GOAT: Greatest of All Tom

Although some say Brady is the GOAT, his success depends more on his coach and his teammates rather than his own skill.

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Tom Brady has six Super Bowl rings. However, they cannot all be attributed solely to him. He has spent his whole career with Bill Belichick, the greatest coach of all time. It is inane to give Brady all the credit for the Super Bowls that his team has won. While he is a great player and clearly makes his team better, he would not be where he is without his amazing coach.

Brady has had a great offensive line, decent run game, and sufficient defense throughout his career. However, since the quarterback has the most influence out of any single player on a football team, people are quick to credit Brady for all of the Patriots’ success.

Brady is simply a system quarterback, as seen if we compare how the team has done with and without him on the field. Brady was out for the year in 2008 after he tore his ACL and MCL. Despite playing without Brady, the Patriots finished the season with an 11-5 record. Though they didn’t make the playoffs, it was clear that the Patriots could be a great team without the supposed GOAT.

Besides being a system quarterback, Brady and his team have lost three Super Bowls to mediocre teams. Pundits rush to point out Brady’s six championship wins, but his Super Bowl losses tell us the most about him. The Patriots lost to the 10-6 New York Giants in Super Bowl 42, though the Patriots came into the game with an undefeated 18-0 record and as 12-point favorites. The Patriots once again lost to the Giants in Super Bowl 46, but this time, the Giants were 9-7 through the regular season. This was worse than when the two teams played four years prior. Brady’s final loss came against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 52; he lost to backup quarterback Nick Foles. Many people blame such losses on luck, but the fact of the matter is that Brady was not able to perform up to expectations and step up when his team needed him most.

Brady’s career statistics are not the best of all time. There are multiple quarterbacks ahead of him in categories like touchdowns and yards, which show how much more other quarterbacks have done for their team. Former quarterback Peyton Manning holds records for most passing yards (5,477) and touchdown passes (55) in a season. Aaron Rodgers’s career passer rating of 103.1 trumps all others by nearly three points.

What’s become increasingly evident over the recent years is how much of Brady’s success and statistics have come from his coach and teammates. Videos from ex-NFL punter Pat McAfee have showcased numerous times per game when Brady makes easy throws. Meanwhile, his players do the working, running for over 10 yards after the catch. For many of these plays, his receiver is wide open due to play design. The yards gained after catch have nothing to do with Brady’s “greatness.” Of course, he does make good throws here and there, but both his game and the Patriots’ game are centered around shorter plays that do not demand much skill from the quarterback. Brady isn’t the GOAT; he’s simply a glorified system quarterback.