Tom Brady’s legacy is a fluid situation.
Don’t think that Brady has forgotten that on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 – a day after a 26-16 loss to Denver in the AFC Championship Game – the old argument that stated Peyton Manning was a better quarterback was alive and well.
No one gave a damn that Brady was throwing to the likes of Austin Collie and Matthew Mulligan instead of Rob Gronkowski in that loss. In the aftermath of that game, all the chatter was focused on how Brady and Manning were tied, 2-2, in head-to-head meetings in the playoffs and how Manning was headed to the Super Bowl in New York/New Jersey. All the chatter was focused on how Manning threw for 400 yards, two touchdowns and had a sparkling 118.4 passer rating in the game while Brady threw for just 277 yards, one touchdown and had a rating of 93.9 … meh.
Add in the fact that Brady had a poor outing in the divisional round win over the Colts the previous weekend (13-of-25 for just 198 yards, zero touchdowns and a QB rating of just 78.4) and there was a train of thought that Brady may have lost his “clutch gene.”
Brady won’t be able to break his 2-2 playoff tie with Manning this year (or possibly ever considering No. 18 is iffy to return), but that stat is more or less meaningless right now anyway. Right now, ask just about anyone outside of Denver or Indy as to who the better quarterback is all-time and Brady will garner 90 percent of the vote. We live in a “what have you done for me lately” sports world, after all.
With Manning out of the way, Brady is back to trying to live up to his own early-career postseason success (Brady began his NFL career an unreal 10-0 in the playoffs) and he’s back to chasing the likes of Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw, both of whom have four Super Bowl rings.
Winning this Sunday’s game over Andrew Luck and the Colts won’t do much in terms of changing Brady’s legacy, even if he throws for 400 yards and posts four touchdowns. Come Monday, off a Patriots win, critics will point to the fact that unlike Montana and Bradshaw, Brady isn’t perfect in the Super Bowl as he has a mediocre 3-2 record. Critics will point to the fact that Brady and the Patriots haven’t won the “big one” in 10 years.
So the talk about Brady’s potential status as the “greatest of all-time” will need to be put on hold until early February. In terms of legacy, only the negative can occur this weekend for No. 12. A loss to the up-and-coming Colts, and the chatter won’t be about Brady’s chase of Bradshaw and Montana. It will be right back to discussions about him holding off Jimmy Garoppolo.
Brady’s football legacy? It’s a day-to-day type of deal.