Never has there ever been a quarterback that beat three former Super Bowl MVPs in one playoff run to win the Super Bowl. That is, until a 43-year-old Tom Brady decided to take his talents to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And after just one season, he already has just as many NFC championship victories as Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. Both have been in the GOAT conversation in the past, but Brady made sure to put that discourse to bed real fast this postseason.
Brady’s toughest road yet
One of the biggest knocks on Brady in the past was that he constantly had the easiest road to the Super Bowl, being in the AFC East for so long. However, this year, he was put in a situation where his team had been playing second fiddle to the New Orleans Saints, and even in the regular season, the Buccaneers could not handle the Saints. That was just an extra obstacle Brady had to overcome to reclaim his throne atop the NFL, because once he got another shot at the Saints in the playoffs, he did not disappoint.
The Brady effect
If you aren’t a huge stats person, there are other ways Brady has proved himself the GOAT. One way he does that is by what I like to call the Brady effect. In the Super Bowl, Brady threw three touchdown passes; those three touchdown passes were to Antonio Brown once and Rob Gronkowski on two occasions. Those two players came to Tampa Bay this season, with the intention of playing with the GOAT himself. Oh, and did I mention Leonard Fournette, who had the only other touchdown in the Super Bowl? He came to Tampa knowing dang well that he wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to play with Brady. Just as we saw in the past with New England, people want to play with the greatest quarterback that ever lived.
What about Bill Belichick’s legacy?
For the longest time, people have wondered who was truly the reason for the New England Patriots’ success the past 20 years: Was it Brady or Belichick? For a while, people believed that Belichick could win with any quarterback he was given, but this year was a clear example that that’s just not the case. Is it possible that Belichick is considered the greatest coach only because of what Brady was able to do for him? It is easy to forget that Belichick holds a below .500-win percentage without Brady as his QB. With all that being said, Belichick has put together some great defensive game plans in past Super Bowls when Brady has struggled. An example of that would be Super Bowl 53, when the Pats held the LA Rams to just three points when Brady couldn’t muster much offensively. This is just proof that Belichick can make do without the greatest quarterback of all time, but he needs a QB with some sort of competence. He hasn’t been given that, which ultimately hurts his legacy.
When it comes to the final years Brady has left in this league, the Brady effect will be as important as ever. We’ve seen it in the NBA on many occasions, where great players join forces to create a super team in order to win multiple championships. Now I am sure we will see that on a whole new level with Brady and the Bucs. With time dwindling for Brady’s career, players will not want to pass up the opportunity to play with him. Therefore, I fully expect another trip to the Super Bowl, and maybe an eighth champion’s ring to pad his GOAT status even more.