Brady the best of all eras

redit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
(Tom Brady photos courtesy of the New England Patriots)

Talk of Fame Network

That four-game suspension in the opening month of the 2016 season for his role in Deflategate did not diminish the stature of Tom Brady in the eyes of ears and eyes of the listeners and readers of the Talk of Fame Network.

In last week’s poll, we asked our followers to vote on the greatest quarterback of all-time, and the slate of was packed with greatness – all-decade selections from the 1940s (Sammy Baugh), 1950s (Otto Graham), 1960s (Johnny Unitas), 1980s (Joe Montana) and the 2000s (Brady and Peyton Manning).

But it was no contest, with Brady, the winningest quarterback in NFL history, running away with the honor. He received 46 percent of the vote, with Montana a distant second at 35 percent. Surprisingly, Baugh, Unitas, Manning and Graham all finished with minimal support in the single digits.

Talk of Fame Network hosts Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge all cast their ballots for Unitas.

Brady’s 181 career victories are an NFL record, and his winning percentage of (181-52) of 77.7 ranks second-best of all-time behind Graham. He has taken New England to six Super Bowls, winning four of them. He has also taken the Patriots to the playoffs in 14 of his 16 seasons as a starter and engineered the NFL’s only 16-0 regular season in 2007. Brady is an 11-time Pro Bowler, a three-time Super Bowl MVP, a two-time NFL MVP and a two-time NFL passing champion. He threw for personal bests of 50 touchdown passes in 2007 and 5,235 yards in 2011.

Montana was an eight-time Pro Bowler, a four-time Super Bowl champion, a three-time Super Bowl MVP, a two-time NFL MVP and a two-time NFL passing champion. He was named to the NFL’s 75th anniversary team, and his jersey number 16 has been retired by the San Francisco 49ers. He also won a national college championship as a quarterback at Notre Dame.


(Montana photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers)

Unitas also was a member of the NFL’s 75th anniversary team. He was a 10-time Pro Bowler, a four-time NFL MVP and a three-time NFL champion. He called his own plays, invented the two-minute drill and put the NFL on the map with his performance in the 1958 NFL title game, an overtime victory over the New York Giants, that was dubbed “the greatest game ever played.” He threw a career-best 32 touchdowns in a 12-game 1959 season and a career-best 3,481 yards in a 14-game 1963 season.

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  1. Eugene Dunn
    December 28, 2016

    After Peyton limped over the finish line last season to become a multiple Super Bowl winner, I’ve been reluctant to give Brady the title of “GOAT,” but after his performance this year, my resistance is waning. I think Brady will win the league MVP despite missing four games and will win his fifth SB title. And even if he falls a little short, he still gets the title of “GOAT”.

  2. Sports Fan
    December 28, 2016

    1940s Sammy Baugh
    1950s Otto Graham
    1960s Johnny Unitas
    1980s Joe Montana
    2000s Brady / Peyton Manning

    “Talk of Fame Network hosts Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge all cast their ballots for Unitas.”

    Each of your thoughts on how each name listed would have faired in each one’s Era?

    Is this correct:
    Brady/Manning played under more advantageous, QB/Team Rules compared to the Rules the others listed here played under?

    Baugh Graham Unitas Montana stat line would even be greater if played under today’s Rules?

    Brady Manning stat line would even be lesser then it is presently if played under the other Era’s Rules?

    Which of these Era’s was most difficult for a QB to play under?

    each of your thoughs?

  3. Justin
    December 31, 2016

    Brady is not the greatest quarterback of all time. He wasn’t even the greatest quarterback of his generation. You can’t point to his numbers, which are not as good as Manning (or Brees for that matter). Instead, you are forced to look to his “wins” and “Super Bowls.” But look at New England’s record without him: 11-5 in 2008 and 3-1 this year. How much does Brady really contribute to New England’s success compared to Belichick. In the end, Brady is a great, great QB. But he isn’t the GOAT, and he probably isn’t in the top 5. For me, Baugh, Graham, Unitas, Montana, Elway, and Manning (in any order) are all clearly better QBs than Brady.

    • January 2, 2017

      Brady: 11-6 vs. Manning. Brady: six Super Bowl appearannces, four wins. Brady: 22-7 in playoffs, Manning 14-13. Brady: Best winnning percentage outside of Graham and most wins ever. Only time Pats missed playoffs while he was starter at end of season was 2002 … and they tied for first in division. Done more with less than anyone in his … and maybe anyones … generation. I start conversation with Unitas, but Brady, Graham and Montana right there … in any order … Guy just threw 28 TDs and 2 INTs at 39. Extraordinary player. Best of generation and one of best ever.

  4. Justin
    January 3, 2017


    The best predictor of the winner of a Brady v. Manning matchup is who had the better defense. I don’t have the numbers handy, but it correlates to something in excess of 90%. Therefore, it isn’t that Brady is better than Manning (or vice versa), but that Brady played on teams with routinely better defenses.

    The real deciding factor for me is that Brady played his entire career with one of the two greatest coaches of all time and has never truly had to carry a team to a Super Bowl. For example, it isn’t like Brady brought the offensively challenged 80s Broncos to 3 Super Bowls like Elway did. Look we know what happened to the Colts when Manning missed a year, they earned the first pick in the draft. What happened with the Patriots? They went 11-5 with Matt Cassell at QB. Brady IS an extraordinary player. He IS one of the best ever. But for me, he IS NOT the best of his generation or the GOAT.

    • January 3, 2017

      Bradys coach has a losing record (51-62, including 15-18 at NE) without Brady. His record with him is off the charts. Plus, tell me how many HOF teammates Brady won Super Bowls with. I will spare you the trouble: Zilch. So one guy appears in more Super Bowls than any QB, wins as many as Montana and Bradshaw, wins more games than any QB in NFL history and has the second-highest winning percentage to Otto Graham … and youre telling me hes not the best of his generation? Sorry, but strongly — as in STRONGLY — disagree.

  5. Justin
    January 3, 2017

    Clark: Brady v. Manning is going to be a classic debate that will never be settled to everyone’s satisfaction. I’m clearly a Manning guy, and the clincher for me was the year Manning sat out and his first year in Denver. Without Manning, Indianapolis fell to the 2-14. And then when Manning came back in Denver he had the best year any QB has ever had with a completely different team and John Fox as coach. Advantage Manning. Besides if wins was all it took to be the “best of his generation,” then Elway would be the best QB of his generation. He had more wins than Montana (and every other QB until Favre) with far less talent. While I personally believe Elway deserve this designation, I know you favor Montana. Finally, while Brady has not yet played with any HOFers, this will undoubtedly change. First, his coach will be a first ballot lock. Then it is highly likely that Law, Vinatieri, and Moss will make it eventually. Seymour also has a very good chance. Finally, while I’m not sure Gronk has earned the Sayers injury-exception yet, the discussion will at least be had even if Gronk never plays again, which I hope for all of us football fans does not come to pass. In today’s game, that is a pretty strong HOF haul.

    Also, not clear how you calculated Belichick as only 15-18 in New England without Brady. He was 5-11 the first year, 0-2 the second (and Brady played a little of the second game), 11-5 in 2008 (Brady went out in the first half of the first game), and 3-1 this year. Therefore, Belichick is 19-19 without Brady, but 14-6 since Brady become the starter. This is not a ringing endorsement of Brady’s indispensableness.

    Again, we are splitting hairs to a point, but I’ll continue to stick with Baugh, Graham, Unitas, Montana, Elway, and Manning as ahead of Brady. Also would love to see what guys like Starr, Tarkenton, Staubach (with a full career), and Marino would do with today’s passing rules. Any of them, not to mention the previous non-Manning six could have been the GOAT with a little more luck in when they played and for whom.

    • January 4, 2017

      Youre right about this year. Forgot that. But he wasnt 11-5 in 2008. He was 10-5. Brady started first game vs. kc and they won it. They also did not go to playoffs. Have missed the playoffs only once since 2001 when Brady finished the season … and that was 2002 when they tied for first and lost tiebreaker. The guy is the best Ive seen since Montana … and he doesnt have nearly the cast around him that Joe did. Does more with less than anyone ever seen. Great, great QB.

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