Here are 10 reasons to appreciate Tom Brady as he makes his 10th Super Bowl appearance

Frank Schwab
·8-min read

If accomplishments and resume matter most — and it’s hard to figure out what would be more important — then Tom Brady is clearly the greatest quarterback ever.

The problem is that many still don’t want to give Brady his due. There are various weird reasons but all come back to some form of “I hate Brady.”

If you like and appreciate football, you’re missing out on perhaps the greatest career in NFL history.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady made a lot of history with this Super Bowl run. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady made a lot of history with this Super Bowl run. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

As Brady gets ready to play Super Bowl No. 10, here are 10 reasons to appreciate one of the all-time greats in any sport:

Tom Brady has more Super Bowl history than most franchises

Most NFL’s franchises don’t even come close to Brady’s Super Bowl history. This one stat sums it up:

The Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys are tied for second all-time with eight Super Bowl appearances. The only NFL franchise with more than 10 Super Bowl appearances is the Patriots, who have appeared in 11. Nine of them were with Brady.

Brady is the best ‘old’ player ever

What Brady is doing at age 43 should never be overlooked. It’s not just that he’s doing well at 43. He’s doing better than every 43-year-old quarterback in NFL history combined. And it’s not close.

Here’s the list of QBs at least 43 in the NFL, before 2020 (via Stathead):

Vinny Testaverde: 96 for 175, 981 yards, 6 TDs, 6 INTs
George Blanda: 68 for 135, 955 yards, 12 TDs, 12 INTs
Steve DeBerg: 30 of 59, 369 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Warren Moon: 16 of 37, 228 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Doug Flutie: 5 of 10, 29 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs

All quarterbacks 43 or older, combined (before Brady): 215 for 416 (51.7%), 2,562 yards, 22 TDs, 22 INTs, 66.4 passer rating
Brady at age 43: 401 for 610 (65.7%), 4,633 yards, 40 TDs, 12 INTs, 102.2 passer rating

According to Giants.com, Brady is the oldest player in Super Bowl history at 43 years, 192 days, and the other four in the top five are all kickers or punters:

  • Tom Brady, Tampa Bay (LV) - 43 years, 192 days

  • Matt Stover, Indianapolis (XLIV) - 42 years, 11 days

  • Jeff Feagles, New York Giants (XLII) - 41 years, 333 days

  • Matt Bryant, Atlanta (LI) - 41 years, 252 days

  • Mike Horan, St. Louis (XXXIV) - 40 years, 363 days

Brady’s 2nd chapter is rare

Usually when a player switches teams late in his career, it doesn’t turn out well. Cue all the jokes about Johnny Unitas with the Chargers or Joe Namath with the Rams.

It’s very rare for a quarterback to lead two different franchises to the Super Bowl. Only three have done it before Brady: Kurt Warner, Craig Morton and Peyton Manning. Only Manning started and won Super Bowls with two different teams. And the 2015 version of Manning, who struggled all season and was helped immensely by a great Broncos defense, is nowhere near this season’s version of Brady.

What’s more, if Brady wins Super Bowl LV, he’ll be the first player in the history of the NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL to win championships with two different teams past the age of 40.

Brady’s combination of titles and MVPs is almost unmatched

Tom Brady has more Super Bowl rings than anyone else in NFL history, with a chance to add a seventh Sunday. He has few contemporaries in the history of American sports when it comes to titles and MVPs.

ESPN shared some trivia that puts in perspective how impressive Brady’s career has been. In the histories of the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, only six athletes have seven championships and two MVPs: Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics, Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens, and Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees. That’s quite a group Brady could join.

Brady has 2 Hall of Fame halves in his career

It’s hard to say what the most impressive Brady feat is, but putting together what amounts to two Hall of Fame careers is up there.

If you took Brady’s career from 2001-2010, and then judged 2011-2020 on its own, both resumes would be good enough for the Hall.

That speaks to Brady’s consistency and his longevity too.

Brady isn’t even near the end (if he wants to keep playing)

Brady played so well at age 43 that there’s no reason to believe he won’t be playing next season at age 44. He said this week that he will “definitely” consider playing past age 45.

Brady is first in NFL history in passing touchdowns and second in yards, and he’ll pass Drew Brees in the latter category early next season if Brees retires. He can put those records far out of reach. When you add in Brady’s postseason stats, you see the heights he can reach:

If Brady decides to play until after age 45, 100,000 passing yards (including postseason) isn’t out of the question. Let that sink in.

Of course, Brady could retire at any time. There’s nothing left for him to prove. But he sounds like a player who wants to play as long as he can.

Most players were in grade school when Brady was winning titles

One of the best random facts about Brady is that Antoine Winfield Sr. once picked off Brady. One of Brady’s teammates on this Buccaneers team is Antoine Winfield Jr.

You have probably heard that Patrick Mahomes was in kindergarten when Brady won his first Super Bowl.

There are nine Chiefs and 14 Buccaneers players who have turned 30 already. The rest of the players in Super Bowl LV are in their 20s, meaning they were in elementary school when Brady was drafted.

Brady has outlasted some of the game’s greats

Josh Dubow of the Associated Press had a phenomenal fact about some Hall of Famers who started their careers after Brady and are already in the Hall of Fame following the five-year waiting period.

CBS’ list of players who have been out of the NFL for a while but are still younger than Brady is surprising too.

Brady has lapped the field in many postseason records

It seems accurate to say Brady’s postseason records won’t be topped.

Brady has 80 postseason touchdowns. Joe Montana and Aaron Rodgers are tied for second ... with 45.

Here’s a stat from @MySportsUpdate: If you removed all the touchdown passes from Brady to Randy Moss, Rob Gronkowski, Deion Branch, Julian Edelman, Wes Welker, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola, Brady would have 46 career postseason touchdowns. That would still be the record.

Brady might be the greatest player in American sports history

If you use the term “greatest athlete,” that changes the argument. Then we get bogged down in debating Brady’s 40 time and his vertical leap.

If we’re talking about who has been the most accomplished player in any major American sport, it’s hard to argue Brady’s resume doesn’t stack up well with Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, LeBron James, Babe Ruth, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps or anyone else in the argument. Brady plays the toughest position in sports and is doing things no other quarterback has come close to matching.

We’ll leave this debate on pause and revisit if Brady’s Buccaneers can win on Sunday. Enjoy it, because Brady’s run won’t last forever.

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