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Debunking Brady being "carried" to Super Bowls by his defense

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Ice_Ice_Brady

High Priest at Team Bill's Temple
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It's always amusing to hear clowns making the "Montana is undefeated in SB's" argument as a case for him being as good or better than Brady. Think about it, in their 'logic' Montana somehow ends up getting credit for losing earlier in the playoffs or not even getting his team there. It's patently ridiculous. Likewise the lack of true FA BS, the lack of FA meant a free spending owner (DeBartolo) could build a super team and keep it together as long as he pleased. If he needed to add a piece (Russ Francis) he could buy it from a cheap/broke owner (Sullivan). FA broke up the dynasty after dynasty pattern of the league.

Especially in the JV vs. Varsity SBs of that stretch 80s. NFC was 14-0. Montana was 4-0. Aikman was 3-0. Theismann, Williams, and Rypien were 3-0. Young threw 6 TDs against the Bad News Chargers. The context makes that SB record a lot more likely based solely on the competition, and a lot less of a fantasy that players actually put up better numbers as competition levels increase, which isn’t true in any endeavor. It was a bizarre competition imbalance where the NFC teams were actually moving backwards in competition after winning the NFCCG. No one can deny that if they’re being honest. And Montana was absolutely great and deserves an incredible legacy, but he wasn’t perfect and didn’t have a magic wand.
 

PatsWSB47

Pro Bowl Player
Especially in the JV vs. Varsity SBs of that stretch 80s. NFC was 14-0. Montana was 4-0. Aikman was 3-0. Theismann, Williams, and Rypien were 3-0. Young threw 6 TDs against the Bad News Chargers. The context makes that SB record a lot more likely based solely on the competition, and a lot less of a fantasy that players actually put up better numbers as competition levels increase, which isn’t true in any endeavor. It was a bizarre competition imbalance where the NFC teams were actually moving backwards in competition after winning the NFCCG. No one can deny that if they’re being honest. And Montana was absolutely great and deserves an incredible legacy, but he wasn’t perfect and didn’t have a magic wand.
Exactly. Everyone knew the AFC was inferior and wouldn't beat the the NFC opponent.
 

MAC10

Big Mac Jones fan
2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Exactly. Everyone knew the AFC was inferior and wouldn't beat the the NFC opponent.

Some of the teams Brady made mistakes against in the SB were no better than the teams Montana was perfect against in the SB....

vs. Carolina - 1 INT (in the endzone no less)

vs. 1st Eagles - 1 fumble

vs. 2nd NYG - intentional grounding in the EZ

vs ATL - INT (pick 6)

vs. 2nd Rams - INT

The idea that Montana played crap teams in the SB is nonsense.

Bengals - Ken Anderson MVP

Dolphins - 6th ranked defense, Dan Marino (MVP), Don Shula

Bengals - Boomer Esiason MVP

Broncos - 1st ranked defense, John Elway

Although the Niners opponents were not as good as Bears, Redskins, Giants of the 80s, they were still pretty good. Montana did what he had to do and blew out most of his SB opponents. You name me another quarterback in this league who went through a 4 game super bowl stretch without being responsible for a single turnover.

Right. He got 5 rings. I knew the laughing troll would throw that in there as if that destroyed my point when the debate was about quarterbacks.

Then next time specify that your point was about QBs...
 
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PatsWSB47

Pro Bowl Player
I can see that I'm getting responses from an "ignored member". Knock yourself out. Waste your time. You're not wating mine anymore.
 

1960Pats

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I don’t see value in statistics determining what should have happened instead of looking at what actually happened.
Look at Bill's Pats record without Brady and see what actually happened.
 
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1960Pats

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Especially in the JV vs. Varsity SBs of that stretch 80s. NFC was 14-0. Montana was 4-0. Aikman was 3-0. Theismann, Williams, and Rypien were 3-0. Young threw 6 TDs against the Bad News Chargers. The context makes that SB record a lot more likely based solely on the competition, and a lot less of a fantasy that players actually put up better numbers as competition levels increase, which isn’t true in any endeavor. It was a bizarre competition imbalance where the NFC teams were actually moving backwards in competition after winning the NFCCG. No one can deny that if they’re being honest. And Montana was absolutely great and deserves an incredible legacy, but he wasn’t perfect and didn’t have a magic wand.
I despised that run by the NFC. That's what has them slightly ahead right now in the SBs vs the AFC. Well, that and Brady switching conferences. Otherwise the AFC is dominant in every other aspect of head-to-head play.
 

Jim Beankie

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
I found a site where you can find advanced stats on offense and defense per year with filters. One of these stats is EPA - expected points provided by defense or offense per game and per play. For offense positive EPA is good and negative EPA is bad and for defense it's the other way around.


One of @MAC10's posts on this topic gave me an idea so I did some research about all of Brady's Super Bowl defenses and found some interesting facts.
View attachment 42369

Conclusions
  • Not really seeing evidence here that Brady carried by a great dominant defense to the Super Bowl. His defenses were good, but being Super Bowl teams that shouldn't surprise anyone.
  • The red numbers show the defenses were actually a liability in the playoffs that year (positive EPA which is bad for a defense) and they won the SB anyway
  • The 2004 defense was #1 in EPA per play in the playoffs but that's offset by the fact the 2004 Patriots OFFENSE was also #1 in the same category.
  • Our 2003, 2014 and 2018 defenses in the playoffs weren't nearly as dominant as we think they were, being responsible for allowing more points than the other way around. So that totally nullifies the idea that Brady was carried by them to the Super Bowl
  • Looked up the numbers for the 2011 and 2017 Patriots defense, two of the worst Super Bowl defenses. Both of these would be red numbers (positive EPA) in the in the chart above. So that shows Brady carried them to the Super Bowl even if they didn't win it.

Here are the top 5 QB's who were really carried by their defense playing great in the playoffs and look at the difference between these numbers and the ones above:
View attachment 42368

Brady is nowhere to be found in the top 5 but guess who appears twice? :D
First thing that came to mind is watching all the darn games where the Pats entered the dreaded "Bend but don't Break" phase. One does have to wonder if the Pats were able to afford entering that phase in part due the Brady. Side note there was one season where the last 4 teams remaining in the playoffs (including the Pats) were all in the bottom five in Passing defense (which would kindof make sense if they run up a big lead and the opponent would then go with just the passing game for the rest of the game). Can't remember the details, unfortunately.

Thanks for this. Didn't really know much about EPA (or as a relative fogey who was and is still turned off by the concept of WAR in baseball so didn't bother to read about it previously), so it's cool to read about. I have some problems with it, but definitely a useful tool.
 
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Ring 6

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Look at Bill's Pats record without Brady and see what actually happened.
I look at everyone’s total record, as everyone should but thanks for showing you have an agenda in every list you make.
 

sb1

Hall of Fame Poster
Exactly. Everyone knew the AFC was inferior and wouldn't beat the the NFC opponent.
And the first team that started to really put a dent into the legend of NFC Super Bowl superiority was the 1996 AFC Champion Patriots.

I'll always believe we beat the Packers if BB was the head coach of that team instead of Tuna. BB would know better than to get Vinatieri to kick to Howard and go bombs away with Bledsoe in the 4th quarter.
 

PatsWSB47

Pro Bowl Player
And the first team that started to really put a dent into the legend of NFC Super Bowl superiority was the 1996 AFC Champion Patriots.

I'll always believe we beat the Packers if BB was the head coach of that team instead of Tuna. BB would know better than to go bombs away with Bledsoe in the 4th quarter.
And for me its not just who was a better coach. Tuna already had one foot out of the door. I'll always wonder how all in he was for that Superbowl.
 
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sb1

Hall of Fame Poster
And for me its not just who was a better coach. Tuna already had one foot out of the door. I'll always wonder how all in he was for that Superbowl.
Same. I thought he was kind of nonchalant about the AFCCG win and then again after the SB loss. I guess we know why.

Terrible coaching job in that SB.
 

maust1013

Just Another Guy
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And the first team that started to really put a dent into the legend of NFC Super Bowl superiority was the 1996 AFC Champion Patriots.

I'll always believe we beat the Packers if BB was the head coach of that team instead of Tuna. BB would know better than to get Vinatieri to kick to Howard and go bombs away with Bledsoe in the 4th quarter.

And for me its not just who was a better coach. Tuna already had one foot out of the door. I'll always wonder how all in he was for that Superbowl.

Desmond (f'n) Howard. Howard was killing the Pats with his returns but they kept right on sending him returnable balls. What coach that had his head screwed on straight would have continued to punt or kick to him? 244 yards in returns including the 99 yard kickoff return TD that was the dagger in the heart moment of the game and secured Howard the game MVP award. The game was played in the wind free Superdome. There was no excuse for not burying the kickoffs and angling the punts to the sidelines or out of bounds.

Football isn't baseball, stats and box scores can't provide the ability to relive the game. Howard's returns provided more than just field position and points, they consistently shifted the momentum of that game in Green Bay's direction. I'm sure I'm not the only one that can vividly recall yelling my head off every time he was kicked a returnable ball with my blood boiling. Never mind what transpired with Parcells in the aftermath, the decision to continue kicking to Howard was such an obviously bad coaching decision I wasn't alone in questioning whether it was deliberate in real time.
 

sb1

Hall of Fame Poster
Desmond (f'n) Howard. Howard was killing the Pats with his returns but they kept right on sending him returnable balls. What coach that had his head screwed on straight would have continued to punt or kick to him? 244 yards in returns including the 99 yard kickoff return TD that was the dagger in the heart moment of the game and secured Howard the game MVP award. The game was played in the wind free Superdome. There was no excuse for not burying the kickoffs and angling the punts to the sidelines or out of bounds.

Football isn't baseball, stats and box scores can't provide the ability to relive the game. Howard's returns provided more than just field position and points, they consistently shifted the momentum of that game in Green Bay's direction. I'm sure I'm not the only one that can vividly recall yelling my head off every time he was kicked a returnable ball with my blood boiling. Never mind what transpired with Parcells in the aftermath, the decision to continue kicking to Howard was such an obviously bad coaching decision I wasn't alone in questioning whether it was deliberate in real time.
Yep. Annoys me that Howard was chirping recently about Vinatieri kicking to him. That was all on Tuna.

Tuna also changed the double team that was doing a great job on Reggie White in the first half to Max Lane. Another curious move and one that I would make if I was a coach trying to torpedo my team in that game.
 

crawhammer

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
I posted this elsewhere but I think it fits here for a look at some basic rankings....

2001-2019 Patriots Offense
Top 10 in PF: 18
Top 10 in YF: 13
Top 5 in PF: 11
Top 5 in YF: 8
Top 3 in PF: 8
Top 3 in YF: 5

2001-2019 Patriots Defense
Top 10 in PA: 16
Top 10 in YA: 8
Top 5 in PA: 8
Top 5 in YA: 2
Top 3 in PA: 5
Top 3 in YA: 1

Patriots offense comes out ahead in each, especially when looking at eliteness (Top 3 & 5).
 
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MAC10

Big Mac Jones fan
2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
I posted this elsewhere but I think it fits here for a look at some basic rankings....

2001-2019 Patriots Offense
Top 10 in PF: 18
Top 10 in YF: 13
Top 5 in PF: 11
Top 5 in YF: 8
Top 3 in PF: 8
Top 3 in YF: 5

2001-2019 Patriots Defense
Top 10 in PA: 16
Top 10 in YA: 8
Top 5 in PA: 8
Top 5 in YA: 2
Top 3 in PA: 5
Top 3 in YA: 1

Patriots offense comes out ahead in each, especially when looking at eliteness (Top 3 & 5).

Complete nonsense. The only years that matter are the super bowl winning years.

2001: Offense (PF - 6th, YF - 19th) Defense (PA - 6th, YA -24th) Edge: Even

2003: Offense (PF - 12th, YF - 17th) Defense (PA - 1st, YA -7th) Edge: Defense

2004: Offense (PF - 4th, YF - 7th) Defense (PA -2nd, YA -9th) Edge: Defense

2014: Offense (PF - 4th, YF - 11th) Defense (PA -8th, YA -13th) Edge: Offense

2016: Offense (PF - 3rd, YF - 4th) Defense (PA -1st, YA -8th) Edge: Even

2018: Offense (PF - 4th, YF - 5th) Defense (PA -7th, YA - 23rd) Edge: Offense

Overall, it looks pretty even between the defense and offense for the super bowl years. The other years are meaningless.
 

Biffins

In the Starting Line-Up
I feel like this will be less of an argument as soon as people realize that occasionally even the best quarterbacks have an off game and they end up winning due their defense doing enough to get the victory. But the argument trying to diminish Brady is silly. He’s a once in a generation QB just like Belichick became, and is, one of the great coaches of all time. You can’t take that away from either one, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Was he perfect 100% of the time? Of course not, that’s why it paid to have one of the best defensive minds as his head coach and most of us are happy with the way it worked out ;)

Why does any praise for Brady have to be simultaneously followed by praise for BB…… as if to counterbalance. You can could have stopped at “he’s a once in a generation QB”. The OP never mentioned BB in any data provided.
 

Ian

Administrator
ADMINISTRATOR
Why does any praise for Brady have to be simultaneously followed by praise for BB…… as if to counterbalance. You can could have stopped at “he’s a once in a generation QB”. The OP never mentioned BB in any data provided.
That is true, but you do realize that Belichick played a big role in his development, correct? Credit Brady for having the work ethic to become who he was, but it makes a massive difference when you're coached by someone like Belichick vs Jeff Fisher, etc. Again, I vehemently disagreed with Belichick for not keeping Brady and think they should have ridden him until the wheels fell off (and they could definitely have kept pushing out his contract to do it, just like they had the previous 20-years).

Yes, Brady is absolutely a once-in-a-generation quarterback, we'll never see it again in our lifetime. But I keep coming back to the argument of how many Super Bowls would he have won under another coach and I don't think that number is 6. Again, the Manning-Dungy pairing is probably the best example. Not to mention all the other elite quarterbacks who were in the league during that span ... no one dominated - or won close to that many - like New England. I think Brady is the best ever, hands down. But he had some really good people around him who definitely had an impact.

All you need to do is watch the playoffs every year to see the dumb coaching decisions that occur that cost teams games. That's been - fortunately - a difference-maker here. At the same time, you need quarterbacks who can make plays when it matters and he's definitely the guy who all of us always felt gave us a chance at the end if the game was close, and he also never made a dumb, game-ending play. That's why it drives me nuts seeing some of the comparisons which make zero sense because what's done is done, it's over. He's already the best to ever do it ;)
 

RicoG

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Unless BB turns it around, he will not pass Shula and Landry for most wins, he will not have proven that he can win without Brady, and lastly will be viewed as only one of the greatest coach ever instead of undisputed GOAT.

Meanwhile, Brady's comparative greatness has surpassed BB. He has proven he can win outside the Patriot Way. He has obtained most of the major records for his position. He is largely considered the undisputed GOAT by a country mile.

Two years ago, we didn't know who was greater. Now we know.
 

Ian

Administrator
ADMINISTRATOR
Unless BB turns it around, he will not pass Shula and Landry for most wins, he will not have proven that he can win without Brady, and lastly will be viewed as only one of the greatest coach ever instead of undisputed GOAT.

Meanwhile, Brady's comparative greatness has surpassed BB. He has proven he can win outside the Patriot Way. He has obtained most of the major records for his position. He is largely considered the undisputed GOAT by a country mile.

Two years ago, we didn't know who was greater. Now we know.
I sort of agree with that, but I would put it this way.

The split essentially put the pressure on both to win without the other. Brady winning his 7th cemented his status as the best ever and silenced all the idiots who were still claiming guys like Rodgers was a better QB. To watch him march through Brees, Rodgers, and then beat Mahomes absolutely shut everyone up. I was nervous for him because I didn't want to see his legacy take a hit because losing any of those would have been brutal, but he did what he needed to do and it was really a lot of fun watching it play out.

As for Belichick, you're right in that if he can't get them back to at least being a contender in the AFC, that's a problem. Winning a Super Bowl is a big ask, but at this point, I'd settle with being able to hang with the elites, and getting into or through the Divisional round has to at least be the next step. If he can at least get them back to that point, that's still better than 90% of other Hall of Fame coaches at the end of their careers. But how this past season ended, getting blown out in the playoffs, definitely can't happen again. That was a big hit and was a black mark against the coaching staff, especially considering the fact they never got off the field. If that becomes habitual, the chatter will definitely increase and that won't be a good thing.
 

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