Brady best ever, and here’s why

ASSOCIATED PRESS Tom Brady has five Super Bowl rings by himself, more than any entire franchise except Pittsburgh.

You can hate him, folks, and many do. But you cannot deny this simple fact. Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback that has ever played. The debate is over.

To do so would just be a testament in ignorance and hatred for pure greatness like we have never seen before or will again.

The New England Patriots quarterback is 40 and yet likely will win his third MVP award and is playing in his eighth Super Bowl. Eight! He has twice as many Super Bowl starts as any player but John Elway (5). Brady has started for 16 seasons and has played in the Super Bowl in half those years. He has played in 12 AFC championships as well, meaning he has taken the Patriots to at least the NFL’s Final 4 in 75 percent of his seasons. The four-time Super Bowl MVP has more postseason wins, more regular-season wins and more playoff records than any quarterback. He has won five Super Bowls, more than any quarterback.

Brady has won 27 playoff games. The number alone is staggering. He has at least twice as many playoff wins as any quarterback other than Joe Montana (16) and Peyton Manning (14 with a record 13 losses). Think about this: Brady has nearly as many game-winning fourth-quarter/overtime drives (11) as No. 2 has total playoff wins. It is not supposed to be this easy especially in the free agency era where teams are constantly changing unlike NFL pre-1993. Brady has just made it look that way.

Elway stated it best a few years ago when he said, “you make your living in the regular season; you make your legacy in the postseason.” Nobody can touch his legacy even if the Patriots lose Sunday, which I think they will. Look at his Super Bowl wins. Almost each one is epic. He led the game-winning drive against the heavily favored Rams in his first Super Bowl when John Madden was telling America, the Patriots should take a knee and play for overtime. He led a go-ahead fourth-quarter drive, then a game-winning drive two years later against the Panthers before doing so again the next season against the Eagles.

Two years ago, Brady led the greatest fourth-quarter Super Bowl comeback ever against what was being considered as an all-time great Seahawks defense as the Patriots won, 28-24. Then there was the best comeback, arguably, in sports history, a year ago when Brady broke nearly every individual Super Bowl record and led the Patriots to a 34-28 overtime win after they trailed 28-3 late in the third quarter. When the pressure is highest, when everything is at stake, Brady has been at his best time after time after time.

And Brady has done this with an ever revolving door of players. He has turned no-name players into stars. The only Hall of Fame wide receiver he ever played with was Randy Moss and Brady won his five Super Bowls without him. Rob Gronkowski missed the playoffs last year and Brady kept rolling. Give him a short slot receiver who played quarterback in high school like Julian Edelman. Give him a former lacrosse player named Chris Hogan. Give him no-names like David Patten, David Givens, Deion Branch Daniel Graham and Jermaine Wiggins. Brady has made them all champions.

Did I mention that Brady is 40? Brady is playing some of his best football at a time when every other NFL legend has retired or has been highly ineffective. He is literally beating Father Time who before Brady was undefeated against NFL quarterbacks.

I could go on, but let’s attack some of the myths the haters to try use as excuses for him not being the G.O.A.T.

• 1. Bill Belichick: Yes, Belichick is a brilliant coach but he also was a coach who had one winning season in six years before Brady came along. Belichick’s Patriots were 5-11 in 2000 and 0-2 in 2001 before Brady became the starter. Seventeen weeks later, Brady was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Belichick is great but he needs Brady more than the other way around.

• 2. It’s the system: What system? Montana, Manning, Drew Brees…those are quarterbacks who have played in a system The Patriots system is Brady. You can never pin-point what they will do because they are a chameleon. The only system they have used is doing whatever it takes to beat that opponent in a given week.

• 3. He’s lost multiple Super Bowls: I love Montana. He’s my favorite athlete of all-time. But he and the Terry Bradshaw crowd are out of their league here. Sure, they both went 4-0. Guess what? They were not good enough to get their teams to more than four Super Bowls. Brady has done it eight times. You better believe Montana and Bradshaw would have absorbed Super Bowl losses had they gone eight times.

• 4. He’s a cheater: This one might be the most laugable and is the Hail Mary for Brady haters when they are beaten in every argument. First, the irrefutable laws of science prove that the whole “Deflategate” episode was pure nonsense. Footballs lose air in cold weather. It’s not rocket science. Also, where is all the phony outrage about teams that actually have been caught manipulating footballs the last few years like the Steelers, Seahawks, Giants, Panthers and Vikings? Where is all the phony outrage about Randall Cunningham saying the Eagles used to put footballs in the washer and/or dryer to get them to their liking? What about the Colts and Falcons illegally piping in crowd noise?

Anybody that supports a team that has had somebody busted for PED use is a hypocrite since that is cheating 101. Jerry Rice illegally used stickum when he played, but I don’t see anyone calling him a cheater. The 1970s and 80s Raiders celebrate their tactics. In their locker room was a sign that read: “Raider Rule No. 1” cheating is encouraged. Raider Rule No. 2–See Rule No. 1 — Where is all the phony outrage with all these examples? Listen, if you want to play the stupid asterisk game than you can place one next to every team in every season that has ever played sports because someone always is trying to get an advantage.

My advice is simple. Stop the hate. Enjoy this masterpiece that Brady has painted. This is a country that strives for greatness. Well, Brady is the greatest quarterback we have ever seen and will ever see. Enjoy the ride while it lasts because nobody will ever come close to touching his resume.

Go ahead spread the word. Even if the Eagles rout the Patriots, Brady is the undisputed G.O.A.T. And the gap between No. 1 and No. 2 is as wide as the Grand Canyon.

Masse may be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @docmasse