PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Am I wrong to have mixed feelings? Yes, I know all of the stats. The numbers are amazing, in most cases blowing away his nearest competitors. But I can’t look at Tom Brady without thinking of the two ‘gates’.
Few have ever gotten more out of their God-given athletic talent than Brady. He’s on a short-list in terms of competitiveness in NFL history. No one won more NFL championships, even going back to the early days, and it’s not close.
He has lifted teams on his shoulders. The numbers are staggering compared to other quarterbacks in the history of the game:
· 89,214 yards (nearly 9-thousand more than anyone else)
· 649 TD (78 more than anyone else)
· 7,753 completions (611 more than anyone else)
· 46 4th quarter comebacks (3 more than Manning, 5 more than Roethlisberger)
· 251 wins (63 more than anyone else)
He had the most amazing comeback in the biggest game in sports. Every year he gave his team a legit chance to win a championship. His name is mentioned alongside Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky and previously Joe Montana for what he’s accomplished.
What separates Brady from those other names, none were involved in a scandal cheating the league. Not once, but twice.
I think of the ‘what if’ he hadn’t had the inside information against the Steelers in January of 2005. Pittsburgh allowed 15.7 points per game that season and had the league’s best defense. Was it just that Brady and the Patriots offense was that good that day? Maybe. New England scored 34 offensive points in that AFC Championship game at Heinz Field and allowed only two sacks. Did Bill Belichick just ridiculously outcoach a pair of Hall of Famers in Bill Cowher and Dick LeBeau? Maybe.
How do you write a story about his incredible career and not mention that he was part of a team that illegally taped their opponents? He also, later in his career, manipulated the air pressure in footballs to give himself an advantage and only stopped after getting caught.
Brady would torch the Steelers in their 13 matchups, not only winning that AFC Championship game against them, but two others. He finished with nine wins to four losses (none in the playoffs) against the Steelers. Brady threw 30 touchdowns to just five interceptions with the sixth best completion percentage of his career against the Steelers.
No doubt he’s one of the all-time greats, but while I think about all of the insane things he accomplished. I also think ‘what if’?
Is there Pittsburgh bias? Sure. But while telling the story of Tom Brady, I’ll never forget every chapter.