Michael Wilbon prefers Deshaun Watson to Tom Brady in the clutch
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Deshaun Watson's performance in the 2017 College Football National Championship was flat-out amazing. He made almost every throw, and led his Clemson Tigers out of a late deficit against the heavily favored Alabama Crimson Tide to win the trophy. But as great as it was, does it compare to Tom Brady's record-setting Super Bowl LI performance? According to Pardon The Interruption co-host Michael Wilbon, it does.
On Tuesday, Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser debated which championship performance was greater, with Wilbon taking Watson's side and Kornheiser backing Brady. Wilbon's argument centered around Clemson's pregame underdog status:
The answer is Deshaun Watson. Deshaun Watson was an incredibly heavy underdog who went up against Alabama. He beat Nick Saban, who you slurp on the PTI show. When? On the last play of the game. It was storybook. The answer is Deshaun Watson. Not even Brady did that.”
In the spirit of fairness, Wilbon is right about a few things: unlike the Patriots, the Tigers were underdogs heading into the game. And unlike Brady, Watson threw the game-winning TD. But as "storybook" as that last-second toss to Hunter Renfrow was, it's hard to argue that the outcome was more picture-perfect than New England's legendary comeback. Sure, the Pats were favored heading into Super Sunday, but who was taking their side when they were down 28-3 with two minutes left in the third quarter?
As far as the individual statlines go, Brady has Watson beat as well. The Clemson QB threw for 420 yards and three scores, connecting on 36 of 56 attempts for a 63.3 QBR--while impressive, Brady racked up 466 yards on 43-of-62 passing and posted a 79.6 QBR. Brady also set Super Bowl records for most passing yards, completions, and passing first downs (26).
While Brady may have a slight statistical edge, the arguments for both sides are definitely solid. We'll have to see if Watson performs similarly against Brady in the clutch if the two meet in the 2017 NFL playoffs.