Tom Brady wins another Super Bowl, I think that is number seven, but who is counting. TB 12 has been incredibly fortunate in his career with the pros to play for a fantastic organization, the Patriots. He has played for one of the best coaches in the history of pro football, with excellent talent and stable ownership.
Brady always invokes the image of … the Greatest Of All Time. To me the GOAT is a totally ridiculous conversation. There is no GOAT in anything at all. It is all relative to a time period. If Brady played (he is remarkable ) in the pro game in the 60s and the 70s, he would have been bent up like a hot German pretzel. Tom Brady would never have survived that time period. You can hardly touch a QB in the Pro Game today.
The physical punishment that Namath, Unitas, Montana, Fouts, Sipe, Bradshaw, Stabler and Williams took was incalculable. GOAT is something that the sports media aka talking heads promote. The concept is Don Quixote-esque. They are chasing windmills. There is not the Greatest of All Time in anything. It is only for a period of time.
Namath was the best QB in pro football from 1968 to 1972. Unitas was that from the 50s to the early 60s. Bobby Layne was the best QB in the early 50s. Brady has had incredible longevity in the QB period from 2002 to 2020, being the best for at least seven to ten years in that stretch. However, Brady does not possess the same skill set that Joe Montana had in the 80s. Montana won four Super Bowls and was a three-time MVP. He never lost one. Brady lost three.
Consider basketball. Is Michael Jordan the GOAT of all time? MJ had an incredible run in his time period, but go back and watch Wilt or Kareem during their careers. They were all GOATS. So was Larry Bird for five or six years. Yet today, no one in the history of the NBA has ever done with a basketball what Pete Maravich did. Was Pete a GOAT? I think so.
Moving to baseball, Ruth and Mantle were the GOATS during their time periods. And if you want to talk boxing, there have been many incredible fighters. But I might suggest that if you were looking for the boxing GOAT, look no further than the man that told you he was Ali.
Was Hemingway the all time greatest in literature ? How about Emily Dickinson in poetry or Johnny Carson on late night TV? They all were in their respective time periods.
Try to avoid the GOAT conversation. It leads nowhere but to the path of frustration and disappointment. Just enjoy the GREATNESS when you see it and leave it at that.
Tom Cole is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Taylor Automotive Family and teaches broadcasting at St. John’s Jesuit and Adrian College