The debate over the greatest quarterback of all time is over. With 4 Super Bowl victories, 7 AFC Championships, 3 Super Bowl MVPs and 2 NFL MVPs, the discussion is hitting its actual end. And if Tom Brady claims his fifth Super Bowl on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, then nobody can claim that Brady isn't what he already is.
There isn't much to say about Tom Brady that hasn't already been discussed. The former sixth overall pick has put together one of the greatest, storybook careers of all time. He's already tied Montana on the MVP front in both the Super Bowl and regular season, but eclipsed the former Niners star's 8 Pro Bowl appearances with 12 of his own.
People will always want to detract from Brady's career because of his association with the Patriots, a team that people love to hate because they've been so damn good since the turn of the century. And that's entirely unfair. One of the elements that makes Brady so impossible to argue against is the fact that he's never ever had a losing season.
Now a lot of people want to attribute this to Bill Belichik, and there's no doubt that he deserves a hefty amount of the praise. But executing on the field is what eventually matters and Brady has done that ten-fold whenever it's been asked of him.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Brady is his adaptability. Give him a mercurial talent like Randy Moss and he goes 16-0 SU during that fateful 2007 season where they eventually lost to the Giants in a heart-breaker. Take away Rob Gronkowski and the team still goes 14-2 SU and 13-3 ATS while registering a top-5 offence.
To put things short, Brady is an architect that can take the heap of scraps, or the mountain of talent, he has around him and make something memorable every time. Let's keep in mind that he turned 39 at the beginning of the season, and will be 40 by the time the 2017 campaign begins.
To detract from Brady by crediting Belichik is a false argument because you can't make the claim that any other quarterback could've produced this well for this long in the same scenario. Matt Cassel did well, and Jimmy Garoppolo looks sensational too, but there has simply never been a guy like Tom Brady. There likely never will be again.
It's easy to get caught up in the intensity of the hyperbole - to make fun of the fact that his wife makes more money (which is nothing to be ashamed of in the first place) but also forget that he's married to the most successful supermodel of all time. To over-emphasize two Super Bowl losses despite the fact that he's made it to the big game seven freaking times. To downplay his rags to riches story because you hate his hair cut. Stuff like that. Stop being preposterous.
Instead marvel at what this guy has become. There have been remarkable breakout stories along the same lines, such as Kurt Warner's insane first year as a starter in 1999. Brett Favre's entire, jovial, roller coaster career also comes to mind. There's also the guys from years past like Roger Staubach and Joe Namath. They all had brilliant careers.
Nobody performed day in and day out despite his supporting cast for this long like Tom Brady. He has endured constantly, while being the primary reason for his team's success.
You don't have to love him, or shower him with the adoration you think he's entitled to. It is time that you respected him as the greatest of all time. It's so much easier to throw back to a superstar from the past like Montana and say that his legend is untouchable. The much more difficult thing to do is attempt to process the comparison in actuality.
Brady will have a chance at immortality on Sunday once more at Super Bowl LI. Should he reach for that Holy Grail ahead of Matt Ryan and the Falcons, anyone who has yet to acknowledge Brady as the best ever will finally have to do.
Even though those haters should have already done so by now.