If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re from New England and already think Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time.
Or you probably have a working set of eyes and have seen Brady’s career and know he’s got as much of a claim for that spot as anyone.
So it’s no surprise, really, that an ESPN.com panel of 10 current and former NFL coaches and executives tabbed the Patriots quarterback the greatest quarterback of the NFL’s modern era, which ESPN dates back to 1978.
Brady was the runaway choice for No. 1, getting 86.7 percent on the “GOAT Index,” ahead of Peyton Manning who finished second with an 80 percent index.
“Brady’s record speaks for itself,” three-time NFL head coach Norv Torner said. “He just finds a way to get it done over and over and over again. I don’t think there is any situation that he has not mastered. He is a great decision-maker. I mean, you don’t want to get into a two-minute drill against Brady. He is also remarkable because he has gotten hit a lot and lasted.”
Brady, according to ESPN, appeared first or second on nine of 10 ballots. He did, however, finish as low as No. 6 for one of the voters, and you’ll never guess who voted him there. Actually, you probably will, because as CBS Boston points out, it appears former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy ranked Brady sixth.
“Dungy threw an interesting curveball,” the ESPN.com article reads. “He approached the project as if he were a defensive coordinator drawing up a game plan. Dungy saw skilled passers across the board when looking at the best QBs. He reasoned that those who also were dangerous runners were the toughest quarterbacks to stop, which is why his top three comprised John Elway, Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers.”
And as we mentioned, all but one ballot had Brady ranked No. 1 or 2, and since the lowest he finished was No. 6, and we know Dungy’s top three, well, the numbers don’t lie.
Even Dungy’s blurb about Brady included a slightly backhanded compliment.
“I don’t think Bill Belichick would be Bill Belichick without Tom Brady, and Brady would not have the same success without Belichick and the way they have put that team together,” he said. “But the one common thread through 15 years was Brady. When they had him, they won big — won championships. The quarterback has so much to do with it.”
Speaking of numbers, Brady-led Patriots teams went 5-3 (including 2-1 in the playoffs) against Dungy’s Colts, and the Patriots quarterback threw 14 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. So make of that what you will. And to his credit (or detriment), Dungy didn’t put his guy, Manning, in his top three, either.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images