Tom Brady Gets Flack For Not Admitting He’s An All-Time QB
Tom Brady was at the Super Bowl on Sunday night, which is presumably the last place on earth that he wanted to be. It's doubtful that given his choice, he would have taken the field before the game as part of the MVP parade knowing full well he would be booed.
Alas, he had to be there to take credit for being the MVP of not one, not two but three Super Bowls, so while he was at it he took the time to sit down with Jim Gray of Westwood One Radio. During the interview, he was asked if he considers himself to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. And in the absolute least shocking answer of all time, he said no. He went on to talk about some of the players he does consider to be all-time talents, including players that are currently in the league.
Apparently that answer irked some of those in the media and blogosphere, because of course it did.
Before we get to his quotes, let me just remind you that there was no chance in hell that Brady was going to say anything else. No matter how much he succeeds or how well he plays, people are waiting to pounce on every word that he utters. He knows that there is no good answer to this question. He is aware at this point that nothing he says will please anyone that isn't a Patriots fan. The only reason he still does interviews at all is because he's smart enough to understand that not doing them would only make things even worse.
Here is some of his response:
“That is a hell of a question and I wouldn’t put myself in there. I think there’s some incredible players that have played the position and a lot of guys do things differently to get the job done. You see different styles, different techniques. When you look at me being a fan of Joe Montana — nobody ever did it better than Joe Montana. In a way he was like the Michael Jordan of football. The style and the grace and the beauty of what Joe’s style was, it never looked hard for Joe.
Another one of my idols, Steve Young, who was one of the most gifted players to ever play. You look at Troy Aikman, the efficiency with the way he played. You look at Aaron Rodgers and the way that he’s playing and you can’t imagine another quarterback could play as flawlessly as a guy like Aaron Rodgers. Then you watch Russell Wilson play and you never could imagine someone could get out situations and make plays out of nothing like Russell Wilson. Then you watch Cam Newton play. You’re blown away by the different styles of all these different players that make this game so spectacular.
I think of myself as kind of someone who has got to think my way through the game, has to understand coverages, anticipate things. I have to work my butt off all week and work really hard to get to the game feeling confident with what I am trying to accomplish and get down the field to score some points. I guess for me because I have to work so hard at it and try so hard at it, that’s part of enjoying it for me, but I look at other players and say, ‘Gosh, I wish I could make it look as easy as they make it look.' "
Listen, does some of that sound like complete bullshit? Sure. But his overall point is that he believes that the level of talent that some of the greatest QBs ever possess is a more pure, unadulterated talent than what he's working with. Which is true. His success has never been accredited to his incredible arm or speed or quickness. It's his precision, ability to recall complex offensive systems, his decision-making and his communciation on the field. Those are things that have made him great.
One blogger in particular, who called Brady's answer a "shameless humbebrag", took issue with the fact that he implied that he works harder than others; which is legitimately the most hypocritical thing you can say in an article that is simultaneously criticizing him for not just outright saying that he's a top five quarterback of all time. So do you want him to be honest or do you want him to give a politically correct answer that makes him sound at least somewhat modest?
The fact of the matter is, he does work harder than everybody else. Whether it's necessary or even helpful is an entirely different discussion. But Brady is well known for being a machine when it comes to diet and training and offseason workouts. He's said many times that because he is not as naturally physically gifted as some other players, he has to take more extreme measures to ensure that he stays in the kind of condition that will allow him to stay elite into his late-30's or even early-40's
And yes he does still consider himself an underdog with something to prove, which would be a much more annoying quality if it weren't for the fact that the NFL community keeps giving him a reason to feel that way. He's one of the most scrutinized, despised players in the league; and his greatest indiscretion is being part of a trumped up investigation into the air pressure of footballs.
If he still has a chip on his shoulder, it's because everybody keep giving him reasons to keep it there. Anyone who contends that they'd have preferred that Brady come out and say "yes, I think my body of work and my four Super Bowl rings qualify me as a top five quarterback of all time" is a dolt. That's an awkward title to award yourself, and just because Brady knows how great his career has been doesn't mean he has to be comfortable declaring that out loud about himself.
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