There is a reason the word fan is in fanatic. And other than Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga fans, no group of people are more fanatical than sports fans.
Painted chests, rusted, 30-year old Winnebagos decked out in team colors and flags, the use of “we” when referring to the person’s favorite team are prime diagnosis for sports fanatics. More proof of the lunacy are the questions they ask themselves.
For the past eight years, one such question was Tom Brady or Peyton Manning? Both are first ballot hall of famers. Both have Super Bowl rings, (Brady has three). Both are pin-point accurate and slice up opposing defenses better than Ginsu Knives.
Yet, the question is a popular one: “Who would you rather have leading your team?”
Both would be a Brad Childress dream come true. My answer has always been the same. Give me Tom Brady.
Ever since Brady drove the Patriots to victory in Super Bowl XXXVI over the St. Louis Rams, I’ve been buying his stock. Here is why: Three Super Bowl victories in four appearances, two Super Bowl MVPs, six Pro Bowl invites, the record holder for most touchdown passes in a single season, the fifth-highest career passer rating of all time and the 2007 NFL MVP.
Of course he’s had his downs, too. He missed all of the 2008 season with a left knee injury and, while no fault of his, the Patriots’ hopes for a perfect season in 2007 were dashed by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
But this year there is no mistaken who the best quarterback in the NFL is.
Statistically speaking Brady had thrown for 3,029 yards and 27 touchdowns with just four picks. He has a quarterback rating of 109.5 with a 66.8 completion percentage. All those numbers are ranked in the top 10 with his QB rating and TD passes leading the NFL.
The most impressive stat of Brady is who he’s throwing those passes to. Brady’s arsenal includes guys named Danny Woodhead, Deion Branch, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Other than Brandon Tate, who runs reverses and catches some balls, I can’t even name any of New England’s other receivers.
Woodhead is a New York Jets practice squad reject and former Division II college player. Branch is a former Super Bowl MVP, but is past his prime. Gronkowski and Hernandez are two rising stars, but are rookies. Welker is the only player with any name recognition, but he’s not in the same build of a Roddy White, Anquan Bolden or Andre Johnson.
Other than three-plus years with Randy Moss, Brady has never had a deep-threat, top-flight receiver. That never mattered as he not only puts up numbers, but won Super Bowls.
Name one receiver off the Patriots’ first Super Bowl victory. Die-hard fanatics like my financial advisor Jason Bertram, who lives in a fantasy world of pig skin, Stickum and Field Turf probably can, but the average human being might be hard-pressed to name a single other offensive player from that roster.
I know the up and coming quarterbacks are closing the gap between Brady/Manning: Players like Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco and Philip Rivers, but you can have all those guys. I’ll take Tom Brady and I’ll spot you 10 points and still beat you.
This year, with Manning’s struggles, and Brady’s MVP play, I think the Brady-Manning question is a fairly easy one for the fanatics.
The new question should be is Brady the best quarterback ever? I’ll be waiting to hear from the old-timers on this one.