The New England Patriots are going to the Super Bowl. Again. Quarterback Tom Brady erased a double digit fourth quarter deficit against the best pass defense in the league. Again. Brady proved himself to be the greatest quarterback of all time after his Super Bowl wins against the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons, and he continues to add to his insane legacy. Whether you love or hate number 12, take a moment to stop and appreciate what he’s accomplished. Tom Brady’s unparalleled success is like nothing ever seen before, and likely will never be seen again.
Tom Brady’s Unparalleled Success
In the 16 seasons in which Brady has been the starting quarterback, he has made the Super Bowl eight times. He’s just as likely to make it to the Super Bowl as he is to miss it, which is absolutely absurd. Perhaps more impressive is that Brady has played in 12 of a possible 16 AFC Championship games, or 75 percent. For comparison, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees owns the record for completion percentage in a season with 71.6%. Tom Brady is more likely to go to an AFC Championship Game than any quarterback is to complete any given pass.
Brady wins postseason games at an unbelievable rate. Following the win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady is now 27-9 in his playoff career, 18 games over .500. By comparison, Joe Montana has the second most playoff wins in history with 16. Brady is running laps around his quarterbacking peers. Of course, wins on their own don’t define a quarterback. Football is a team game, and it’s the way Brady wins that show just how great a player he is.
The Fourth Quarter Comebacks
Brady’s first Super Bowl victory came as he orchestrated a last-second field goal drive to beat the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Two years later, he did the same thing against the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVII. His penchant for big plays in the biggest moments drew comparisons to Montana, as both were known for their calm, collected poise in the fourth quarter.
Before 2014, it was debatable who was better in big situations. Now, it’s not even a question. Since the 2014 playoffs, Brady’s Patriots have found themselves down by ten or more points four times. New England has won each of those games, including two Super Bowls. No other player has erased more than one ten-point playoff deficit.
Brady was able to overcome two separate 14-point deficits to the Baltimore Ravens, who had historically given the Patriots fits. It didn’t matter that the defense gave up 31 points, and it didn’t matter that Brandon Bolden, the Patriots leading rusher, finished the game with eight yards. Against all odds, Brady found a way to win.
Two games later, the Patriots found themselves trailing 20-10 in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks and the Legion of Boom. It didn’t matter that there was only enough time in the game for two more drives. It didn’t matter that nobody in history had ever erased a ten-point fourth quarter deficit in the Super Bowl. Brady did it, putting up 14 points in two drives against a defense that allowed just 15 points per game.
Two years later, Brady somehow found a way to outdo himself. The Patriots fell behind 28-3 in Super Bowl LI midway through the third quarter. Once more, it didn’t matter that there was only a 0.3% chance of pulling off a victory. It didn’t matter that Rob Gronkowski was lost for the season and couldn’t help. Brady led the most furious comeback in football history, erasing the deficit and collecting his fifth ring.
And just this last week, at the age of 40, he did it again. Just like in Super Bowl XLIX, the Patriots found themselves down 20-10 in the fourth quarter against the best passing defense in the league. This time, there was no Julian Edelman or Gronkowski to help. There was no run game to speak of. There were 12 stitches in his right thumb. It didn’t matter. Brady threw for 132 yards in the fourth quarter against a defense that only allowed 170 per game. With the running game effectively eliminated and his top two targets sidelined, Brady still found a way to make it work. 15 minutes of game time later and the Patriots once more found themselves on the way to the Super Bowl.
Appreciate the Greatness
Now age 40, Brady will be the oldest player to ever play in a Super Bowl, and he’s not slowing down. Brady led the NFL in passing yards this season and is the favorite for the MVP award. Historically, that is not a good sign for winning a Super Bowl. The last regular season MVP to win the Super Bowl was Kurt Warner back in the 1999 season, and the passing yards leader has never won a Super Bowl.
But, if there’s anyone that can break this trend, it’s Brady. Throughout his career, he’s shown there’s nothing he can’t do, and he’s as good and hungry as ever. It’s not the refs, it’s not air pressure, it’s not cameras, he’s just better than his competition. There’s no telling how much longer this can last, so enjoy the ride for however long it goes, and savor every second.