 to Brady's 120). But Brady is in only his sixth season since coming into the NFL. Since taking over for an injured Drew Bledsoe in 2000, Brady has started 85 consecutive games for New England and doesn't appear to be slowing down. On his current pace, he will likely shatter most New England quarterback records. Still, it is necessary to look at former Patriot greats to get perspective on his accomplishments.

    It is also only fair to consider a few Patriot QBs to be in the same class as Brady. Drew Bledsoe (29,657) is the high-time leader in passing yards. Grogan (26,886) is second, and Parilli (16,747) is fourth. Tony Eason is fifth (10,732) and Jim Plunkett is sixth (9,932). None of these quarterbacks led New England to a championship, but they were all stars in New England (Bledsoe earned a ring in 2001 with Brady at the helm).

    In his six seasons with the Pats, Eason owned a QB rating of 80.6. That is the second highest rating in Patriots history behind Brady's 88.6. Eason also owns the highest Patriot passer rating for a season. He finished the 1984 campaign with a 93.4 rating. Brady's 92.6 rating in 2004 is the second highest mark in Patriots history.

    Babe Parilli started 94 games for the Pats between 1961 and 1967. He is ranked fourth, after Brady, on the Patriots all-time passer list. His only remaining record is for a franchise-high 31 touchdown passes in 1964.
    Steve Grogan was a Patriot his entire career from 1975-1990. The 16 years was the longest anyone has ever been a Patriot. Second on the all-time passing list, Grogan is still the Patriots all-time leader in touchdown passes thrown (182).

    Jim Plunkett threw for 9,932 yards as a Patriot from 1971 to 1975. Not bad, but his 87 interceptions and only 62 touchdowns just isn't good enough to justify a case against Mr. Brady.

    Tom Brady's efficiency is unmatched by any of his Patriots predecessors. His career 62.0 completion percentage and 88.6 quarterback rating are by far the best in Pats history. In 2001, Brady completed 63.9 percent of his passes, establishing a Patriots record. He has 120 career touchdown passes to only 64 interceptions. Grogan, Parilli and Plunkett all threw more career picks than touchdowns. Although Bledsoe and Eason found their teammates more often than their opponents, (Bledsoe had 166 TD's to 138 INT's and Eason had 60 TD's to 48 INT's), they still weren't nearly as efficient as Brady.

    Brady is also a proven leader and team player. This year, Brady has targeted 12 different receivers for 23 touchdown passes. The twelve different touchdown recipients are the most ever for a QB in the NFL. The previous record of 11 different targets was shared by Brady (2002), Sammy Baugh of Washington (1947), Dan Marino (1985 and Vinny Testaverde of Baltimore (1996).

    Brady has always been one to distribute the ball evenly around the field. Deon Branch has emerged as the team's number one threat, but everyone is getting touches. He doesn't look for Branch every time. He will find Kevin Faulk out of the backfield, or Ben Watson streaking across the middle or Givens dashing down the sideline. Whoever is open, Brady finds them. His efficiency extends to his yards per pass attempt. His 7.89 yards per pass attempt this year is a significant improvement to his career 7.09 mark.

    Undoubtedly the most impressive statistic on Tom Brady's resume is three Super Bowl victories in the past four years. Almost as impressive are his two Super Bowl MVPs. There lies the big difference between Tom Brady and many other great quarterbacks. No matter how talented or statistically great an athlete is, if they fail to win the big game, their careers are questioned. Peyton Manning is the best example of an active record-breaking quarterback who has yet to take his team all the way. Dan Marino will always be considered one of the best ever at his position. But if someone, like Brady, puts up comparable numbers and wins perhaps an all-time high five Super Bowls, Marino will surely take a back seat. An athlete's success is ultimately measured in their ability to win. Brady has done so three times. Bledsoe is the only other Patriot to get to the Super Bowl.

    Great players don't always have great leadership skills. The Boston Bruins recently watched their best player, Joe Thornton, get shipped to San Jose. Thornton was the Bruins' franchise player, the centerpiece to an up-and-coming squad. But in seven years, Thornton took the Bruins past the first round of the playoffs only once. Now he's playing hockey on the West Coast because he didn't show the intangibles that Brady displays game after game.

    Brady has shown his ability to win the big game under tough circumstances time and time again. He has already led 21 fourth quarter come-from-behind or tie-breaking victories. In week three against Pittsburgh, Brady was 12-12 in the fourth quarter on his way to leading the Pats to an OT win. He has led the Pats on game-winning drives in each of the last three Super Bowl victories in the fourth quarter. He has never lost a playoff game (9-0). He is 7-0 in overtime. He is 22-2 in games decided by a six points or less. Brady is big time.

    Tom Brady has what you cannot teach; the innate ability to be a game-breaker. It is for this reason that he will go down not only as one of the best Patriots in history, but one of the best athletes in the history of Boston sports. As of now, Brady's career record is 57-19. His .750 winning percentage is the best in NFL history since the beginning of the Super Bowl Era (1966) among quarterbacks with at least 40 starts. Behind him are Roger Staubach (Dallas, .746), Joe Montana (San Francisco and Kansas City, .713) and Donovan McNabb (Philadelphia, .709).

    Brady is in good company and leading the pack.
     
  2. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    "Bledsoe is the only other Patriot to get to the Super Bowl."

    Grogan and Eason must not count....

    "In week three against Pittsburgh, Brady was 12-12 in the fourth quarter on his way to leading the Pats to an OT win."

    OT?

    Sigh, a nice piece, but it seems some what hurried.
     
  3. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand Virtual Internet Person

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    I think Brady is already recognized as the best quarterback in Patriot history, by far. Anyone who still questions that has been living under a rock for the past four years. It surprised me to see that the author debates that. Sure Grogan and Bledsoe played here longer, but that doesn't make them better.
     
  4. mikey

    mikey In the Starting Line-Up

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    Here's another article today

    http://www.bristolpress.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=15816740&BRD=1643&PAG=461&dept_id=464194&rfi=6

    12/25/2005
    Brady is an MVP candidate
    By MICHAEL PARENTE , Journal Register News Service

    FOXBORO, Mass. -- The only way to measure a player’s true value in any sport is to determine where his team would be without him. Some players are invariably more dispensable than others, therefore they don’t hold as much as value as the ones who can’t be replaced.
    Tom Brady is like a rare antique. There’s no denying how much he’s worth and he continuously gets better -- and more valuable -- with age.

    Brady’s in his fifth full year as the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback, and while he’s already won three Super Bowl titles and has become one of the most recognizable players in professional sports, his value has never been higher than it is now.

    The Patriots are 9-5 heading into Monday’s game against the New York Jets. They’ve already clinched their third consecutive AFC East championship and they’ll begin their title defense two weeks from now in the playoffs at Gillette Stadium. None of this would’ve been possible without Brady, whose leadership in the locker room and performance on the field kept the team afloat through a devastating early-season stretch plagued by injuries and uncertainty.

    Brady currently leads the league in passing with 3,888 yards and engineered four-game winning drives this season, including three on the road. He’s clearly been the Patriots’ most valuable player in 2005, but he should draw serious consideration for NFL MVP -- an award he’s never come close to winning despite his 57-19 record as a starter since 2001.

    "You hear the 13-0 record over there in Indianapolis, and I’m happy for those guys to be doing what they’ve been doing, but Tom leads the league in passing and he’s been doing the other things he needs to do to get the team going in the right direction," Patriots fullback Patrick Pass said. "With all the injuries we’ve been faced with -- and I’m not trying to make excuses for the team -- we’ve overcome them and he’s been a big reason why we’re 9-5 right now."

    The Patriots faced a brutal schedule in September and October in which they played four playoff teams from the previous season and were on the road four times in five weeks. To make matters worse, they lost veteran safety Rodney Harrison to a season-ending knee injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers, leaving their secondary in shambles. Starting left tackle Matt Light and backup running back Kevin Faulk -- a key contributor on third down -- also got hurt in that game.

    The Steelers jumped ahead, 13-10, in the fourth quarter and then tied the game at 20 apiece with 2:53 remaining, but Brady calmly completed 12 consecutive passes to set up Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning 43-yard field goal with five seconds left to play. The Patriots escaped with a 23-20 win.

    That was just the beginning. Brady did it again two weeks later in Atlanta when he completed 3-of-4 passes on the game’s final drive to set up a 29-yard field goal from Vinatieri with 20 seconds to go that gave the Patriots a 31-28 win. His performance down the stretch also helped the Patriots rally for 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter of a 21-16 come-from-behind win against Buffalo and his 17-yard touchdown pass to Ben Watson in Miami led New England to a 23-16 win over the Dolphins.

    "If you just watch Tom, you see his demeanor and everything. He works hard on and off the field," Patriots tight end Daniel Graham said. "His presence on the field makes him that vocal leader. He’s in charge of the huddle and everyone knows that."

    Brady’s also become more of a vocal leader. After Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer questioned whether or not the Patriots had reached their "tipping point" with injuries, Brady fired back and told him to worry about his own team. He’s generally a mild-mannered player who leads by example, but he has no problem expressing anger when the situation calls for more intensity.

    "He lets it be known when things aren’t going right, which is what you expect from a quarterback," Pass said. "He’s like the CEO. We depend on him to be on top of his game so everyone else can just follow. We need him to be who he is and he’s been doing a great job of that for the past five years. He’s a great guy to play with. I wouldn’t want to play with any other quarterback than Tom Brady."

    The rest of the country is beginning to understand Brady’s value. He was recently named Sport’s Illustrated Sportsman of the Year for 2005 and was voted to his third Pro Bowl last week.

    "I’ve been around a lot of really competitive guys and I’d put him right up there with the best of them," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. "Tom is pretty much the same every week though. He works as hard at the preparation as anybody that I’ve been around and I’ve been around a lot of guys that have worked exceptionally hard as well. That’s what a pro athlete -- a pro football player -- should do. That’s what Tom does and he does it very well."

    Brady’s toughness and dedication is undeniable. Even after suffering a leg injury in the first quarter of the Patriots’ win at Buffalo, he continued to play despite a noticeable limp and even put his body on the line to block during a run by David Givens.

    More importantly, he’s 5-0 following a loss, which showcases his preparation and willingness to improve on a weekly basis.

    The fact that he’s never satisfied is what makes Brady such a consistent performer. He’s always working hard to get better -- even after a game like the one he has last week against Tampa Bay in which he threw three touchdown passes with his left knee wrapped in a protective brace.

    "We’re 9-5 and no one is happy about that," Brady said. "It’s frustrating because sometimes we don’t perform the way I think we’re capable. You wish it could better. I wish it would be better. That’s what we’re working towards. We have to make improvements."

    The Patriots weathered the storm early in the season and they’ve slowly gotten healthier with each passing week. Brady’s calming influence during the rough times helped his teammates remain confident and focused. He’s a rare gem in a sports world filled with too many selfish athletes. There’s no doubting his value. The Patriots wouldn’t be where they are without him.

    "Tom has had a lot of confidence from the day he’s walked into this building -- in a good way, not in an arrogant way," Belichick said. "Self-confidence is good for every player to have and it’s certainly good to have at that position. That carries over to his teammates and I think his confidence is somewhat contagious and also brings out confidence in other people -- not just in him, but in themselves and what collectively we can do as a unit offensively and as a team."

    .
     
  5. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Dear God in heaven....... Just like Brady has "IT" and Bledsoe doesn't, if you still have to ask the question is Brady the best QB in franchise history you just don't get "IT". I don't understand how let alone where or why any debate rages on this one.

    It's not about raw stats. They mean little except in the context of a Championship season or career. Brady does whatever it takes to win. And he never loses the game in an ego driven effort to do too much, especially when it really matters. He's less than half way through his career and he's already delivered 3 clutch performances in the last 4 Superbowls (not to mention 6 other playoff starts). He has QB'd this franchise to the playoffs in 4 of his first 5 seasons. He will surpass one of his predecessors in TD's in each of the next 3 seasons alone. By then he will also be closing in on the all time yardage mark, and if he plays just another 5 seasons he'll bury them all statistically. Normally you wouldn't assume, but given his durability and consistency..... it's a pretty reasonable assumption. And he's done it all without a Pro Bowl offense surrounding him save one year of Dillon and of course his clutch equal Vinatieri. Sure he's had BB, but that remains a bit of a chicken and the egg relationship.

    He's a HOF lock today. Probably first ballot already. Bledsoe is a potential HOF'er but the longer he plays the less likely he is to get in unless the empty yardage contingent persists in voting for his. Grogan was a blood and guts QB, but he wasn't ever in Tommy's league. Parilli played in another era.

    Rick would have been better served sleeping late on Christmas Day. Confusing premise too in that he starts out sounding like he's talking about greatest in today's game - of which Brady is one if not the - then he veers into greatest in Patriots history - of which he clearly already is a slam dunk.....

    Parente's piece is on the mark - Brady is clearly a legit MVP candidate this season, and from a franchise standpoint he is the MVP in Patriots history.
     
  6. Drewwho

    Drewwho Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Hey...you stole my post!
    Totally agree! This article was actually kinda funny, but also disturbing that writers like this actually exist. Funny thing is while I logged on to check out any new Pat news this evening...I was watching my new copy of 3 games to glory AFC Championship game and once again marveling at Brady and what he did in that game - pure perfection. Perfectly managed and Perfectly executed game by ONE of the better QB's in our franchises history!
     

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