NFL

Tom Brady Is Far Down Terry Bradshaw’s List of Greatest Quarterbacks

Terry Bradshaw has gone and done it again. He’s wasted a perfectly good argument in bars over Tom Brady by stirring things up while many drinking establishments are closed for business.

Bradshaw’s argument concerns whether Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time, but the better debate might be whether Bradshaw has lost his mind. His list of retired NFL greats he rates ahead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ new centerpiece suggests at the least that he didn’t think things through.

Terry Bradshaw cannot be serious, can he?

Fox studio analyst Terry Bradshaw did a radio interview Thursday in which he was asked if Tom Brady is the greatest signal-caller of all time. Amazingly, he would only go so far as to suppose that Brady has been the best over the past three decades. This is what he said:

“I don’t think he’s the greatest quarterback of all-time. It’s hard to say. He may be the best quarterback we’ve had in the last 30 years. Is he better than (Roger)  Staubach? No. Is he better than Dan Fouts? No. Dan Marino? No. I’m talking talent-wise when you’re putting all of it together.”

Even taking into consideration that he was trying to strip Super Bowl success out of the equation because that should be treated as primarily a team achievement, it’s hard to defend Bradshaw’s position. However, he did arguably rally slightly when he later added Joe Montana to the list of guys he’d rate higher than Brady.

And then Bradshaw went back for more by putting Drew Brees a notch below Brady when the New Orleans Saints quarterback has a strong argument for being rated ahead of any of the retired stars Bradshaw named.

Is there a case to be made against Tom Brady?

Terry Bradshaw may have shown his cards later in the radio interview when he repeated previous remarks that he was perplexed by Tom Brady’s decision to leave the New England Patriots and worn out by the attention his free agency received.

But Brady’s decision to sign with Tampa Bay cannot possibly factor into a discussion of whether he is the greatest or best NFL quarterback – those words could conceivably mean different things – of all time.

What possible argument can be made against Brady? Ignoring the six Super Bowl titles on the basis of those being team achievements only goes so far when he was named MVP of four of those championship games.

Brady been the NFL regular-season MVP three times and is the only quarterback to reach 200 regular-season wins. His 74,571 career passing yards and 541 touchdown passes speak to his durability over 20 seasons and look even better in the context of discussions about how thin New England’s receiving corps was at times.

Trying to make a case for the other QB’s Bradshaw named

Tom Brady has spent his whole pro career in a league that has been made pass-happy by rules that hinder defenses in their coverage of receivers. So while it’s fair to argue that his 97.0 passer rating and other numbers are inflated stats, the names that Bradshaw threw out as being better – with the possible exception of Joe Montana – are indefensible.

The oft-used excuse for explaining why Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl was that the Miami Dolphins built their passing game at the expense of their ground game and defense. If so, his completion percentage (59.4) and ratio of 420 TDs (he never threw more than 30 touchdown passes after his fourth season) to 252 interceptions should have been better.

Staubach’s military service precluded him from having a long NFL career, though he did lead the league in passer rating four times in his eight full seasons. Go ahead and give him credit for his two Super Bowl rings, then explain your thoughts on Eli Manning and his two title-game wins vs. Tom Brady.

Dan Fouts’ head-to-head argument vs. Brady doesn’t hold up either. Fouts ran the San Diego Chargers’ Air Coryell offense that became the blueprint for the modern passing game, but he was also almost as likely to throw an interception as he was to hit Charlie Joiner, John Jefferson, or Kellen Winslow for a touchdown.