Older AFCE


Older AFCE

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Tom Brady is NOT the greatest of all time… he’s a 1st ballot HOFer and in the discussion, but in this seal clubber’s humble opinion there have been better qbs to play the position. Much like Joe Montana (also not at the top of my list), Tom is very cerebral, an exceptional competitor, blessed with enough skill to excel beyond belief under the tutelage of generational coaches and their systems (or lack of in the case of the Pats… more on that later). I know the immediate response to this is “well, they’re winners and that’s what makes them the greatest”. To that, I say this: this isn’t tennis or golf. In fact, it’s the quintessential team sport. On every play nearly all 11 players need to do their job on both sides of the ball to achieve success. Of course, the qb has the ball in his hands on every play so it could be argued he is the most important BUT every qb needs tremendous support to achieve both personal and team success.
Which takes me back to the Montana-Brady analogy. I was a young lad in my football viewing prime when the 9ers unleashed the West Coast offense in its polished form… RBs and FBs catching the ball regularly… WHAT!?… Short, slant routes designed for high percentage throws and YAC… what’s with that?… a mobile OL trained to end careers at the knee (finally pay back to other side of the ball for the old steel curtain days eh?). Oh ya, forgot about Rice, Taylor, Craig, Clark, Rathman (tell me when to stop)… throw in an athletic D that played well with the lead and you have a dynasty… AND HERE’S THE KICKER… a dynasty that transcended the qb position… it transitioned quite seamlessly to another HOF qb named Steve Young – you know the lefty scrub from the bucs who ran around too much… ya him – led by other WC disciples. Maybe the most impressive team/franchise I’ve seen in sport b/c it was so revolutionary, but also because it was about the system > the players and their tenured success was a testament to that.
On to the Pats… whether they win the SB or not this year I believe we’re watching the greatest sustained success by a franchise in sports history (puts gun to head… again). What separates them from the niners (and offers me some solace) is their success is less about a fixed system and more about a diabolical, mastermind with daddy/fail issues via a crap hole named Cleveland that will simply do whatever it takes to win… new game plan every week… neutralize their strength, exploit their weakness… when in doubt, bust out the cameras… whatever it takes. Back to the solace part. There’s nothing to hand down here. His “disciples” have mostly failed as HCs… this is about BB… when he goes, “IT” goes. As for Tom, I secretly (not so much now) respect the heck out of him. He was/is a shockingly poor athlete passed over in the draft several times, including by his beloved Patriots, with a big brain/head, ok arm and fire to win/compete BUT he isn’t the best to play the position. He learned to ride a great D… then he learned to close his eyes and throw it far to Daunte Culpepper, I mean Randy Moss… then he learned to throw 2 yard passes to midgets (and occasionally to a freak of nature TE) who, off rubs and picks, gain 5+ yards every time. Brilliant, but not really impressive… to me at least. Here’s another thing: as a fan of the CFL, BB has figured out the reality of the NFL… you have 4 downs to get 10 yards… that’s 2.5 yards/play. Ok, so you punt on 4th down, you need 3.3, or 3ish and perfect the qb sneak for inches. He makes the other team tackle well and aside from a few exceptions (SB Giant teams, Ravens, Current Broncos, Pats) most have forgotten how to do that (good body-checkers though eh). Above all else, we’ve watched Matt Cassel win 11 under BB… we watched Jimmy G start his HOF career (if he stays with pats, if not, someone will over pay for him and he’ll be flipping burgs in 2-5 years)… and we watched what’s his head “lead” the team to a 27-0 win over the 2-0 division favourites from the South (by the way, I feel much better about the fins after that game).
So I guess the zero people who have read this far want to know who I have at the top of my list… well, it’s Peyton Manning. He won so many games and even a SB with a 1-15 minus him… early on, he lined up in basically the same formation on every play and just beat you.. sure, he lost in the playoffs… sometimes b/c of “him” mostly b/c of D, kickers, etc… same people who won for Tom. Above all else, I just loved watching him play the position. THAT SAID, his final year also proved just about every point I made above about it not really being about the qb only.
Several others are on my list (including Brady and Montana – 4/5thish)… Marino is likely the root of all this “logic” as I actually believe he was the best to play the position BUT the false legend that was Shula consistently surrounded him with dog poo to the tune of zero SBs so I’m “not allowed” to have him at the top. I also liked Elway… kinda like Marino, but management finally gave him a coach and a RB… you know, other stuff you need to win it all. Finally, I think Aaron Rodgers could be the best but GB is Marino’ing him and forgetting even he needs some help.
And now for Ryan Tannehill… just kidding.

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