September 13, 2011

Brady Sends an Emphatic Message

By - Kris Fletcher

Tom Brady was nowhere near the forefront of the quarterback conversation entering this 2011 NFL season.

Everyone was talking about Peyton Manning's neck injury and redemption for Michael Vick in Philadelphia. About Mark Sanchez's magazine covers, Cam Newton being the next big thing and how Aaron Rodgers is now the league's new golden boy. Even Tim Tebow was talked about more, and he's a third-stringer.

Funny what a 500+ yard passing performance will do to people's thought process.

Last night, Brady systematically dissected Miami's defense to the tune of 517 yards, the most in Monday Night Football history and the fifth-most all-time, in leading the Patriots to a 38-24 win over the Dolphins.

Photo by: Robert Mayer
Shockingly, all the sports talk radio stations and ESPN programs could discuss today was Tom Brady. Quite frankly though, it was still in a way that was disrespectful.

I heard questions posed like, "Who's better right now, Aaron Rodgers, or Tom Brady?" And, "What QB would you take if you were starting a team, or had one game to win?" Things of that nature.

Usually, these types of questions are open for debate. There's no right or wrong answer, and everyone has an opinion. The funny thing is though, those questions actually do have a correct answer. It's not even something that should be open for debate. If your answer is anyone not named Tom Brady, you are in fact, wrong. Wrong wrong wrong wrong WRONG.

I know I catch a lot of slack on here for lovin' me some Brady and constantly blowing smoke up his proverbial behind, but the real question is, why am I one of the only people that's doing it? At this stage of his career, he should be worshipped by the masses as probably the greatest quarterback to ever play, and no doubt the best of this era. But is he? Nope.

Instead, he's still mentioned in the same breath as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Phillip Rivers. I'm sorry, but to say one of those names and Tom Brady's in the same sentence is basically a complete insult to Brady. You might as well just spit in his face while you're at it.

Don't get me wrong, all the guys I just mentioned are outstanding quarterbacks. Some of the very best in the business. But when you're categorizing the best QBs playing today, the best is Tom Brady, and everyone else falls into whatever categories are left. Period. He is flat out in a league of his own, and if you don't see that, you don't know anything about the sport of football.

Photo by: Mike Ehrmann
You want proof? Well I'll give you some. Brady was the league MVP in 2007. He missed all of the following season with a knee injury. The consensus is, it takes a full year to recover from ACL surgery. So, we'll just scratch his 2009 numbers as a warm-up season for him to get back into form. These are Brady's total numbers from 2007, 2009 and this year, the last three seasons he's been totally healthy:

33 games, 9,223 yards passing, 90 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a 114.6 rating.

Now I dunno how many of you play video games, but I play Madden on a fairly regular basis. I'm pretty good at it, and even I don't put up those kind of ridiculous numbers.

Oh I know, all you Brady-haters out there think I shouldn't have just scratched 2008, cause heaven forbid we give the guy a year to heal up, right? But okay, I'll throw you a bone. Here are the totals since 2007 for the other QBs I mentioned earlier, and I left out their worst two seasons, hence accounting for the year Brady missed, plus the season I gave him to fully recover:

- Peyton Manning: 32 games, 8,540 yards passing, 64 touchdowns, 30 interceptions and a 98.9 rating.

- Drew Brees: 32 games, 9,876 yards passing, 71 touchdowns, 28 interceptions and a 106.1 rating.

- Aaron Rodgers: 32 games, 8,668 yards passing, 61 touchdowns, 19 interceptions and a 106.6 rating.

- Phillip Rivers: 33 games, 8,598 yards passing, 64 touchdowns, 22 interceptions and a 98.6 rating.

The numbers speak for themselves. I'd say this group of guys all deserve to be linked in a certain "greatness" category, just not the same one that Tom Brady's in. All you have to do is compare the numbers. Clearly he is the superior quarterback. CLEARLY.

Of course, the next argument I'll hear is how he's a "product of the Pats system" and blah blah blah (as if that same argument can't be made about the other guys I mentioned). But hey, keep tellin' yourselves that. Bill Belichick had a losing career record before Brady became his quarterback, so I wonder who really made the system.

Cleveland and St. Louis, among other teams, run the same type of offense, yet I'm pretty sure their QBs aren't torching the league year-in and year-out like Brady does. Besides, if you hate the guy so much that you'd be willing to base your argument on something so trivial, there's clearly something the matter with you, so there's really no point in me even attempting to convince you otherwise.

So what was the "emphatic message" that was sent last night? Well, for all the "team" this and "team" that New England players are famous for constantly spewing out, you don't think in the back of Brady's mind there's not a little "me" voice constantly hounding him? A voice that says things such as, "You're the greatest, now show them." And, "Don't forget, sixth round, pick #199." My guess would be last night it said, "Apparently, these people need to be reminded exactly who the best damn quarterback in the National Football League is."

Photo by: Marc Serota
Yeah. Tom Brady hears voices alright. Message EMPHATICALLY delivered.

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