By now, you have probably seen the headlines. Across all sports networks, everybody is talking about Tom Brady, and whether or not he is still an elite quarterback.
This was all started by Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson, who posted an article saying that Brady wasn’t in the top five anymore.
The notion of Tom Brady not being among the NFL’s elite is not only incorrect, it is flat out dumb. In fact, Brady is not only still one of the best, but he is the best in my mind. Yes, I know I am biased, but I guarantee that you will find plenty of fans who don’t like the Patriots that will agree with my statement.
His stats are not up there with Peyton Manning‘s. He doesn’t have the arm of an Andrew Luck. He isn’t mobile, and his body can’t hold up against the physical nature of the game as well as it used to. But after all of that, Brady still flashes one specific trait that sets him apart from the rest.
This trait is his ability to make something out of nothing. This was on display in all of its glory last year, as he took an injury ravaged team to the AFC Championship, and if it weren’t for an Aqib Talib injury, they may have gotten to the Super Bowl.
Did Peyton Manning have Julian Edelman and Kenbrell Thompkins as his top two receivers throughout the 2013 season? Did he lose the two best players on his defense last year? How about one of the most dynamic offensive weapons in all of football. Did he lose someone like that?
Tom Brady had to deal with every single one of those problems, and he didn’t flinch. He pushed his guys even harder, got every last ounce of talent he could out of them, and refused to go down. Because of the lack of weapons he had, his numbers looked pretty bad. But this situation further proves that in football, stats don’t tell you everything. If Brady had Manning’s offense, he would have thrown 60 touchdowns. He wouldn’t have scored eight points in the Super Bowl, and he probably would have his fourth ring right about now.
If anyone else were quarterbacking the 2013 Patriots, I don’t think they would have even made the playoffs. There was virtually no talent on offense, and the defense was not much better. This is not a knock on Bill Belichick for not building a good roster, but rather a bad case of the injury bug, which refused to leave Foxboro throughout the entire year.
Aside from taking this mediocre team all the way to the AFC Championship game, Brady still has his trademark accuracy, phenomenal pocket presence, and knowledge of how to pick apart opposing defenses. If you just listened to what “experts” say, you would think Peyton Manning is the only one that knows how to dissect a defense. Brady can do it too. I actually think he does it better, but in a much more subtle way.
How do you think he has found so many open receivers throughout the years? Is it because of their superior talent? I don’t think so. Aside from a select few (Rob Gronkowski, Randy Moss, Aaron Hernandez), Brady hasn’t had the most athletic group of weapons in the world, which forces him to rely on exposing the defense to produce.
When Brady is thrown into a bad situation, he doesn’t whine about it. He looks at what he has in front of him, and no matter what is there, he will do everything in his power to win football games. If his team needs a touchdown with under a minute left, he will calmly march his team down the field, and achieve that goal. We have seen his ice-cold clutch gene come out countless times in the past, and we will continue to see the elite Brady do it in the future.
So if you want to just take straight numbers, and use that as your argument, then I agree, Tom Brady is not a top five quarterback anymore. But if you actually look at the player, and look at what surrounds him, you won’t find anyone better than number 12.