Tom Brady will come into Buffalo this weekend on an incredible roll, one that has a lot of NFL observers wondering if the Patriots' quarterback is the best ever to play the position. I've considered Brady the best of all time for at least five years, based largely on his winning record and his performance in the playoffs and Super Bowls.
In the long run, statistics have a way of swaying people's opinions. Brady is having a sensational season that could rival what he did in 2007, when he finished the year with a record 50 TD passes. As extraordinary as that year was statistically, this one might be even more impressive.
Brady has completed 66.6 percent of his passes for 3,561 yards and 31 touchdowns. He has thrown only four interceptions. He has not thrown a pick in his last 292 attempts. Brady is 16 shy of Bernie Kosar's record of 308 straight passes without an interception, set for Cleveland in 1990-91. Brady is third on the all-time list behind Bart Starr, who had 294 straight throws without a pick in 1964-65.
It's even more impressive when you consider that Brady has done it against most of the NFL's top defenses -- and while carrying a team with a defense ranked near the bottom of the league. He has played nine games this season against teams with defenses currently ranked in the Top 10 in the league. The Pats are 8-1 in those games. They're averaging 31.3 points. They've scored at least 30 points in six straight games, including wins over Pittsburgh, the Jets, Chicago and Green Bay.
The Patriots haven't turned the ball over in their last six games, an NFL record. They have nine turnovers on the season and are on pace to break the record for fewest turnovers (13) set by the 2088 Dolphins AND Giants. It's amazing when you consider that Brady has two rookie tight ends (Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez) among his top four receivers, and that Deion Branch rejoined his old team in midseason after the Pats traded Randy Moss.
Brady is 33 years old. Barring injury, he is likely to play at least five more seasons. If he wins at least one more Super Bowl, it will put him ahead of Joe Montana, who is generally considered the best QB of all time. Montana played most of his career with the greatest wide receiver of all time, Jerry Rice. Like Brady, he had a great coach in Bill Walsh.
If Brady wins a Super Bowl and continues to put up these staggering regular-season numbers, a lot more people will come around to the notion that he's the best of all time. So what do you think? Is Brady the best ever? Or does he need to do more to surpass Montana in your estimation? Is it Terry Bradshaw? Dan Marino? John Elway? Otto Graham?
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