Brady can add to 'GOAT' legend tonight

Anyone that knows me or has read any of my columns or comments in the Times’ weekly Sports Roundtable knows that I’m an unabashed Fighting Irish football fan.

I love my Baltimore teams, Orioles and Ravens (and hopefully the soon-to-be-named professional soccer team), but for as far back in to my childhood as I could remember I have been fan of Notre Dame football. I watch their other sports but am not necessarily a fan of other Irish sports, but the football team has always been a passion of mine.


I can trace my love for the Irish back to the 1973 Sugar Bowl when Ara Parseghian-led Notre Dame capped off their 11-0 season and No. 1 ranking in the AP poll with their 24-23 victory of Bear Bryant’s Crimson Tide on New Year’s Eve. I had a bet with my oldest brother, a junior at West Point at the time, for a month’s worth of movie tickets if my Irish won against a crew cut had ‘Bama gotten it done.

That game and the performance of quarterback Tom Clements made me an Irish fan for life.

I’ve lived through the highs of the Parseghian, Devine, and Holtz eras as well as the lows of the Charlie Weis, Gerry Faust, and Bob Davies, and even the five-day reign of George O’Leary.

I’ve seen incredible plays by the likes of Rocket Ismail, Jerome Bettis, and Tim Brown, and cheered for every single quarterback from Jimmy Clausen to Joe Montana.

When discussion this week leading up to Super Bowl LII inevitably turns to who was the greatest quarterback of all time, it’s important that you recognize the best of their eras before you can think about who might be the GOAT.

As a “Baltimoron” and a passionate Baltimore Colts fan growing up, it would be an insult to not throw the Golden Arm of Johnny Unitas in to the discussion. But his time came mostly before the Super Bowl era so the spread of coverage of his heroics was limited.

The early Super Bowls included the precision of Bart Starr, the drama of Broadway Joe Namath, and the domination of the Bob Griese-led Dolphins. The Cowboys had a couple runs with Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman at the helm. The Redskins, Giants, and Packers (for a second time) also had their share of hoisting the Pete Rozelle Trophy.

The Ravens hold the record for the only team with multiple appearances in the Super Bowl with an undefeated record.

Peyton Manning lead the Colts and the Broncos to the Promised Land before riding off in to retirement having made a serious case for the GOAT title. His brother not only delivered two Super Bowl titles to the New York Football Giants, but he did it by beating who many consider the best in Tom Brady, TWICE, making his own case.

Terry Bradshaw and his Pittsburgh Steelers made the first case for the GOAT title with the first two 300-yard passing games in Super Bowl history and a 4-0 record in their appearances. Bradshaw averaged 19 yards per pass in his Super Bowl appearances, nearly 7 yards higher than the Super Bowl average and completed passes over more than 20 yards at more than twice the rate of other quarterbacks.

After delivering a national championship title to Notre Dame, it was hard not to follow Joe Montana and what a fun ride it was. Montana set the bar so high for the GOAT that others only pale in comparison. Even compared to Bradshaw and Brady, Montana completed more passes, averaged more yards, and ran more effectively. He also threw 122 passes without throwing an interception. He also did it with flair becoming the first player to run and throw a touchdown in the final, set the record for most rushing yards by a quarterback while throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions, set the record for most passing yards in a game and then was first quarterback to throw five touchdowns in a Super Bowl.

Each of those feats happened in a different Super Bowl appearance.

As much as it pains me to write this and it’s even harder for me to believe that I’m thinking this, but after last year’s performance, bringing his team back from a 28-3 deficit to win the game 34-28 against the Atlanta Falcons, Tom Brady has just flat out proven himself to be not only the best quarterback in Super Bowl history but the Greatest of All Time.

His six prior games were decided by four points or less with four final quarter game winning drives including a 10-point deficit against the No. 1 Seahawks defense.


The greatest champion of all time, Muhammad Ali once said, “I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was.”

Like the Champ, Brady just goes out and shows it time and time again.