Tom Brady and the Boston Sports Pantheon

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MoLewisrocks

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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.

Orr owned the town at the dawning of an age when the media wasn't as influential let alone vs. a blue collar sport just emerging from relative infancy in this country. And Ted never did because even then the baseball scribes wielded enough influence even back in the day to skew opinion where that sport was concerned. I had uncles who detested Ted simply because a handful of print media conditioned them to. Pedro owned this town momentarily until Shank and Co. decided he shouldn't because he didn't kowtow to them...kinda ditto Nomar and even more briefly Manny and bloody sock. But Petey did truly own it for a few glorious albeit largely gutwrenching seasons in which he subjugated even the mediots... Papi isn't in the conversation.

The sports media won't allow any athlete own this town any more... Despite the fact that their accomplishments have saved their careers in a time when print jobs were disappearing and competition for multi media slots was intensifying nationally. I assume it's primarily because in this market controversy still ultimately fuels ratings and mediots (as opposed to actual journalists of which few remain) are in it for themselves, period.
 

MoLewisrocks

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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 amongBoston 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, broughtBoston 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 sportshistory (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.

Another consideration may be that while it's rare more than athletes stand on the pantheon. And in Boston Red tends to overshadow his own two dominant players and Belichick has to stand along side Brady. Not sure Harry gets to stand on the hockey pantheon aloneside Orr and not sure anyone who didn't play the game gets to stand on the Sox pantheon...
 

sieglo

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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.

I'd replace Marciano with Orr.
 

ivanvamp

In the Starting Line-Up
Bill is the number one center of all time. Bird does not rank as the number one PF of all time.

The Celtics owned Wilt's teams, but Wilt owned Russell. He was a much more dominant player than Russell was, in almost every conceivable fashion.

Clearly the overall stat package is not even close, so I won't even bother with that comparison (though I'd be happy to do so). But what about head to head?

- Wilt: 28.7 ppg, 28.7 rpg
- Russell: 14.5 ppg, 23.7 rpg

- Wilt holds the record for rebounds in a game with 55. Who was it against? Russell. Wilt also had 6 other 40+ rebound games against Russell. Meanwhile, Russell only had one 40+ rebound game vs Wilt.

They didn't keep stats on blocked shots so we have no way of quantifying who was better in that area. I'm sure Celtic fans will say that Russell was better defensively, but at his size, with his athleticism, it's almost impossible for me to imagine that Wilt was anything but a great shot blocker.

The only tangible area that Russell had an edge over Wilt in is in championships. Which, obviously, is a big deal. But that is a *TEAM* thing, not an individual thing. Russell's teams were obviously superior to Wilt, and I'm even willing to say that Russell's team-first approach was a big part of that, so he gets some serious credit there.

But in terms of who was *better*? Wilt.
 

Ron Sellers

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
It's Bobby Orr, then a debate for who's number two between Brady, Russell, Bird, Williams and Marciano.


A couple names that deserve to be mentioned, considering who else was nominated in the original list:

Marvelous Marvin Hagler - if boxing wasn't so corrupt and he had better management he would have been champion several years before he finally got his shot. And even though cowardly Sugar Ray Leonard avoided him until he was well past his prime, I'm still convinced Hagler won that fight. Leonard showed his true colors by stalling and making excuses for a rematch for two more years before Hagler finally gave up and quit.

YouTube: Hagler-Hearns - Greatest Fight Ever

Bill Rodgers - if you're going to include Joan Benoit Samuelson then you have to include Rodgers, perhaps the greatest marathon runner ever. Instrumental in popularizing the sport.

Johnny Kelley - since we're including marathon runners, the list would be incomplete without this legend.

Harry Agannis - the two-sport star whose career was tragically cut short just as he was entering his prime.
 

ivanvamp

In the Starting Line-Up
I'd replace Marciano with Orr.

And that would be fair. Like I said, I *know* Orr has to be in there somewhere...but I just don't know who to drop. I mean, Rocky Marciano was the only undefeated heavyweight champion of all time. Not one person has ever accomplished that besides him. Not Frazier. Not Ali. Not Louis. Not Holmes. Not Tyson. Not Foreman. Not........anyone.

I know boxing doesn't rank up there with other sports in this region, but how does he not deserve a spot in the pantheon? He actually accomplished a lot more than Larry Bird did, relatively speaking? I mean, several guys have won 3 NBA titles and 3 MVPs. Jordan, Magic, Bird, Kareem, and Russell. But nobody has ever done what Marciano did.
 

shmessy

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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.

Ummmm.....no. When you compare Bird to Russell, you are comparing a truly excellent apple to an apple orchard.

Russell won 10 NBA Championships.........2 NCAA Championships and 1 Olympic Gold Medal (on a team where he WASN'T a mere figurehead like Bird was on his).

Further, 2 of those NBA Championships he was the PLAYER/COACH of the team.

AND, he did it all (at least his professional career) in a city that (at the time) intensely seethed with racism. In many respects, he played a part in the changing of Boston's actual culture.

No one in the histroy of AMERICAN SPORTS (let alone Boston sports) has ever achieved what William Felton Russell achieved.

You should really read up about him.
 
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DarrylS

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The Celtics owned Wilt's teams, but Wilt owned Russell. He was a much more dominant player than Russell was, in almost every conceivable fashion.

Clearly the overall stat package is not even close, so I won't even bother with that comparison (though I'd be happy to do so). But what about head to head?

- Wilt: 28.7 ppg, 28.7 rpg
- Russell: 14.5 ppg, 23.7 rpg

- Wilt holds the record for rebounds in a game with 55. Who was it against? Russell. Wilt also had 6 other 40+ rebound games against Russell. Meanwhile, Russell only had one 40+ rebound game vs Wilt.

They didn't keep stats on blocked shots so we have no way of quantifying who was better in that area. I'm sure Celtic fans will say that Russell was better defensively, but at his size, with his athleticism, it's almost impossible for me to imagine that Wilt was anything but a great shot blocker.

The only tangible area that Russell had an edge over Wilt in is in championships. Which, obviously, is a big deal. But that is a *TEAM* thing, not an individual thing. Russell's teams were obviously superior to Wilt, and I'm even willing to say that Russell's team-first approach was a big part of that, so he gets some serious credit there.

But in terms of who was *better*? Wilt.

Did you ever see Russell play?? If so you may have a different view, statistics do not tell the whole story..

Russell...

5 MVP's
12 All Star Teams
11 NBA Championships..

Chamberlain..

4 MVP's
13 All Star Teams
2 NBA Championships..

There is really no comparison, all stats are bs unless you win the big ones..
 

MoLewisrocks

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Pantheon's aren't always about talent or individual or team accomplishment, though. A lot of what puts one there is perception, and while those who disagree can argue stats or standings 'til the cows come home, part of pantheon is sheer impact of one's existence on a region.
 

DarrylS

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Having seen them all, have to go with Brady.. many times he did more with less...

Not taking away what any of these legends have done, but the eyeball test tells me so..
 

MoLewisrocks

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Did you ever see Russell play?? If so you may have a different view, statistics do not tell the whole story.. Russell... 5 MVP's 12 All Star Teams 11 NBA Championships.. Chamberlain.. 4 MVP's 13 All Star Teams 2 NBA Championships.. There is really no comparison, all stats are bs unless you win the big ones..

Then I guess that leaves Ted and Babe out of any discussion...
 

borg

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Looking at each player and how they rank all time within their sport.....

1) Orr will be rememembered as the 2nd greatest hockey player of all time behind Gretzky.
2) Williams....Top 5 hitter but will always be behind Ruth, Mays as GOAT
3) Russell....being the best defender of all time is amazing, but scorers get remembered
4) Brady...Brady will own many records, but a more athletic QB, Montana, will always overshadow Brady. Unfortunately for Tom, his best football has come after his last SB ring
5) Bird...The legend of Larry is powerful, but too many great athletes in NBA history to place Larry near the very top.

Ranking on how these 5 impacted their teams

1) Russell....the ultimate winner
2) Bird....the peak of his career = 3 championships
3) Orr... his peak was too short, but spectacular
4) Brady....Major component of three rings, but didn't carry those teams
5) Williams....being great doesn't always translate to wins in baseball

My personal favorites ranking

1) Orr....his length of the ice charges were epic. I still want to be Bobby Orr
2) Bird...Greatest spectator experience ever..the way the crowd reacted when Bird had the ball...unlike anything I have ever seen or heard.. I have never had more faith in an athlete to deliver.
3) Brady......the responsibility on his shoulders......massive....yet he handles it with ease and delivers. One cool customer
4) Russell....only seen the highlights....total commitment/all in. I know I would have loved the guy. Question....why does Ted Williams get a tunnel but the greatest winner in Boston history is an afterthought??? I secretly know the answer.......and it's a shame
5) Williams.......I went to a golf outing about a dozen years ago for Dan Farber. It was a who's who of former great Boston stars ( no Bird and only white guys that day, unfortunately). Orr, Havlicek, Yaz, ...many more (Otto Graham also).....but when Ted Williams arrived, the world stopped. Even the athletes went nuts to have a moment with Ted. Quite a sight.
 

ivanvamp

In the Starting Line-Up
Did you ever see Russell play?? If so you may have a different view, statistics do not tell the whole story..

Russell...

5 MVP's
12 All Star Teams
11 NBA Championships..

Chamberlain..

4 MVP's
13 All Star Teams
2 NBA Championships..

There is really no comparison, all stats are bs unless you win the big ones..

Right. I already said that. Chamberlain's dominance in almost every way is reflected in the stats, not just overall stats, but head-to-head, and in basketball, unlike some other sports, these guys actually matched up against each other, guarding each other. Chamberlain's dominance over Russell is well-documented.

BUT....Russell's dominance over Chamberlain is in the category of *WINS* and *TITLES*. Which, as I've said, is a huge thing, and I am convinced that Russell's team-first approach was a big part of that. So I'm giving him credit. But his teams were significantly better than Wilt's...it's like you're giving Russell sole credit for those 11 championships. Look at the guys from the 50's and 60's that were on those Celtics teams that are in the Hall of Fame:

Bob Cousy
Tom Heinson
Bailey Howell
Ed Macauley
KC Jones
Sam Jones
Frank Ramsey
Bill Russell
Bill Sharman
Andy Phillip
Arnie Risen
John Havlicek

Wilt's Lakers and 76ers had serious talent (West, Baylor, etc.), but never in history has there been such a collection of talent. Yes, I know these guys above didn't all play together, but a LOT of them did.

The Celtics won as a TEAM, not because Bill Russell was individually better than Wilt Chamberlain.

EDIT: Just for example, look at the 62-63 Celtics. They had *SEVEN* guys on that team that would make the HOF as players: Russell, Cousy, Heinson, Havlicek, KC Jones, Sam Jones, and Ramsey. Plus, they had Tom Sanders, who averaged 10.8 ppg and 7.2 rpg that year, and who eventually made the HOF as a "contributor" (whatever that means...but I didn't count him as one of those HOF guys earlier). But still - SEVEN hall of famers on that roster. Out of 13 guys. Not seven good players. Not seven all-star caliber players. Seven hall of famers.

DOUBLE EDIT: I forgot: Clyde Lovellette was also on that 62-63 team, and HE was also a HOFer. That makes *8* guys on that team that would end up in the HOF. I can't imagine something like that today. Certainly Chamberlain never had anything like that.
 
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mgteich

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This is the way it is. These five will always be legends in Boston. Whether or not they are the best or had the greatest impact on their sports is another question entirely.


Williams
Russell
Orr
Bird
Brady

In no particular order.
 

Trocadile

On the Roster
Right. I already said that. Chamberlain's dominance in almost every way is reflected in the stats, not just overall stats, but head-to-head, and in basketball, unlike some other sports, these guys actually matched up against each other, guarding each other. Chamberlain's dominance over Russell is well-documented.

BUT....Russell's dominance over Chamberlain is in the category of *WINS* and *TITLES*. Which, as I've said, is a huge thing, and I am convinced that Russell's team-first approach was a big part of that. So I'm giving him credit. But his teams were significantly better than Wilt's...it's like you're giving Russell sole credit for those 11 championships. Look at the guys from the 50's and 60's that were on those Celtics teams that are in the Hall of Fame:

Bob Cousy
Tom Heinson
Bailey Howell
Ed Macauley
KC Jones
Sam Jones
Frank Ramsey
Bill Russell
Bill Sharman
Andy Phillip
Arnie Risen
John Havlicek

Wilt's Lakers and 76ers had serious talent (West, Baylor, etc.), but never in history has there been such a collection of talent. Yes, I know these guys above didn't all play together, but a LOT of them did.

The Celtics won as a TEAM, not because Bill Russell was individually better than Wilt Chamberlain.

This argument fails miserably with just a little perspective.

1) How many championships did the Celtics win before Russell? Answer: none.

2) How good were the Celtics the year after Russell retired? Answer: Terrible (fortunately, since it allowed them to draft Dave Cowens).

3) After Russell won 11 of 13 Championships, including eight in a row, including two straight at the end, how long before another NBA team won even two in a row? Answer: 19 years.

And the argument about Russell having so much more talent on his teams than Chamberlain is nonsense. Chamberlain's two championships came on two of the greatest, most stacked teams in NBA history. The difference was that Chamberlain did not have the hunger to win, year after year, that Russell did. All the stats show is that Chamberlain had more individual talent than Russell. If you actually watched them play, it was obvious who wanted to win more, and who made the people around him better.

I rate Russell no.1 because, ultimately, sports are about winning and losing, and he is the greatest winner in the history of American team sports - and whoever is second isn't close.
 

DarrylS

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Right. I already said that. Chamberlain's dominance in almost every way is reflected in the stats, not just overall stats, but head-to-head, and in basketball, unlike some other sports, these guys actually matched up against each other, guarding each other. Chamberlain's dominance over Russell is well-documented.

BUT....Russell's dominance over Chamberlain is in the category of *WINS* and *TITLES*. Which, as I've said, is a huge thing, and I am convinced that Russell's team-first approach was a big part of that. So I'm giving him credit. But his teams were significantly better than Wilt's...it's like you're giving Russell sole credit for those 11 championships. Look at the guys from the 50's and 60's that were on those Celtics teams that are in the Hall of Fame:

Bob Cousy
Tom Heinson
Bailey Howell
Ed Macauley
KC Jones
Sam Jones
Frank Ramsey
Bill Russell
Bill Sharman
Andy Phillip
Arnie Risen
John Havlicek

Wilt's Lakers and 76ers had serious talent (West, Baylor, etc.), but never in history has there been such a collection of talent. Yes, I know these guys above didn't all play together, but a LOT of them did.

The Celtics won as a TEAM, not because Bill Russell was individually better than Wilt Chamberlain.

EDIT: Just for example, look at the 62-63 Celtics. They had *SEVEN* guys on that team that would make the HOF as players: Russell, Cousy, Heinson, Havlicek, KC Jones, Sam Jones, and Ramsey. Plus, they had Tom Sanders, who averaged 10.8 ppg and 7.2 rpg that year, and who eventually made the HOF as a "contributor" (whatever that means...but I didn't count him as one of those HOF guys earlier). But still - SEVEN hall of famers on that roster. Out of 13 guys. Not seven good players. Not seven all-star caliber players. Seven hall of famers.

Compare all of this to the Ringless Dan Marino, as good as he was his lack of championships will always leave him out of the conversation...

Russell played with great players, and their cohesion was a tribute to Red.. but if you talk with anyone in that day and age, Bill is always considered the best of the two.

Look at any number of teams loaded with all stars, the key to winning is not about their individual statistics.. but checking their ego at the door, and doing whatever is necessary to win a championship.. Russell and the rest of those teams did that.

The reality is that Wilt was not all that well liked by many teammates, as he was often more focused on his individual achievements than on team goals..
 

ivanvamp

In the Starting Line-Up
This argument fails miserably with just a little perspective.

1) How many championships did the Celtics win before Russell? Answer: none.

2) How good were the Celtics the year after Russell retired? Answer: Terrible (fortunately, since it allowed them to draft Dave Cowens).

3) After Russell won 11 of 13 Championships, including eight in a row, including two straight at the end, how long before another NBA team won even two in a row? Answer: 19 years.

And the argument about Russell having so much more talent on his teams than Chamberlain is nonsense. Chamberlain's two championships came on two of the greatest, most stacked teams in NBA history. The difference was that Chamberlain did not have the hunger to win, year after year, that Russell did. All the stats show is that Chamberlain had more individual talent than Russell. If you actually watched them play, it was obvious who wanted to win more, and who made the people around him better.

I rate Russell no.1 because, ultimately, sports are about winning and losing, and he is the greatest winner in the history of American team sports - and whoever is second isn't close.

Ok, that's a reasonable opinion. But my original Chamberlain comment was in reference to someone saying that essentially it's a no-brainer that Russell was the greatest center of all time. That *may* be the case, and you make a good one, but it very easily could *not* be the case. Those Celtics teams were SO loaded that it had to take another loaded team to beat them. Eight hall of famers on one roster? Are you kidding me?
 

PatsWickedPissah

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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.

Back then teams like the LA Lakers and others were considered to have the better athletes. Russell would take over a game, crushing the opposing team's attempts at comebacks and neutralizing their big man. Some of the other Celts became HOF guys because of the team (led by Russell) that they played on. Happens all the time.

It's Russell vs Orr as the GOATs of the NE area.
Brady beats out Teddy Ballgame who was phenomenal.
 
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Bostonian1962

In the Starting Line-Up
I put Orr at the top, and then would figure out where to put others. On the big list, maybe I missed it, but I would include Marvin Hagler.

I give bonus points to our former stars that have become true blue New Englanders, and remain part of the community (right, wrong, or indifferent).

I love guys like Grogan, Nelson, Tippett, Jim Longborg, and so many others for that reason. Brady, if we are being honest, will never consider himself one of us. An hour after his final game ends, he'll be on a plane to California (or maybe Brazil:)).

I will always love and appreciate the guy. I'm just saying. I'm sure others have that issue with former players too.
 
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