By Marco Mercurio
Tom Brady, winning his fifth Lombardi trophy, makes him the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Although some say Brady is only successful because it’s the system he plays in, which is led by head coach Bill Belichick pulling the strings behind the scenes. But, what makes Tom Brady the best ever is his ability to be clutch late in games, his postseason success, and sustained dominance.
Let’s start off by eliminating contradictory reasons for Brady’s success. During Belichick’s five years as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, he gathered a negative win to loss record every season but one; resulting in him being fired after the 1995 season. With Tom Brady as his quarterback, Belichick has a record of 136-39. With quarterbacks other than Brady, Belichick has a record of 51-65. So is Bill Belichick the reason for Brady’s success? No, Belichick has only been a successful head coach when Brady was his is quarterback.
A quarterback’s clutchness is defined at crucial moments late in games when one must play at their best. This is where Brady flourishes. Brady currently has 39 (and counting) fourth-quarter comeback wins. Brady also has 183 wins throughout his seventeen-year career. That means that 39/183, roughly 21% of his wins, are fourth quarter comeback wins.
Two great examples are during the Seattle Seahawks (2014) and the Atlanta Falcons (2016) Super Bowl games. During the Seattle game, the Patriots were down 24-21 coming into the fourth quarter and with six minutes left Brady composed a flawless drive not missing a pass, scoring a touchdown, and finished the game 28-24.
During the Atlanta Falcons game, the Patriots were down by 25 points going into the third quarter. Brady put together four drives after halftime to gather 25 points, tying the game at 28-28, sending it to over time. In the fourth quarter, Brady threw for 246 yards, completing 21 out of 27 passes for two touchdowns. Then, on the first drive in overtime, Brady composed a drive resulting in a touchdown, winning the game.
Also, to emphasize how incredible this comeback was, the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history was coming back from a 10 point deficit, and this was a 25 point deficit; nothing was in the Patriots favor.
Talk about postseason and sustained dominance, Brady has been in the playoffs 14 times out of the last 16 seasons. Brady’s dominance in the playoffs has led him to win 7 AFC Championships out of the ten he has attended. He has the most Super Bowls (5) out of any quarterback, most Super Bowl MVPs (4), most game-winning postseason drives (10), and holds countless other records. Brady is the greatest of all time. The scary thing is, his career isn’t over yet.