Tom Brady played 20 impressive seasons with the New England Patriots; where he won six Super Bowls, was a 4x Super Bowl MVP winner, was selected to 14 Pro Bowls, won the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award (3x) and holds a bunch of other records. From looking at his career stats, one would think he was a top 5 quarterback upon entering the NFL Draft, but he wasn’t. Would you believe he wasn’t a full time starter while playing in college at the University of Michigan? He split time with Drew Henson. He was not even a top pick in the 2000 NFL draft either. He was drafted in the sixth round, by the New England Patriots, with the 199th pick. Bill Belichick must’ve seen something in this kid that no one else saw.
Now at the beginning of his 1st season, Brady was 2nd string to Drew Bledsoe; who had already taken the Patriots to a Super Bowl, however lost against a very talented Green Bay Packers team. Bledsoe was on the decline, however Brady wasn’t ready to take over the realms just yet; at least this is what many people thought. A season ending injury to Bledsoe in week 2, of the 2001 season, forced Belichick to play Brady against the New York Jets. Though he lost the game, he went on to start 14 others and finish the season, 11-3; helping the Patriots clinch the 2nd seed in the AFC playoffs and a 1st round bye. As a result, the Patriots became only the 2nd team in NFL history, to win the Super Bowl after starting the season 2–3, behind the Oakland Raiders; and this, my friend, was the beginning of the Tom Brady era.
Now nothing against Tom Brady… I mean he is an amazing talent; one of the best I have seen play the quarterback position. I just believe he gets a bit too much credit. The man is good …matter fact… I’d even call him great. I know I will catch a lot of crap for this, maybe even be called a hater, but to call him the “GOAT” (Greatest Of All Time), I don’t know. What makes Tom Brady the “GOAT”? Is it the 6 Super Bowls he has won? The 3 NFL MVP awards he has? Or the records that he holds? …the list goes on and on. Brady’s resume is impeccable; I just don’t think he should be considered the “GOAT”. As far as naming the “GOAT” of quarterbacks, the task is difficult and unfair. You have quarterbacks like Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, John Elway. Those are just a few, and not including the ones before them. Yes! The game has changed as the years have gone by, so to just ignore what some of these guys have done in their careers is simply wrong.
The person that is responsible for Brady’s success is…Bill Belichick. Belichick’s system is the reason the “GOAT” and Tom Brady can even be said in the same sentence. Through research, I have found that calling Tom Brady a “System Quarterback” is wrong and disrespectful; but I don’t care, it is what it is. I have reasons that make it easy for me to say what I said, which I don’t mind sharing.
Let’s take a trip back in time to 2008, when Tom Brady got injured in the opening game of that season, and was replaced by Matt Cassel for the remainder of the season. Cassel stepped in and led the Patriots to a 11-5 record, which was good for a first place tie amongst the American Football Conference East, and a mere tie breaker away from a postseason berth. That’s a heck of a year, especially since Cassel hadn’t played in a football game since his senior year in high school. In college, he backed up two Heisman Award winning quarterbacks (Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart) at USC and never saw any game time. He stepped up and filled some huge shoes, which he did to the best of his ability. He even tossed for over 400 yards in consecutive games, something even Brady has not done. This proves that Tom Brady is a product of his enivironment; just ask former NFL safety Bernard Pollard, who is probably best known for delivering the blow that ended Tom Brady’s 2008 season in week 1 (despite putting together a solid career and winning a Super Bowl with the Ravens). I don’t agree with everything Pollard says, but as far as Brady not being the “GOAT”, we are on the same page.
Let’s take another trip back to the 2016 season, when Brady has to serve a 4 game suspension for his involvement in the Deflategate scandal. During his suspension, the Patriots had to use their back ups – Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett; the team went 3-1.
Not taking anything away from Tom Brady, however, I do think a lot of the credit he gets should be given to the coach and the system. Who is to say that, over time, Matt Cassell couldn’t go on and win a Super Bowl? He got pretty darn close! In 2009, Matt Cassel ended up being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, and guess what…? He was not that good. Jimmy Garoppolo, who was supposed to take over after Brady, was traded to the San Franciso 49ers – where he is currently battling injuries and not putting up the impressive numbers he was as a Patriot. Jacoby Brissett was traded to the Indianapolis Colts and is currently a back up. Both quarterbacks looked very promising in the Belichick system, but they were cut short due to other team needs. What happens if you take Tom Brady out of the Belichick system? Do we still call him “Tom Terrific”? Would he have the same success? Now 43 and playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we shall see. I know many will say he is “over the hill” and all that other stuff, but I don’t care. Yes, I know the saying, “Numbers don’t lie” but, in this case, they do. What makes Tom Brady the “Greatest Of All Time”? …the six Super Bowl wins? I mean Robert Horry has 7 NBA championships, yet he’s not considered the “GOAT”. Let’s see how Brady’s replacement, Cam Newton, does in this Belichick system. Cam does not have the same football IQ as Brady; his skillset is different. It will be very interesting to see how Belichick utilizes that .
Let’s say, for instance, that Cam Newton goes on to win 2 or 3 Super Bowls, and Brady goes on to do sub par, would that put a stop to all the “GOAT” talk? Even Brady himself doesn’t like to be called the goat, he would rather you insult him. So with that being said, Tom Brady is good, however it’s Bill Belichick’s system that is great!!