After Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to a wild comeback from a 28-3 deficit in the Super Bowl, many thought he had cemented his status as the GOAT, the greatest quarterback of all time.
At 39, Brady has won five Super Bowls and shows no signs of slowing down — in fact, he improved upon two of his biggest weaknesses this past season.
However, Brady is not the greatest NFL quarterback of all time, according to one man — Brady himself.
In an interview with ESPN's Ian O'Connor, Brady deflected that title and argued what many people have said about his career: that he's a product of the Patriots' rock-solid system.
"I don't agree with that, and I'll tell you why. I know myself as a player. I'm really a product of what I've been around, who I was coached by, what I played against, in the era I played in. I really believe if a lot of people were in my shoes they could accomplish the same kinds of things. So I've been very fortunate. ... I don't ever want to be the weak link."
Brady is not the first to argue this. While Brady's talent and hard work can't be denied, some believe he's benefitted from playing under Bill Belichick and a system that seamlessly plugs and replaces players without much change. Without a great scheme (not to mention some great teammates along the way), would Brady still be the player he is today?
Of course, Belichick himself has pulled back the curtains on some of his philosophies, too. For instance, according to Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, Belichick's personnel strategy isn't all that complex — he just coaches players he likes. There isn't some magical formula that makes the Patriots good. Belichick coaches and the players execute.
Brady also admitted to O'Connor that part of his success is because he's out-worked everyone else.
"I think there are many more players blessed with more ability. I've worked hard with what I've been given ... and I've had to go about making improvements in different ways. If I was doing the things everyone else is doing, I wouldn't have the same results.
"I'm still 100 percent invested in helping this team win. I never want to let my teammates down. My lifestyle choices got me to this point. ... Football is more than just what I do. It consumes me."
Brady could just be acting humble. He has certainly out-worked his peers to become the player he is today, even if he's had some help along the way. Even with five titles and an already historic legacy under his belt, Brady and the Patriots are in position to continue dominating this season, giving Brady a chance to further cement his legacy.
At first when I read this story I was pissed. I couldn't believe Brady would just basically admit to what his critics have been saying for 15 + years. That he is just a "system QB". That he is only who he is because of Bill Belichick and the "system" they run.
Even with how sarcastic I am, I truly believe what people say to me/what I read. I'm well aware that I'm stupid for that, but deep down I try to see the good in people. It has not been a smart way to live my life. People are the worst and you shouldn't trust them, yet here I am believing everything I hear.
I was kind of pissed Brady would say this. Why would he give them the satisfaction? I've spent a large amount of my life defending his greatness, and here he is just washing it away like a bar stamp the next morning.
Then the wheels started rolling in my head and I understood what's going on. I love what Brady is doing.
I know Tom Brady and the Patriots as a whole have always been about "avoiding the noise" and "doing their job". Pretty much just keep your head down, don't try to aggravate opponents and win the Super Bowl every other year. That's what has been going on in Foxboro ever since Mo Lewis nearly killed Drew Bledsoe and Brady took over all the way back in week 2 of the 2001 season. But don't for a second believe the Patriots don't like to have a little fun when they can and rub their success in people's face. That's why they don't take out starters and "run-up" scores. It's why Belichick is always making moves that criticized that more often than not work out.
Brady is such an ass hole here and I love it. He knows he's the best of all time. He has more rings, and way better stats than his childhood hero, and man who many previously believed to be the best of all time, Joe Montana. Let's not forget Brady just agreed to be on the "G.O.A.T. Edition" of Madden. Think he'd do that if he didn't believe it?
He more or less just called himself a "system-QB" in this interview. The one thing all his detractors have always said. That it's all because of Belichick and "the system". He basically just admitted to the biggest stigma he's had his entire career. His haters have wanted this validation for over a decade. But by calling himself a system QB Brady pulled an B-rabbit.
You can call him a system-QB. But guess what? That system won him 5 Super Bowls. That system led to him being a league MVP twice. That system created the only 16-0 season in league history. That system led to the greatest comeback in NFL history. That system is why he is a surefire first ballot Hall of Famer.
TB12 is just trying to being humble. Do you know what the media would say if he was like "yeah I'm the best". He'd get crucified by ESPN. Let's not forget what those ass holes did to him over the Deflate-gate witchhunt. But make no mistake about it. Brady is the best of all time. The debate is over. What esle does he need to do? Let's not forget what's done up to this point. I mean did we forget what happened just a little over 3 months ago?
How about this? It was a long time ago, so I understand if you forgot about it.
And this? I mean how could you forget the night we all saw Janet Jackson's nipple?
I could almost understand forgetting this one. I mean it was played in Jacksonville, Florida. As someone who lived their for two years, let me tell you, it's a VERY forgettable city.
I really could understand if Brady forgot about this. I have basically erased the whole 2007 Patriots season from my memory. But for the first 99.4% of it, it was fucking awesome.
Brady was the only unanimous MVP in NFL history.
Even in a "down" 2013 where he lost his top 5 targets from the season before to either free agency, injury or murder conviction Brady still had three of the best comebacks of his career. Mainly thanks to him. Dude was throwing to Austin Collie and Kembrel Tompkins.
Then of course (at the time) the biggest 4th quarter comeback in Super Bowl history.
This isn't even up to date now that he has 5.
Only the Steelers have won more Super Bowls than Tom Brady, and he's tied with two of the greatest organizations in league history, the Cowboys and 49ers.
Had a decent year in 2016 as well.
Capped off with.
So sure, call Tom Brady a system-Qb. You can also call him the greatest of all time. You know it, I know it, and sure as you're sitting there reading this, Tom Brady knows it too.