Tom Brady and the Boston Sports Pantheon

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Dec 6th

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ivanvamp

In the Starting Line-Up
Some interesting conversation in another thread about Brady's performance against the Jets and where he ranks got me thinking that a separate thread on this might be worthy. Where does Brady rank among Boston sports' all time greats? Here are some candidates:

Basketball (a lot to like here):
Bill Russell
John Havlicek
Larry Bird
Paul Pierce (yes, I said it, and yes, he deserves a spot here as a nominee)
Dave Cowens
Bob Cousy
Tommy Heinson
Kevin McHale
Robert Parish


Football:
John Hannah
Tom Brady
Gino Cappelletti
Steve Nelson
Russ Francis
Andre Tippett
Mike Haynes

Baseball:
Ted Williams
Carl Yastrzemski
Pedro Martinez
Babe Ruth (yes, his short career with the Red Sox was awesome...look it up)
Cy Young
Jimmy Foxx
Roger Clemens
Jim Rice
Joe Cronin
Tris Speaker
Nomar Garciaparra
Bobby Doerr
Wade Boggs

Hockey:
Bobby Orr
Tim Thomas
Phil Esposito
Ray Borque
Cam Neely
Eddie Shore
Aubrey Clapper
Milt Schmidt
Terry O'Reilly

Miscellaneous:
Rocky Marciano (boxing)
Joan Benoit Samuelson (marathon...she's from southern Maine...not sure if that counts...)
Doug Flutie (for his college performance, mainly)

Who am I forgetting as a legitimate candidate? You can use whatever criteria you want: statistical performance, legendary status, championships won, etc. Just make a case for those guys. Then from there maybe we come up with the top 5.

Here are 5 candidates, in no particular order:

Tom Brady: One of the greatest QB ever to play, 3 championships, 2 MVPs, numerous records, has elevated a franchise to the pinnacle of the sport.

Ted Williams: One of the greatest baseball players of all time, with the statistical cache to back that claim up. Also was a war hero, fighting in two wars....those lost years would have enhanced his already incredible statistical resume. No championships, however.

Larry Bird: Three titles, three MVPs, brought Boston Celtics basketball out from it's dormant state in the late 70's.

Bill Russell: Most rings ever. Not sure much more needs to be said than that. Dominant big man on the greatest team in sports history (the 50's/60's Celtics).

Rocky Marciano: Only undefeated heavyweight champion of all time.

Going with the top 5 is brutal, because I know Orr should be here, and it pains me to even think of leaving Pedro Martinez off the list.
 

fnordcircle

The poster who James White said inspires him.
PatsFans.com Supporter
Williams
Russell
Orr
Bird
Brady

In no particular order.
 

Fencer

Pro Bowl Player
Bonus points to Williams for being in the Hall of Fame of two different sports. :)

I still don't put him at the top, due to the Red Sox' lack of championships. In particular, Russell, Brady, and Bird are all ahead of him.

RealGM • View topic - RealGM Top 100 List might give some ideas on where to rank the hoops players.
 
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MoLewisrocks

PatsFans.com Supporter
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You cannot leave Orr off that list. Apologies to Marciano and boxing fans... Pedro might have been a candidate but for the way his career played out and being here for just the one ring undercuts the fact that for a time there was no more compelling a sporting event to witness than a dominate Pedto start...
 

RhodyPatriot

In the Starting Line-Up
Bobby Orr is the greatest player I've ever seen in any given sport. He literally changed the way his sport and his position is played.
Orr's impact on this region is also unrivaled.
Hockey rinks were built all over New England because of Bobby Orr and the Big Bad Bruins and that was before the advent of cable TV and 24/7 sports media. If you lived 60 miles outside of Boston then you either got a roof top antenna so you could get a clear picture or you fought through wavey, snowy bad TV reception. Never been another athlete who owed this town and this region the way Bobby Orr did.

Bill Russell was the greatest Celtic. Larry Bird was the best passing/jump shooting big man I've ever seen play.

Tom Brady is one of the greatest QB's ever to play the game. Adam Vinatieri is one of the greatest clutch kickers in the history of the NFL. Both are all-time Patriot greats and future HOFers. Btw, Tom doesn't come close to owning this town or this region the way Orr did. Not even close.

Ted Williams was the best pure hitter the Sox have ever had. Big Papi David Ortiz is the best clutch hitter I've ever seen. Unreal how many big hits in big spots Papi's delivered over the years.
 

shmessy

Northern VA/Retired
PatsFans.com Supporter
I'm sorry, but if you're going to put Gino Capelletti and Russ Francis on the Football list, what are you doing leaving Drew Bledsoe and Troy Brown off?

Not to mention putting Steve Nelson on but Tedy Bruschi or Willie McGinest off.

Tippet is a different story. If it weren't for being a contemporary of LT, he might be considered one of the greatest LB's ever.

And I agree with the other posters. Marciano was an unbelievably great boxer, but Orr was a God to the region.
 
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Deus Irae

PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club
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Listing in no particular order, and including 2 from both baseball and basketball:

Ruth/Williams
Orr
Russell/Bird
Brady
Marciano
Rodgers
 
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jlu52

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Russell at the top. No better winning force in all of sports. He stands alone.
Then in any order, Brady, Williams, Orr, and I have to include Pedro. Pedro's starts were a must see, scheduled event for any serious multi-sport Boston fan, during most of his tenure with the Sox. All of the other Boston greats are placed after these guys, IMHO. Tough not to be able to include Bird in the five, but as great as he was, he definitely ain't Russell. Any fan not old enough to see how dominant Mr. Russell was throughout his entire career really missed out on something very special.
 

Trocadile

On the Roster
I'm not old enough to have appreciated Williams, so, of the guys I watched play, my list would be:

1) Russell
2) Orr
3) Brady
4) Bird

And there really isn't anybody else who was at the level of those four.
 

randomk1

In the Starting Line-Up
Russell at the top. No better winning force in all of sports. He stands alone.
Then in any order, Brady, Williams, Orr, and I have to include Pedro. Pedro's starts were a must see, scheduled event for any serious multi-sport Boston fan, during most of his tenure with the Sox. All of the other Boston greats are placed after these guys, IMHO. Tough not to be able to include Bird in the five, but as great as he was, he definitely ain't Russell. Any fan not old enough to see how dominant Mr. Russell was throughout his entire career really missed out on something very special.

Bird > Russell
 

Jackson 2

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I'm not old enough to have appreciated Williams, so, of the guys I watched play, my list would be:

1) Russell
2) Orr
3) Brady
4) Bird

And there really isn't anybody else who was at the level of those four.
I'm old enough to have seen Williams at the end of his career when I was a young child. Food for thought: in 1957, when I believe Williams was 38 years old, he hit .388 for a full season which was literally a handful of hits from batting .400. He belongs with your other 4.
 

PatsSox363804

In the Starting Line-Up
It's Orr for reasons already stated. He has the rings, he changed the game, and no one owned the town like he did. Brady is definitely top 5, no question, but I cat rank him above Orrr, Russell, or Williams.
 

BradyManny

Pro Bowl Player
Williams
Russell
Orr
Bird
Brady

In no particular order.

I think it makes sense to go by sport. Russell is arguably the GOAT amongst them all, but its really hard to compare the league he played in with the NFL of today.

If Brady wins another ring, I think you could argue he's #2 to Russell and surpassed everyone else.

But again, I'd probably rather go by sport and avoid the cross-sport comparisons which don't always work.
 

randomk1

In the Starting Line-Up
NFW

Russell took on Chamberlain and won championship after championship. Owned the boards. Did what it took to win. Greatest Boston champion of all time.

I can hardly consider myself an expert on this...i can only say so much as what i've heard or read on the old school guys. Russell was playing on the most stacked team ever vs Bird playing against the great teams of the 80's and still dominating.
 

eric5280

Practice Squad Player
Bill is the number one center of all time. Bird does not rank as the number one PF of all time.

Winningest player but hardly a consensus for best center of all time. KAJ, Wilt are widely (and by widely I mean outside of MA) considered better centers. And secondly, Bird is generally considered a SF and one of the best of all time. I honestly think Bird was better and had a bigger impact on the NBA. Russel played at a time where 6'8" centers was the norm and there were like 8 teams in the entire league so it was much easier to win titles than in Bird's era.
 

condon84

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Williams
Russell
Orr
Bird
Brady

In no particular order.

I think it's gotta be this too. If you look into the history of their respective sports, these guys will stand amongst the GOAT.


Sidenote: Pedro may not be in this list, but there was nothing like a Pedro start for those 4-5 years he dominated the game. To think that he did that against guys who were juicing and STILL dominated the way he did. Best pitcher I've ever seen.
 
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