You can’t imagine how disheartening it is to be a New York Jets fan in the Tom Brady era.
I vividly remember the day that the era began. It was September 23, 2001. I was watching the game at a bar. Jets linebacker Mo Lewis put a nasty hit on Patriots franchise quarterback Drew Bledsoe, knocking the veteran signal caller out of the game.
The Jets won that afternoon. But it was a pyrrhic victory. That’s because Bledsoe’s back-up was the Patriots’ 6th Round pick out of Michigan: Tom Brady.
With Brady at the helm, The New England Patriots promptly went on a huge winning streak that ended with their first of four Super Bowls.
Tom Brady is a winner, obviously. But what makes him the best QB of all time? To me, it’s the fact that during his long career, Brady has been three different quarterbacks.
During his first 6 years in the league, Brady had a first rate arm and a first rate offensive line. During that era, Brady was the best mid-range QB in the league. He focused his passes on targets 10-25 yards down the field. With his rifle arm, Brady turned Deion Branch, Troy Brown, and David Patten into potent weapons.
In 2007, the Patriots changed their personnel and signed two exceptionally talented and very different types of wide receivers. In Wes Welker, Brady had a quick underneath target. In Randy Moss, Brady had a premier deep threat. So Brady became a new type of QB. When he needed a few yards on 3rd down, he turned to dependable Welker in the slot. When he wanted a touchdown, he threw a long strike to Moss.
The 16-0 2007 Patriots were probably the best offensive team ever.
Today, the Patriots don’t have a great offensive line. They don’t have an impressive running game. 38 year old Tom Brady no longer has a great arm and he’s totally immobile.
And yet, Brady is still the best. He has become a completely different type of player. Now he wins by making quick decisions and firing accurate strikes to receivers (and Gronk) near the line of scrimmage. He wins by completing passes at a high percentage while almost never throwing interceptions.
Above all, Tom Brady is the most clutch.
When the Jets are ahead by 2 points in the 4th Quarter and the Patriots get the ball back with 1:30 to go, Brady will lead New England on a game winning drive. Every time. Guaranteed. It’s a nightmare. A nightmare I have to relive every season.
Take it from a guy who has been watching and rooting against him from day one: Tom Brady is the greatest QB of all time(, darn it).