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NFL Unfiltered Super Bowl Edition: IS Brady the best ever?

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Super Bowl XLIX belongs in any conversation of the most compelling title games in NFL history.  

It featured a couple of grand momentum swings, a furious finish and clutch play from one of the game’s best quarterbacks.  Heck, it even included a mini-brawl, once those good sports and fair competitors from Seattle realized certain victory became a defeat.  

The only thing left to discuss is Tom Brady’s place in the pantheon of NFL quarterbacks, and whether his New England Patriots won the game, or the Seahawks lost it.  Photo: businessinsider.com

In my view, the latter is obvious.  The Seahawks lost it because they had more than one opportunity to put the game away and they couldn’t do it.  They were the ones who dropped passes, jumped offsides, and exhibited a general ineptitude when it mattered most.  

Statistically, the game looks pretty even, as the Patriots held the ball for nearly 34 minutes and finished with 25 first downs to Seattle’s 20.  But the Seahawks actually outgained the Pats’ 396-377 and committed one fewer turnover.  And if not for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse’s failure to catch a perfectly thrown pass by quarterback Russel Wilson the Seahawks likely put the game away in the third quarter.  

Still, Brady once again showed why his clutch gene is comparable to legends John Elway and Joe Montana as he dissected what was left of the ‘Legion of Hospital Rooms’ during a brilliant fourth quarter.  But does his performance make him THE best?   

Brady is unquestionably the best quarterback of his era and belongs on any list of top-5 all-time signal-callers.  But to my way of thinking, there is no way he ranks ahead of Montana or Elway.  

As difficult as it is to compare eras, one thing is certain: under today’s rules, Montana and Elway throw for 4,500 yards and 35 touchdowns every season.  It is also fair to say the protection afforded today’s quarterbacks and receivers helps Brady immeasurably.  

Again, this is not to suggest Brady isn’t a great player, he is.  And it is not his fault the league protects offenses the way the NBA used to look out for Michael Jordan.  It is merely meant to offer a little perspective on the career of ONE of the best to ever play.  

And a ranking among the best ever is plenty good enough.         

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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Super Bowl XLIX

-Don’t know Brady’s spiritual leanings, but after the last two years, it was nice to see God get a night off to enjoy the game like everyone else?  

-Brady did not have a great game; he had a great quarter.  Why is that so hard to say?  

-Hard to believe it took the Patriots so long to adjust to the size of Seahawks wideout Chris Matthews.  

-Players are human beings and by no means stupid.  It makes you wonder how much favor and trust Pete Carroll’s decision costs him in his locker room. 

-It amazes me how we’ve collectively framed the conversation so that Carroll’s decision came down to giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch or throwing a pass, as if the only running play in the Seahawks playbook is an off-tackle give to Lynch.  

-It’s so convenient to quote all the stats related to Lynch’s struggles from the one-yard line.  Never mind the fact five attempts is a rather small sample size.  More importantly, those stats don’t take into account the tenor of a game.  We’ll never know if the Patriots had enough left in the tank to stop the league’s most ferocious runner, but I doubt it.   

-Beyond the fateful call at the end of the game, the Seahawks botched most of that last drive, proving once again there are no football head coaching geniuses.  

-Julian Edelman should understand it’s nothing personal.  If he wants to keep playing after a violent collision, he should.  The issue is the hypocrisy surrounding concussions from both the NFL and its players.  Nobody really cares, so stop trying to convince us you do.  

-Richard Sherman’s stink face after Malcolm Butler’s outstanding, game-clinching interception is priceless.  To his credit, he faced the media throng at the postgame presser, but it isn’t the same as the equally priceless reaction Sherman gave us immediately following last year’s NFC championship game.  

-The talent on the Seahawks roster is off the charts when you consider the fact they must overcome Carroll’s shaky game management, and the boundless boneheaded penalties they commit every game.

 

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area.  He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention.  His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

Contact Earl at emyersiii@hotmail.com

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Photo: businessinsider.com