Since the advent of professional sports, there has always been debate. Eventually these arguments begin to evolve into individual accomplishment. Who was better, Chamberlain or Russell, Sanders or Payton, Ruth, Aaron, or dare I say it, Bonds. Recently with the success of the New England Patriots, we now talk about their place in history--specifically Tom Brady. I suppose I should at this time insert that I am not a Pats fan. For the benefit of anyone interested, I should also say that I recorded the '00 game versus Oakland, and there is no question Brady fumbled the ball and "upon further review" the Pats were awarded their first Super Bowl.
This brings me to the point of the blog--Brady's place in history. He's now being compared with the greatest of all time. Montana, Elway, Favre, Marino, and Manning. New England has accomplished records that are not likely to be duplicated anytime in the forseeable future-- with Brady at the helm. BUT--I contend that the catalyst in this run has to be New England's offensive line. In all my years as a fan, I've never seen a quarterback with more time to throw. Brady has been the beneficiary of a system designed for his strengths, and has been remarkably successful. Given the same opportunity, I think any of the above would do as well. There are nearly 100 people involved in a championship run. Front office staff, offense, defense, coaching staff. The Patriots are where they are because they are a well run organization. It is totally unfair to bestow all the credit on the quarterback. Did he suddenly become great? He had 3500 yards and 24 touchdowns last year. He has 4800 yards and 50 touchdowns this year. I'd say your MVP was Randy Moss.
The media has also created a new wrinkle in the dialogue. The first comment about any star is always "he has 3 "rings," or "he didn't get a ring." This has little if anything to do with individual accomplishment. This is simply an indication of the people you were surrounded with. Joe Germaine has a ring and Dan Marino doesn't. Who would you want to go to battle with? Brady has done an excellent job with what he's been given. The difference is that Favre, Marino, et al, did it with a lot less.