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Would a fifth Super Bowl victory make Tom Brady the Greatest QB ever?

There’s no denying that Tom Brady has had an amazing career, and this Sunday, the veteran quarterback will lead the New England Patriots into their seventh Super Bowl appearance in 17 years. Many players for New England have come and gone, but the one constant has always been Brady and coach Bill Belichick. It’s no small feat to make it to the big game once or twice, but seven times is something to be considered unprecedented. There’s no denying that both Belichick and Brady will go down as one of the best coach/quarterback tandems in NFL history. Still, with all the accolades and championships, does that warrant Tom Brady to be considered the greatest quarterback ever if he wins his fifth championship this Sunday?

Now, punching your ticket into the biggest game of the year that only few teams can attest to, so it’s reasonable to consider Brady the best based on his resume. Four Super Bowl rings pretty much guarantees a bust in Canton, Ohio. However, let’s not pretend that Tom Brady is the first NFL passer to win four rings. Chances are if you’re over the age of 30, you’d probably remember a couple of gentlemen by the names of Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana. Much like the Patriots of the 2000’s, Bradshaw’s Pittsburgh Steelers and Montana’s San Francisco 49ers dominated the gridiron during the 70’s and 80’s, respectively.

Also, you want to take into consideration that both Bradshaw and Montana are undefeated in the Super Bowl appearances. Looking at the stats, Bradshaw has an overall quarterback rating (QBR) of 112.7 with 4 total interceptions; Montana’s rating is 127.8 with zero interceptions. For all six of Brady’s previous Super Bowls, his QBR is 95.3 with four total interceptions. In his two Super Bowl losses against the Giants, Brady’s QBR was 82.5 and 91.5; the former was during the record setting 18-1 season of 2007. Neither Bradshaw or Montana had a QBR of less than 100 in each of their Super Bowl appearances.

Now you could factor in the numerous AFC East championships the Patriots have acquired during Brady’s tenure (14 since 2001). However, Brady’s legacy truly began on the ill-fated “Tuck Rule” game against the Raiders. Would the Patriots have went on their historic runs if the Charles Woodson sack had been ruled a fumble? Who knows, but regardless of revisionist history, Brady is a sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer. But I’d be hard-pressed to consider him the greatest passer of all time, even if the Patriots defeat Atlanta in Super Bowl LI. Being undefeated in the big game speaks volumes, and unfortunately for Tom Brady, that ship has long since sailed.

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