Brady’s Legacy

Tom Brady is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, but then again he’s had that title over the past decade. What he hasn’t had over the past ten years is a Super Bowl championship; harsh, I know.

The three- time champion has come painfully close to winning that elusive 4th title twice since 2007 only to see Eli Manning and the New York Giants rip it away. This Sunday, he has an opportunity to solidify himself in the pantheon of sports legends.

Sunday night’s game is huge for Brady’s legacy. Not to belabor the obvious but he’s in a position where a win and/or a loss will determine his status among the greatest of all-time.

He Wins:

If he wins, he’s only the third quarterback in NFL history to win four; Montana and Bradshaw are the other two. He’ll have a 4-2 record in Super Bowl’s along with being the only player in NFL history with six Super Bowl appearances. Winning will not only solidify him as one of the two greatest quarterbacks ever, it will be also open the door for debate on whether or not he’s surpassed Montana as the greatest of all-time.

On another note, all the “Spygate & “Deflategate” talk will officially die out. He will have answered all the doubters who believed that he and Coach Bill Belichick needed to cheat in order to win. The win will surely exonerate him (and possibly Belichick) in the court of public opinion.

He Loses:

If he loses, he’ll be 3-3 overall in Super Bowls and 0-3 in his last three appearances. The conversation of him surpassing Montana will be mute and he’ll be considered top three all-time. His offseason will be consumed with “Deflate-Gate” and “Spy-gate” conversations that will unfortunately follow him for the rest of his career. Even if he was to make it to another Super Bowl, the speculation would be that he needed to “cheat” in order to make it to this year’s Super Bowl; and couldn’t win it with regularly inflated footballs. Yes, it’s a ridiculous argument to have, but it’ll be there.

My Take:

Regardless of if he wins or loses, Brady is one of the three greatest quarterbacks of all-time; there’s no debate. Anyone who tries to say otherwise is an unbiased Patriot and/or Brady hater. Hell, anyone who knows me, knows that I root against the Patriots and I can’t deny this man’s greatness.

Brady’s currently third on my list behind Montana and Unitas, in that order. However, if he wins, I will have to put him number one overall for a couple of reasons.

  • He’ll have tied Montana with four Super Bowl Championships, but he’d have taken his team to two more. Regardless of if he won those or not, setting the all-time appearance mark in the Super Bowl means something. Not to mention his record setting 49 (and counting) playoff touchdown passes.
  • He would’ve won four rings without a legitimate hall-of-fame type receiver on his roster (Gronk is great, but there’s no guarantee he’ll stay healthy enough to make into the hall).
  • *** He did play with Randy Moss (who’s a future hall-of-fame receiver) but Moss only seemed “interested” in playing for that 2007 Super Bowl year. His effort and performance significantly declined after that season.
  • In my lifetime of watching football, he’s the most clutch quarterback I’ve ever seen. For my life, if I needed a quarterback to win me a game, I’d pick Brady; and there’s no close second.

It sounds ridiculous to say that Brady needs to win this game, but he does. As I’ve outlines throughout this piece, his legacy truly is in the balance. With that being said, I believe that he and the Patriots will win this game.

There’s just something about Brady and the way his career has unfolded that makes me feel real confident about taking him over the Seahawks. As sacrilegious as this will sound to any Boston/New York sports fan, he has a lot of the same “mystique” as Derek Jeter had throughout his career. There was never a player any baseball fan wanted at the plate in a must-win postseason situation more than Jeter; just like there’s never been a quarterback you want at the end of a championship game with the chance to win it than Brady.

Prediction

24-21 Patriots. Brady drives down the field with under 2:00 minutes remaining and puts Gostkowski in position to kick the game-winning field goal as time expires.

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Lynch & The Media

The NFL hasn’t lacked in storylines in what has been arguably the worst PR year in the history of the league. From Ray Rice to “Deflate Gate”, it’s been one headline after another. The one headline or “story” that seems to garner more attention than it should is Marshawn Lynch and his lack of affection towards the media. Anyone who’s followed this story knows the Lynch has been fined throughout the year for his continual absence during mandatory media sessions. He appeared for the Super Bowl media day on Tuesday and answered every question the same way and in turn, said absolutely nothing. There are many who are praising his defiance towards the media and others who find it ridiculous.  I am one who finds it ridiculous.

There’s a fundamental issue that not many are bringing up in regards to the Lynch saga and I’m unclear as to why. Anyone who has a job understands the basic principle that when given the opportunity to have a job, you’re given a specific job spec and expected to follow it. Those who don’t (and continue to do so) will inevitably be fired. When Lynch signed his multimillion dollar contract he must have glossed over the part where, because he’s a star player (and being paid as one), he’s expected to be available to the media after the game and on scheduled media days. Since he has made a mockery of the process the NFL continues to fine him, and they should.

It makes no sense to argue with those who think Lynch is doing the right thing and that he’s amusing because frankly, they’re idiots. He signed a contract and should be held to the same standard as everyone else is. Those in the media and elsewhere who are screaming from the rooftops in defense of his actions are hypocrites. None of them (especially the media) would not follow their job-spec because they know they’re dispensable and can be let go at any time.

Lynch’s actions prove that he’s not very bright. Rather than just sucking it up and speaking to the media for a couple times a week, he’d rather get fined a minimum of $25,000 per offense. He’s going to end up in the sequel to the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary series “Broke” if he continues down this path.

As a football fan I love watching Lynch play. He’s the most difficult running back to tackle in the NFL and has been (in my opinion) the MVP for the Seahawks this season and will be the most important player for them come Sunday. There’s no denying Lynch’s prowess on the football field however, that doesn’t make him above reproach in regards to the rules of the league which employs him; and continues to pay him handsomely for his services.