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By Kendall Jenkins on 2022-06-06 07:50:00

Tom Brady is the best player in American football history

In early February, Tom Brady, unequivocally the best player in American football history, officially announced the end of his sporting career. Brady is a living legend in the U.S., and many people rate him above Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, and other great athletes.

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Who is Tom Brady?

Tom Brady is the greatest player in American football history. He has played his entire career at quarterback, that is, as a team dispatcher who passes the ball to his teammates on every play. 

In 2000, he graduated from the University of Michigan and was drafted by the NFL, the premier American football league in the world. Scouts noted the quarterback's football intelligence and poise, but he didn't look like much of an athlete.

The New England Patriots of Boston selected Brady in only the sixth round of the draft (out of seven). The higher a player is set in the draft, the better contract he gets and the more prospects he has in the professional league. Brady was disappointed that he was selected so late and even contemplated that he would never be a professional football player.

One hundred ninety-eight other players were selected before Brady, including six quarterbacks. The most successful of them all, Chad Pennington, ended his career in 2010 without ever playing in the Super Bowl.

Usually, players selected in the late draft rounds rarely get a chance to prove themselves. Often they are dismissed from the team before the season even begins because they lose the competition to their more experienced peers. However, Tom Brady earned the coaching staff's respect with his play in training camp. In his second season with the Patriots, he got into the starting lineup when his starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe got injured. Instead, nobody knew much about Brady. And for the next 18 years, the Patriots quarterback never changed.

That's not to say that the 24-year-old won them all at once, like in a Hollywood movie. In his first few years at the pro level, he performed the minimum tasks a quarterback is expected to do and tried not to screw anything up. But his work ethic, composure, and ability to hold his punches under pressure helped him succeed in the most critical moments of games. Then, finally, in his first season with Tom Brady at quarterback, the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl.

Why is he considered the most outstanding player in American football history?

First, there's a universal yardstick -- wins and championship rings. Tom Brady won 243 regular-season games during his career (76.4 percent of all competitions). That's 57 more wins than the other legendary quarterbacks: 

  • Brett Favre;

  • Peyton Manning.

If that number doesn't tell you anything in the abstract, imagine: In the NFL regular season, teams played 16 games each until recently. Brady is three and a half perfect, winless seasons cooler than his closest competitors.

Brady's idol as a kid was famous San Francisco Foothillers quarterback Joe Montana. Montana won 16 playoff games and four Super Bowls in his career. Back in 2015, he was called the GOAT among quarterbacks. Growing up in California, Brady once watched Montana play in a stadium and dreamed of following in his footsteps.

To put it mildly, Brady surpassed his idol. He won 35 playoff games in his career (even if you split it in half, Tom would still be in the top two) and won the Super Bowl seven times.

And the last, seventh ring Brady won was on a different team. The quarterback left the New England Patriots in 2020 as a free agent to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a group that had not made the playoffs since 2007. Then, in his first season with Brady, the team became champions.

The quarterback has long since stopped competing against other people, and now he has beaten all organizations - there is not a team in NFL history that has won the Super Bowl seven times.

Under NFL rules, Tom Brady may not be inducted into the American Football Hall of Fame until 2027. But in fact, he's been there for a long time.

Can Brady be compared to other legends - Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky?

For Americans, that's not the question anymore. For a long time, there was a view that Brady owed all of his success to head coach Bill Belichick's system at the New England Patriots. But when the quarterback moved to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and won the Super Bowl in one go, all questions about the architect of a championship dynasty fell away.

Brady won a record number of titles (seven versus Jordan's six) on different teams and various conferences. And most importantly, he did it while playing in America's most popular sports league.

Neither basketball, baseball, nor hockey is a competitor to American football in terms of TV ratings in the United States. More than 100 million viewers watch the Super Bowl. On the other hand, the deciding game of the NBA Finals series between the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks was watched by 6.6 million viewers last year.

Another thing is that outside the United States, the figures of Jordan, Gretzky, or LeBron James will still stand taller because of the international popularity of basketball and hockey. American football remains a local sport, although its spread outside North America is often underestimated.

In Britain, NFL games twice a year draw a packed Wembley Stadium (86,000 spectators). And the last final of the German American football championships before the coronavirus pandemic drew 20,000 spectators from the stands of the stadium in Frankfurt.

Where did the rumors of his departure come from?

Tom Brady is 44 years old. At that age, American football is not usually played. Only two players in the entire NFL in the 2021 season were in their fifth decade - Brady and Los Angeles Rams offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth, who's 40.

In American football, career length depends on the position in which you play. For example, the critical age for a running back, whose job is to take the ball in his hands and run it forward on every play, is 30. Quarterbacks and kickers are the main long-timers.

There have been precedents for quarterbacks to play until age 40, but usually, at that age, players' effectiveness drops off dramatically. For example, legendary quarterback Brett Farv ended his career in 2010. His last season (at age 40) was the worst of his career, winning only five of 13 games, getting injured, and never returning to the field. A year ago, 2009 champion Drew Brees ended his career at 42, but analysts have noted over the past two seasons that the quarterback has played less effectively.

Continuation of career

Tom Brady has recently returned to the game after a remarkably temporary leave from the sport in the offseason. He will have a promising future regardless of when he finally decides to retire from soccer. Even better than his entire career. 


On May 10, it was announced that Brady would join Fox Sports as the lead NFL analyst when he finished his career. According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, the contract is for ten years and a whopping almost $400 million. It is by far the most significant sports broadcasting contract in history.


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