Terry Bradshaw’s clunky explanation of why he doesn’t believe Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T. among NFL quarterbacks doesn’t quite hold water.
Pittsburgh Steelers legend Terry Bradshaw isn’t ready to crown Tom Brady the greatest of all-time among NFL quarterbacks.
And he never will be, either.
To be fair, Bradshaw isn’t giving that mantle to somebody else. He’s not loony enough at this point to still try and make an argument that Peyton Manning, John Elway, Joe Montana, or perhaps even Bradshaw himself is more deserving of the title.
He just doesn’t think it belongs to Brady … or to anybody else, for that matter.
Here’s what Bradshaw said on a Thursday radio appearance with 93.7 The Fan’s Cook and Joe Show:
"“I don’t think (Brady’s) the greatest quarterback of all time. It’s hard to say — he may be the best quarterback we’ve had in the last 30 years. Is he better than [Roger] Staubach? No. Is he better than Dan Fouts? No. Dan Marino? No. I’m talking talent-wise when you put all of this together. Does he have more Super Bowls than anybody? Yes. Therefore, he’s the best. And I absolutely have no problem saying if you’ve got the most Super Bowls, and he’s done it, you can be in there. But I don’t put anybody as the greatest of all time. I would never do that.”"
There’s no question that Brady is the best quarterback of the last 30 years. No one has accomplished more on either an individual or a team level than the former New England Patriots quarterback.
Suggesting that quarterbacks from the NFL’s first 70 years may have been better than Brady, though?
Not a chance.
Sure, it’s a valid argument to say that it’s difficult to compare the players of yesteryear to the players of today. The sport has changed so much over the past century — and even longer than that if you include college football and then just American football in general.
It’s become somewhat fashionable for old-timers like Bradshaw to come out and draw a deep line in the sand between the early days of the AFL/NFL and then the modern era.
Even before there were guys like Bradshaw, Montana, Elway, Marino, Fouts, and Staubach — who all spent the majority of their careers playing in the 70s, 80s, and 90s — there were guys like Johnny Unitas, Otto Graham, Sid Luckman, Fran Tarkenton, and Len Dawson, who played in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.
No one’s going to make an argument against the fact that the game has changed.
The problem with Bradshaw’s argument, however, is that if anything, the game has gotten harder for everyone — especially for quarterbacks.
Before the leagues merged in 1970, professional football had looked very different for several decades. The first 30 years of the old NFL consisted mainly of running backs and defensive players, as well as hybrid players who would occupy multiple positions on offense, defense, and special teams.
With all due respect, quarterbacks in those days simply didn’t have as much on their shoulders as they do today.
If Bradshaw wants to try and make this argument, he really only has one possible route to go down, and that’s the whole “Brady is a system QB who never would have won anything without Bill Belichick as his head coach” crock of hooey.
Bradshaw’s too smart to make that claim though, because he knows it’s even more outlandish than the one he’s making.
Even if you somehow overlook the fact that Brady has won two more Super Bowls than any other quarterback — Bradshaw and Montana each won four — there’s still no good reason to overlook all his other many accomplishments.
How do you turn a blind eye to the fact that Brady has won four Super Bowl MVP awards, three league MVP awards, 14 Pro Bowl nominations, and set numerous other team and individual records? He’s not only one of the most accurate and prolific passers in NFL history — he’s also obviously one of the most durable and longest-lasting.
That’s a credit to Brady, not Belichick or anybody else. And if Brady has any modicum of success over the next couple seasons (or more?) down in Tampa Bay or wherever, he only further distances himself from his “rivals” when it comes to the title of G.O.A.T.
To be clear, Brady doesn’t even need to win another ring. Obviously that would be incredible for him and for his legacy, but at this point, just piling on more career passing stats is enough to create more distance between him and the likes of all those guys Bradshaw mentioned (Staubach, Marino, Fouts, etc.).