Mike Francesca: Tom Brady Wasn’t the Greatest Regular Season or Super Bowl QB

Tom Brady
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Tom Brady led his teams to an astounding seven Super Bowl wins out of a whopping ten appearances in the big game, more than any other player in history. Still, now that he is retiring, legendary sports talker Mike Francesca isn’t convinced that Brady was the best when it mattered most.

Brady announced his retirement… again… this time for sure (?)… on Wednesday.

Appearing on ESPN’s First Take, Francesca claimed that Brady had the longest career and most Super Bowl wins but added that he felt Peyton Manning was the better regular season QB and Montana the better Super Bowl quarterback.

Francesca has to ignore a lot to keep knocking Tom Brady down the ladder.

The next closest players to Brady’s total of seven Super Bowl wins, and ten appearances are Brady’s pal Stephen Gostkowski and Bills and Broncs player Mike Lodish, both of whom appeared in six. And then there is a long list with five.

At 45, Brady has played longer than any other player, with 23 seasons under his belt. An amazing 20 of those with the same team (the Patriots).

He was also the NFL’s MVP three times.

Brady’s skill also never waned very far from his top playing years. Even at the end, he was still one of the league’s best QBs despite that last less-than-stellar season.

Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yells as he runs on the field prior to the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond...

Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yells as he runs on the field prior to the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium on January 16, 2023, in Tampa, Florida. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Still, Francesca might have a point when he noted that Brady’s rating in his Super Bowl appearances was 97.9 while Joe Montana’s was 127.8. Not to mention that Montana has a perfect four wins out of four Super Bowl appearances, while Brady has a 7-3 record.

But here’s the thing: All of Montana’s Super Bowl appearances occurred in the pre-salary cap era. Why does that matter? With the advent of the salary cap in 1994, the NFL attempted to force the entire league to a level playing field.

Did it work? No! For reasons that will take longer to explain than there is space to write. But the point, and arguably the greatest argument for Brady being the greatest of all time, is that he went on this amazing run of Super Bowl success at the exact time in history when the NFL was trying to do away with dynasties and force everyone to be the same.

Also, Brady went on this incredible run without winning a Super Bowl with a wide receiver who will end up in the Hall of Fame. Joe Montana had Jerry Rice, the greatest receiver ever, for the lion’s share of his career. Tom Brady had a receiver of that caliber for one season: Randy Moss in 2007. The only other receiver who comes close to that level is Antonio Brown, who won one Super Bowl with Brady in 2020.

Yes, he had Gronk. But of course, Brady had already won three Super Bowls by the time Gronowski got to New England. The fact that Brady launched the greatest dynasty in the history of the NFL at the exact time that the league was trying to stop dynasties, and he did it without a star-studded receiving corps – unlike what Manning and Montana had – is enough to overcome any statistical prowess Manning may have enjoyed in the regular season or that Montana may have had in the Super Bowl.

As Tom Bradys (finally, maybe) steps off the field for the last time, it is also important to note that the sports commentariat never liked him because the left perceived him as a Trump-supporter, a MAGA Hat-wearer, and a conservative and that they could not abide.

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