At 43, Tom Brady is headed to his 10th Super Bowl. He becomes the second quarterback to take a second team to the title game(Peyton Manning). He is the first to win both conferences and get to the Super Bowl. He has won 33 playoff games. That's more than double any other quarterback.
He will be trying to win his 7th Super Bowl. Tom Brady is the greatest player in a team sport. Period.
After two decades of building the greatest NFL dynasty in New England, he took his game to Tampa and posted one of his best statistical seasons of his career. Then he beat Drew Brees and Saints before beating Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Now he gets to face Kansas City Chiefs.
I wrote two weeks ago that the last act of greatness of Brady would be a playoff run beating the biggest names to play his position in the game whose last name is not Brady. And now here he is.
A seventh title would only add to a career that will never be matched. Players just won't play as long as Brady. They don't need to and their body probably won't let them.
But no one compares to Brady's run when it comes to team sports over the last quarter century.
MJ? Nope. Jordan won his six titles and posted two three peats. But by 34 Jordan retired a second time.And when he came back at 38 to play for the Wizards, he still averaged 23 and 20 a game but he wasn't at the top of his game and he didn't lead the Wizards to championships. By the time MJ was 43, he was focused on his golf game and lighting up his favorite cigars.
LeBron? No. James is in his 18th season and still is arguably the best player in the game at age 36. He has won four championships and may have a few more in him. Brady is in his 21st season in the NFL. James may equal Brady in titles when it's all said and done but that means he is playing at 40. Possible. Both Brady and James excell at making those around him better. But Brady impacts more players, even those on defense. His leadership this season in Tampa went far beyond the offense.
Bill Russell? Ok, hang on. This one goes to Russell, which is why I said Brady has no equal in team sports over the last 25 years. Russell won 11 titles in 13 seasons and two of those came with him as a player-coach in 1968 and 1969. NO ONE COMPARES TO BILL RUSSELL.
But Brady is doing this in an era where players don't play this long and unlike Peyton Manning, who was carried by that Denver Broncos' defense, Brady is the reason the Bucs offense has been so good.
If Brady wins his 7th Super Bowl in two weeks, I don't know what else there is left for him. He is signed for 2021 but can there be any better way to end this run? No. But Brady loves to compete and he seems to have found happiness in Tampa. But for now, let's marvel at something we will never see again...
Notes: UCF's search for a new athletic director is underway. For now, Scott Carr serves as an interim. Carr is qualified and will be a candidate for the spot vacated by Danny White. Meanwhile, White met with Tennessee's football leadership committee as he begins his search for a new football coach. Don't be surprised is White's hiring now is more a bridge to the post-NCAA violation years. He knows the Vols are facing serious sanctions and his pool of candidates now may not be as strong because of the cloud the investigation will bring. Would White turn to Duke's David Cutcliffe as that bridge. Cutcliffe, one time Tennessee coordinator, is connected to Peyton Manning and the hiring might satisfy some in the fan base. Others will only accept Nick Saban, Bill Belichick or Andy Reid as reasonable hires. Cutcliffe could coach 2-3 seasons before retiring and then White could make his big hire. But the other school of thought is White already knows his next coaching star and now needs to close the deal...Get in price to the Super Bowl Sunday night was over $11,000. Or about 1/3 of a BitCoin.
Final thought: The United States eats 350 slices of pizza a second.
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