By Zach Naidu
Super Bowl Sunday is only two short days away. There are many things up for debate about Sunday’s matchup.
Can the Rams’ high-octane offense keep it up against scheming savant Bill Belichick? Will the Patriots’ offensive line be able to hold off Aaron Donald? Will Tony Romo call a single play incorrectly?
There is one thing however, that should be accepted by all: Tom Brady is the greatest of all time.
Obviously, there is always some luck involved to be able to be considered in that conversation. A player like Aaron Rodgers, who arguably has more innate talent than Brady, will never enter the conversation of “greatest of all time” simply because his career arc has not followed the narrative of a player typically required to do so.
So yes, there may be a tad bit of luck involved for the history of Tom Brady. Had he been drafted by the New York Jets or Detroit Lions, it’s hard to imagine that Brady would’ve had the same number of opportunities to display his brilliance that he’s had under the sturdy leadership of Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft. Brady is not a system quarterback, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t benefited from the system he plays in. Regardless, time after time, Brady has shown the sports world he doesn’t know how to do anything other than deliver in crunch time, when the stakes are highest. In his three Super Bowl losses, it wasn’t a matter of Tom falling flat. Against the Eagles and Giants twice, Brady matched up against formidable defenses yet still performed at a high level, only to be outdone by a miraculous catch (or two) and an intimidating defensive line.
As I often say whenever I write about elite athletes, I once again must implore you to understand the greatness of Tom Brady. Barring an utterly catastrophic showing by the nine-time Super Bowl participant, Brady’s legacy as the greatest quarterback in NFL history will remain intact — win or lose — because of his exceptional track record. Brady has rewritten the meaning of longevity in professional football. While he had his fewest touchdowns in a 16-game season since 2004, he performed when it mattered most, in the fourth quarter and overtime of the AFC Championship a couple weeks ago. Much to the chagrin of ESPN’s Max Kellerman, Brady has not fallen off a cliff, and doesn’t show any signs of doing so in the near future given his obsession with health and physical fitness and desire to sacrifice almost anything to stay on the field.
Root for whomever you want on Super Bowl Sunday, just don’t forget to appreciate the man wearing number 12 in white, under center.
Contact Zach Naidu at znaidu ‘at’ stanford.edu.