Throughout our lives, we often see great things--in anything really. Breathtaking views upon mountain tops, scenic rivers, and historical landmarks. For sports fans, witnessing greatness is something we often take for granted. Year after year we rely on our favorite players--sometimes our idols--to drive our favorite teams to their destination. Little do we ever take into account what we've been watching all these years will be something to remember forever, what that player has done, their accomplishments, their records, their legacy. It's all stuff that us sports fans often forget about when cheering on our teams. And while we need not reminding, we're all watching a legend at work in New England by the name of Tom Brady.
We all know the story, born in Northern California. Born into an athletic family, drafted by the Expos and then drafted by the New England Patriots at pick number 199, a pick that will forever be in Patriots lore. Looked awful at times and barely held the roster spot for a time being, it all didn't matter come September 23rd, 2001--a date already in Patriots lore. Ever since then, Tom Brady has risen above the ranks and has continued to surpass expectations laid out for him early in his career. But at what point do we place Brady ahead of the all-time greats? Brady already has three Super Bowl rings, two MVP's (including the leagues only ever unanimous vote), two time Super Bowl MVP, 8 time pro-bowler, he's already been placed on the 2000 All-Decade team, the most playoff win total of all-time by any QB, most touchdown passes, most attempts without an INT, 23 time AFC offensive player of the week (an all-time record), he's 5th in passing TD's in a career--soon to pass Fran Tarkenton for 4th. If the Patriots win more than 12 games this season, he'll be in the top 3 in all-time wins trailing only Manning and Favre. He's also 9th in all-time passing, and will surely climb a spot or two if he stays healthy all year. So what will it take?
Many people like to compare Brady to Manning just like 5 years from now we will be comparing Griffin to Wilson. But is it really fair to compare Manning to Brady? After-all, people consider championships "team accomplishments" while MVP's are individual ones. Well if that's the case then Manning has Brady beat by two and while Brady does trail Manning in just about every statistical accomplishment (mentioned earlier in TD passes and wins) Manning has played 49 more games than Brady has. Divide those numbers up, and that's three seasons worth of games with one to spare. If we take Brady's averages throughout the years he played in most/all of the games, here is where he would trail Manning by.
Currently- 14,681 yards
Projected- 2,483 yards
Projected- 11 touchdowns (rounded up)
Projected- Ahead of Manning by 15.
Currently- 86 less than Manning
Projected- 56 less than Manning
As you can see, Brady isn't too far from Manning in any statistical achievement. So why must we compare the two side by side so often? Brady by far has a better win percentage at 77.7% to Manning's 68.8%, but of course people say "that's a team thing" who drives the team? The quarterback and so far Brady has done it better than anyone as his closest competitor, Roger Staubach, has a win percentage of 74.6%, still a decently sized margin.
Looking at personal accomplishments, sure Manning has two more MVP's, and four more first team all-pro awards and four more pro-bowls. But Brady has him beat in the trophy department, playoff wins list, and has appeared in the big game 6 times in Brady's 10 full or nearly full seasons to Manning's two in 14 complete seasons. And Manning does "share" an MVP with the late Steve McNair. What does all of this mean? Personal accomplishment wise, Brady has some gaining to do on Manning, but if you judge a quarterback by their success. Brady has Manning beat by a wide margin. Especially in the postseason, while Brady has appeared in four more games than Peyton. He's nearly doubling his win total to 17, to Manning's 9. A 70.8 playoff win percentage for Brady, to a 45 percentage for Peyton.
Judging these two will take forever and ever. But why should we judge them year after year and accept the fact we're watching greatness, we're watching legends. While Brady has some catching up to do, just remember this fact. Personal accomplishments build a reputation, championships and playoff victories build a legacy.