There are many words that Bills fans would associate with Tom Brady, but the title pretty much speaks for itself. After Brady’s 6th AFC Title, there is much that is going to be discussed about how this win (and if he wins the Super Bowl) will catapult him into upper echelon of the greatest of all time. However, like Transformers, there is more here than meets the eye, as a closer look at the statistics will truly tell the story of the 199th pick from Michigan. So sit back, relax and be ready to tear down the man who wears UGG boots to the podium for post-game questions.
Win the Division – Anyone who is a student of the game knows that in order to make a playoff run, you have to secure your division first. This is something that Tom Brady has been able to do, much to the chagrin of the Buffalo faithful. Since Tom Brady has become a starter in the NFL, he has enjoyed a staggering 61-15 record against the AFC East. (Now, the record excludes the 2008 season when he was injured, the game this past year in Week 17 against the Bills, and one against the Dolphins against Gus Frerotte in 2005, because the Pats secured their playoff spot, and Brady only played the 1st half of those games, which the Pats lost). That is over a 13-year period. Running the numbers, that equates to a 5-1-division record over that span. Brady has had to play against 24 quarterbacks within the division that have a combined .445 winning percentage. Just awful.
That record is impressive, until you look at the caliber of quarterbacks that Brady has faced in the division. The players who were the signal callers for the Bills, Jets and Dolphins is not a ‘who’s who’ but rather a ‘who cares’ of NFL history. Taking a deeper look, one can see how it has been easy for Brady to rack up 61 wins.
Buffalo Bills – Brady has managed a 23-2 record against the Bills since 2001. In that time his team has played Kyle Orton, EJ Manuel, Thad Lewis, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trent Edwards, JP Losman, Kelly Holcomb, Drew Bledsoe and Alex Van Pelt. Yeah, great job, Tom. You’re a winner for being able to beat these clowns.
New York Jets – Tom Terrific has done well against the Jets, compiling a 20-6 record against them defeating powerhouse quarterbacks such as Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez, Chad Pennington, Brooks Bollinger, and Vinny Testaverde. I don’t see Canton knocking these guys doors down anytime soon and if I am not mistaken, Vinny was in a walker in 2003.
Miami Dolphins – With the likes of Ryan Tannehill, Chad Henne, Matt Moore, Tyler Thigpen, Cleo Lemon, Joey Harrington, Gus Ferrotte, Jay Fiedler and AJ Feeley, Bill Belichick must have felt like he was awarded another bye week playing against these jokers. Oh, by the way, Brady went 18-7 against them.
All in all, Tom Brady, playing 24 quarterbacks from 2001 until 2014, who spent an average of 8 years in the league, and playing for 3 teams. The average starts per season for all 24 quarterbacks was 7 games. Yeah, you beat some real winners here, Tom. Now, to truly appreciate the putrid players that Brady has defeated, you just have to look at the overall records for the quarterbacks involved. The collection of 10 Bills quarterbacks had an overall winning percentage of .463, and that is after you take away the games they played against Brady. The Jets had 5 starters combining for .472 and the Dolphins had 9 who had a staggering .446. And to even beat this point home, 19 of the 24 quarterbacks have losing records for their careers. Congrats Brady, you get a gold star for beating guys that everyone else did too.
Defeat Conference and Non-Conference Teams – Once one travels outside the division, there is other competition out there for the Patriots and Brady. In 2002 the NFL went to the current format where a team would play a game against a division in their own conference and one in the other conference. 15 of those divisions only sent one team to the playoffs (the division winner), and 16 of those divisions finished at the bottom half of the league for win-loss record. The teams for both conferences that the Patriots played hold a combined winning percentage of .511 or just over 8-8 if you are scoring at home. So, not only was the competition in the division easy sledding, but also the divisions in both conferences that Brady had to play were just above average…if you can call 8-8 average.
Against the Elite – Here is where the defense of Belichick starts to take shape. While the AFC Easy and the Divisions that Brady has had to play has been a cake walk, the playoff teams that he has played has been the true test of how average Brady really is. When the Patriots have a defense that ranks in the Top 5 of the league, the Patriots are 20-5 against playoff teams during regular season play. When the defense is 6 or lower, the Patriots are 19-15. Still a winning record, but like all teams, how the defense goes, is how the team will go, and this proves (if it didn’t already) how mediocre Tom Brady really is. BUT, I’ll give the devil his due, holding a 39-20 record against playoff bound teams is not too bad, but when you take into account that Brady has had the best defensive mind in league history as his head coach, its not that tough to get to the post-season.
Running the Numbers – Breaking down the statistics for wins, you get a rough estimate of a Division record of 5-1, a conference and non-conference record of 4-3, and against playoff bound teams 2-1. That’s 11-5 for the season. Not a very tough road to go through when you think about the competition, and all you really have to think about is sneaking out a game or two to lock up home field advantage.
Conference Championship Performance – This is what really chaps my ass about people when they want to anoint Brady as the Greatest of All Time. Brady has just played his 9th Conference Championship and holds a 6-3 record in those games. Impressive, UNTIL you look at the numbers involved in how he was able to win those games.
In 6 Wins – Run the ball and play solid defense. Sounds simple, right? Well, Bill Belichick has turned this philosophy into an art form, and as a result, we as NFL fans have to listen to these assholes spew garbage of how good Tom Brady is. Lets take a look, shall we? Patriots’ running backs, which include Antwain Smith, Corey Dillon, Kevin Faulk, Laurence Maroney, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and now Legarrette Blount have combined for 119 carries for 531 yards and 6 touchdowns. (I chose to leave out the 2001 team, because Brady was injured and had to have Drew Bledsoe come in and win the game for him.) That translates to 24 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown. Yeah, there are a lot of teams that lose when you have your running back put up those numbers.
When one looks at the performances of the opposing quarterbacks in those games, you get a true feel for who really was the deciding factor in the victory. Kordell Stewart, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Phillip Rivers, Joe Flacco and Andrew Luck have a combined stat line of 114-219 (52%) for 1361, 5 TDs and 15 INTs. But, it was all Tom Brady. Are you kidding me here?
So, you are telling me that I am going to have a running back that is going to have over 100 yards and a touchdown, and my opposing quarterback is going to go 19-37 for 227, 1 TD and 3 INTs? Do I even need to show up?
If you took the time to read this article, then you are either a fan of Tom Brady and you love to read the hate, or you dislike Brady and would like another reason to be pissed off. Either way, you can’t deny the numbers and the real reason why he is where he is. When Brady goes into the Hall of Fame, he better have Mo Lewis induct him because he is the real reason why he is where he is today. Tuck Rule, Spy Gate, a missed undefeated season, throwing tantrums on the sideline like a 4-year-old who just got their blanket taken away; that is the Brady I will always remember. Tom Brady was given the Super Bowl MVP in 2001 for going 16-27 for 145 yards and a touchdown, just because of one drive. Hell, if one ‘drive’ constitutes an entire performance, then Marcell Dareus and Jerry Hughes should be considered two-sport athletes, Football and Drag Racing and they should be cast as leads in Fast and Furious 8.
Enjoy your UGG Boots, Tommy. Numbers don’t lie.