To my football loving friends, I present an argument that goes against contrary belief in why I think Peyton Manning is better than Tom Brady & Randy Moss is better than Jerry Rice.
In my opinion, these five factors should be prioritized in this order when evaluating the landing spot for a quarterback. If the team a QB ends up on isn’t strong in at least a couple of these five areas, the odds of him succeeding are slim to none. 1. Offensive coaching/scheme 2. Offensive line/pass protection 3. Head coach/culture 4. Receivers/weapons 5. Defense You can argue somewhat about the order here, and a significant strength in one area can certainly offset weaknesses in other spots. But if we look in-depth at the quarterback spots around the NFL, I think you’ll find these five factors are useful in evaluating the player. Tom Brady arguably has had the best of every single one of those categories/variables over his 19 year career. Probably the best situation all time.
I believe Tom winning it all this year would ultimately discredit his resume as “goat” more than it would credit it. He is arguably the #9 QB in the league (statically worse than 9) this year, yet his dominant running game/dominant OL/defense/coach are taking his above average QB play to the Super Bowl (likely gonna win). Just goes to prove that the Patriot’s can win without elite (top 3) QB play. In 19 games without Brady since 2001, the Patriots have gone 13-6. Of course Tom is a better QB than Matt Cassell, Jimmy Garapolo, and Jacoby Brissett. But would we have seen this type of success by other teams in the absence of their goat franchise QB? Not really. In 2010, 36 yr old Peyton Manning threw for 37 TDs, and led the Colts to a 10-6 record. The next season the Colts were 2-14 without Peyton Manning. Two years after having neck fusion surgery, a 37 year old Manning set the single season record in TDs, yards, points scored by an offense, games with 50+ points, and passing first downs. Is it that he just so happened to set a handful of NFL records and statistically hit the peak of his career as a 37 year old coming off neck surgery? Or is this a natural byproduct of the best system/players around him that he has had his whole career? I’d argue the latter. Keep in mind Peyton saw a pretty big drop off in velocity on his throws after his neck surgery, and still had 2 of the best seasons of his career.
Is it Randy Moss’s fault that he didn’t have two HOF QBs like Rice? Is it a coincidence that 30 year old Randy Moss had his best and THEE best statistical season of all time for a WR & his only super bowl (after 2 average years with the Raiders) as he finally had elite QB play? We have seen arguably the 2 most talented players at QB and WR finally have good situations around them and shatter single season records in their 30s. Arguably doing this outside of their athletic prime of their career. I understand Brady & Rice are very good (#2 at their respected positions), but everyone is overlooking the best players to play the game at their positions literally because Rice & Brady both had awesome situations and won more Super Bowls with better teams.
Tom Brady has also played in a division that consists of the Jets, Dolphins, and Bills. Outside of the Patriots, this is arguably the worst division in the league since 2000. Statistically, the best QB outside of Brady in the AFC East is Chad Pennington in 2008. Yuck. Tom Brady’s divisional record in his career is 79.4%. If multiply that by their 8 division games a year, you get 6.352. That’s over six wins a year just beating up on a bad division. What relevance does this play in the Patriots winning Super Bowls? The Patriots rarely play on the road in the playoffs, and home field advantage is a huge advantage in playoffs. Also if you are looking at regular season statistics comparing Tom to another great QB, half of his games are played against bad teams in the AFC East. Bellicheck has become a master of the no cover zone, and took this concept from Bill Walsh. This is the same exact thing that Saban uses at Alabama(once a Bellicheck assistant). When you have a no cover zone and stress the C/F or H/C defender vertically it’s the easiest yards in football. A no cover zone is when teams teach defenders not to cover anything inside of x yards (usually 5) in zone coverages. This is where the Patriots thrive, short or intermediate routes by WRs or RBs out of the back field.
Tom has literally never seen a drop off in talent or coaching at any position on the Patriots. They have a continuous cycle of RBs and WR that produce every year for the Pats. (Soldier->Brown, Butler-> UDFA Rookie J.C. Jackson, Chandler Jones->Trey Flowers, etc, etc.). He’s almost always had a top 10 run game and a top 5 OL. This is in large part due to the best OL coach of all time & arguably one of the best assistants in Dave Scarnecchia. Brady has had a top 10 defense 14/17 seasons. Manning/Brees/Rodgers have had a top 10 defense 12/44 season combined. The best TE of all time (blocking & probably receiving). Arguably the best Coach in modern sports history. He is also a known as the “paper cut” QB who will cut you short 1,000 times over gashing you deep. I believe that most of this is due to Tom’s level of play and accuracy but you have to give partial credit to Scheme/WR and RB play/Yards after catch. I respect both Brady & Rice and think they are definitely #2, but if Peyton & Moss have the same situation as Brady & Rice I believe they have better production. This is why Peyton and Moss are my ‘Goats’ at the QB and WR position.
Some more statistical evidence – These are all AFC Championships that Tom Brady has won with these performances at QB:
115 YDS / 0 TD / 0 INT / 84.3 RATING
237 YDS 1 TD / 1 INT / 76.1 RATING
209 YDS / 2 TD / 3 INT / 66.4 RATING
239 YDS / 0 TD / 2 INT / 57.5 RATING
348 YDS / 1 TD / 2 INT / 77.1 RATING
Playoff W-L record when throwing more INT’s than TD’s since 2001: Tom Brady: 5-4 (55.6%) Every other QB combined: 4-50 (7.4%)
Career playoff W-L record with a passer rating < 78.5 on 25+ attempts: Tom Brady: 9-4 (69.2%) Every other QB in NFL history: 89-306 (22.5%)
Tom Brady has played in 3 postseason overtimes and his opponent hasn’t touched the ball in any of them. Literally 3 games have essentially been decided by a bad overtime format and a coin toss.
Tom Brady has made 8 Super Bowls. In those 8 postseasons, he has played 16 conference playoff games to make the Super Bowl. In those 16 games, his defense has allowed 15.9 PPG on average. *Aaron Rodgers teams have never scored less than 20 points in any playoff game*
Tom Brady’s 17 WORST playoff wins combined: 62.3% CMP / 6.6 YPA / 26 TD / 20 INT / 81.9 RATING. No other QB in NFL history has even won 17 playoff games.
Tom Brady’s WORST 16 playoff games: 348 CMP / 647 ATT / 4,049 YDS / 16 TD / 24 INT / 68.3 RATING / 10-6 RECORD
Aaron Rodgers 16 career playoff games: 378 CMP / 595 ATT / 4,458 YDS / 36 TD / 10 INT / 99.4 RATING / 9-7 RECORD
Patriots have averaged 165.5 rush yards per game (2nd in this playoffs) and 4 rushing TD’s a game this playoffs. Tom Brady also hasn’t been sacked once, and their defense has played outstanding with all the circumstances at hand. Yet all we will hear about is how good Tom has been this playoffs, when he literally should’ve had 4 interceptions (one dropped & one that was called back on a penalty that had 0 impact on the play) against the Chiefs.