Tom Brady tells number-crunchers to stick stats where the sun don’t shine
One would reasonably expect that a person as tremendously successful with a pedigree of excellence such as Tom Brady would have a little thicker skin, but the New England Patriots seems to be genuinely perturbed and somewhat chagrined over his name dropping out of a random “Top 5 NFL Quarterbacks” list.
Originally posted by Pro Football Focus and later attracting a lot of attention analysis on ESPN.com and subsequent debate by the talking heads at The Worldwide Leader in Sports (and Bloviating), the statistics-laden analysis arrived at the conclusion that Brady no longer remains a top-5 NFL QB.
According to the article, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees stayed in the top 5, but Brady was passed over as Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger filled out the remaining two spots.
Brady’s omission sparked intense debate on Boston radio and the like, as well as nationally, especially on ESPN. The question: Given the success he has enjoyed — and continues to enjoy — does it make sense for someone like Philip Rivers to leapfrog him? Another question arguably could be, “Why should we — or Brady — even care?” But that’s a discussion for another time perhaps.
In any event, Tommy Boy is mad as hell and he isn’t going to take it anymore from these stat nerds. Actually, he seems more irked than pissed, arguing that wins are more important than any number of personal stats.
Speaking at a community event at Gillette Stadium on Monday, Brady bristled at the speculation that he doesn’t have what it takes to be one of the preeminent quarterbacks in the NFL, arguing that the final score is the only true measurement of success.
“I think that people watch the games on TV because there is a scoreboard. I think that’s what it is all about,” Brady said, according to ESPNBoston.com. “If there was no scoreboard, then people wouldn’t tune in and watch. There’s only one stat that matters, and that’s because the competition in the NFL is very high, extremely high on a daily basis.
“You can’t sit here and compare one year to another year or compare this player to that player. I think winning games is the most important thing, certainly for this organization. When you come here, you learn that pretty quickly. Whatever matters to you as an individual, it’s far distant to what the team goals are. And the team goals are one thing — to score more points than the other team.”
Brady is absolutely correct in his assertion that when it comes down to it, it does not matter what personal stats are generated during a particular game, or even in a season. So long as a team has more points than its opponent when the clock winds down to zero at the end of a game — particularly in the playoffs, obviously — that’s all that really matters.
But taking a look at Brady’s statistical output does paint a picture that lends itself to his diminishing skills, no matter how much he attempts to downplay it. Granted, he did lead the Patriots to the AFC Championship Game, but his 25-touchdown, 11-interception regular season where he completed 60.5 percent of his passes led to a 87.3 quarterback rating, his lowest since 2003.
Most teams would be more than happy to take those numbers from their starting quarterback and a run to the AFC title game, not to mention the legacy of excellence Brady has built during his tenure as the Patriots’ unquestioned on-field leader as he led to the team to three Super Bowl victories.
As far as Brady, who turns 37 in August, is concerned, he plans to keep on keeping on, no matter what the naysayers say.
“Hopefully I’m answering those questions a long time from now too, and you guys can just reprint the stories or whatever you want to write now,” he said. “I want to do this for this team for as long as I possibly can. I love playing football for this team and for this organization. My goal is to continue to play at a high level, and there is nothing that really gets in the way of that.”
Now that’s the kind of self-confidence and faith in one’s own abilities that should inspire his Patriots teammates. So how about a high-five for old Tommy Boy?