Photos courtesy of Marc Serota
Is Tom Brady the one true G.O.A.T.? What does calling someone the G.O.A.T. really mean?
It is an acronym for the Greatest – Of – All – Time, but so many people throw that expression around loosely to describe the likes of LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali, and Serena Williams. Yes, those are all G.O.A.T.s in their own right and in their own sports, but in my humble opinion the true G.O.A.T. title in this generation’s annals of sport should now reside with Tom Brady.
Tom Brady’s G.O.A.T. Record
Brady has made 14 trips to the NFC championship, winning 10 of them, resulting in 10 Super Bowl appearances. And each time he has done it with a different cast of supporting actors. He’s won six Super Bowls (and counting) out of those 10 trips.
Yes, LeBron James has been to 10 NBA finals, but he’s only won four of those. Tiger Woods has won 15 major championships and Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles, but in individual sports where you don’t have to elevate an entire team around you in order to reach the promised land. There are also 4 chances to win major titles in both golf and tennis each year in contrast to 1 Super Bowl a year. Bill Russell comes close with 9 NBA titles as a player and 2 as a coach, but in an era where there was nobody even close to his size and ability on the court.
Tom Brady’s New Chapter
I personally have never been a fan of Tom Brady‘s. I’ve had a front row seat to watch him destroy my beloved Miami Dolphins so many times that I can’t count. Now that Brady has made it to the Super Bowl in the NFC and tied players like Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, who both have the same amount of NFC Championships wins as he does, it’s hard to argue that he’s not the G.O.A.T.!
I thought about this late in the fourth quarter of the NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers when the Packers head coach Matt Lafleur decided to go for a field goal instead of trusting his future Hall of Fame quarterback to go forward on fourth and goal. Leflore knew that they would still need a touchdown drive but he felt with four timeouts including the two-minute warning that his guy, Aaron Rodgers, could get it done.
Flashback to just before halftime when, with eight seconds on the clock and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the edge of field-goal range, Bruce Arians, the coach of the Bucs, trusted Tom Brady to go for it and he threw a 39 yard touchdown pass to Scotty Miller. That’s when the game was won and lost in my mind. Seeing the Green Bay Packers not give Aaron Rodgers the same opportunity when they knew what a great quarterback he was made me realize that Tom Brady wasn’t just a great quarterback but a great leader and his head coach knew it.
Somehow coaches like Bill Belichick and Bruce Arians could see very quickly the leadership ability of Tom Brady. Belichick decided to start Tom Brady, a young and in-experienced quarterback over Drew Bledsoe in the Super Bowl after Bledsoe had taken the team most of the way. Brady had won the last few games while Bledsoe was nursing an injury. Once Brady won his first Super Bowl in New England there was never any doubt that he would be the future starter, leader, and greatest player in the history of the franchise.
Arians, who had one of the worst teams in the league prior to getting Tom Brady this year, knew right away that in a game-winning situation he would always trust Tom Brady to lead his team to victory. He was quoted this season saying, “a lot of times I’ll just sit back and watch.” If Leflore had done that with Aaron Rodgers in the NFC championship game they might be going to the Super Bowl and not the Tampa Bay Bucs and Tom Brady.
The expression MVP, most valuable player, and the MVP award doesn’t go to a player with the greatest stats or the most championships, but rather goes to the most valuable player on a team. That, my friends, has to be Tom Brady, the G.O.A.T.!