Sporting News Writer Says He Has ‘Greatest Respect’ for Tom Brady, Denies ‘Trolling’ Patriots Fans With Article

Tom BradySporting News writer Vinnie Iyer has caused quite the stir with his rankings of the NFL quarterbacks remaining in the playoffs — particularly among New England Patriots fans for placing Tom Brady dead last.

Iyer joined WEEI’s Mut & Merloni on Thursday to explain his reasoning. He said that he does not view the poor ranking as a knock on Brady, but rather as statement on how talented the quarterback class is as a whole.

“I don’t think you’ve seen kind of the confluence of this type of talent ever at this stage,” Iyer said. “… One vs. eight, there’s not that much difference in my mind. … I just looked at the big picture of this right now and not in the past and what the accomplishments are because of course Brady’s going to be the top guy in terms of that. But it’s just shocking to me at how much talent is out there and how confident these young guys are that they can play with the vets at this point.”

Iyer used five criteria to rank the eight remaining quarterbacks. Of these, the most controversial was the “intangibles” category, where he ranked Brady fifth behind Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and Andrew Luck. In fact, Brady placed fifth, sixth or seventh in all five categories.

“I have the greatest respect for Tom Brady,” Iyer said. “He’s one of the greatest players of all time in what he’s done. I was just looking closely at this year, what I’ve seen develop, everything that’s gone around the team and how that team is suited to go in the playoffs. I just think, in this case, the other quarterbacks are in a little bit of a better situation.”

Iyer was asked if his article as an act of “trolling” — making a statement just for the sake of riling up a fanbase and creating publicity for himself, which he clearly has. The writer said those claims are absolutely false.

“That’s ridiculous,” Iyer said. “People just say trolling. No, this is just my opinion. Trolling is just a word you guys throw out. No, I wasn’t excited about it because I don’t like being name-called about all this stuff on Twitter. I wasn’t excited to have him at the end. It just happened that way. You guys try to view that, try to feed into it.

“I didn’t do anything trying to get a reaction,” he added. This is my opinion. It’s not based on trying to get attention from you guys. That’s not what it was all about. I just hate that word trolling, because I’ve never tried to do that with anything I write. I just put my opinion out there. I know that sometimes it’s different from what people want to hear. … I’m not trying to make anyone mad. I’m one of the bigger Tom Brady fans in the world, and I’m just as big a fan of some of these other quarterbacks just as much.”