I’ve always had a hard time accepting Tom Brady’s greatness.
But then I also question the greatness of Jerry Rice.
Believe me, I know that both are great players, but I always question the mob mentality that is created in the media when they decide to declare this player or that player the greatest of all time.
Jerry Rice might be the greatest of all time, but not because of his numbers.
There are lots of other factors involved. Including the offense he played in and the rules that were — or weren’t– in place during his era.
I don’t think Tom Brady is the best quarterback of all time. In fact, I don’t think he’s close and I don’t care how many Super Bowls he’s won.
I do think he’s the greatest dink and dunk passer of all time and I give Bill Belichick most of the credit for that.
Belichick tied Chuck Noll last night with his fourth Super Bowl win.
And in a strange and roundabout way, Belichick can thank Noll for helping him tie his record.
Noll put together the best team in NFL history by exploiting the rules that were in place in the ’70s.
Bump and run.
Offensive lineman couldn’t use their hands.
He put together defenses that were so good that the league had to pass rules to overcome them.
And he built his offense around the running game because he saw the futility of trying to win with the pass against the defensive rules that were in place.
The end of the bump and run gave birth to the West Coast offense. Bill Walsh, when he was offensive coordinator at Cincinnati, was smart enough to realize that, if defenders couldn’t touch receivers more than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage, he was going to make a living throwing seven and eight yard slants.
Hello Joe Montana. Have you met Jerry Rice?
Belichick flamed out in Cleveland when he was a defense first kind of guy.
BY the time he got to New England, after a few years as a defensive coordinator, he had had learned what offenses did to drive him crazy.
Over the past few seasons rule changes and enhanced enforcement have made it almost impossible for defenses to stop the short passing game.
The New England Patriots are the greatest dink and dunk team of all time and Tom Brady is the greatest dink and dunk quarterback of all time.
That’s not to say that Brady can’t make all the throws. Of course he can. Anybody who has seen him play knows that.
The point is that he is rarely asked to make the tough throw.
In his first five Super Bowls, Brady had attempted 21 passes longer than 20 yards.
He completed one of them.
In the win over the Seahawks, I counted 10 passes that went 10 or more yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
The first one was intercepted.
He also made an absolutely perfect “long” pass to Gronk for the Patriots second touchdown.
Of the first 8 passes beyond 10 yards, two were intercepted, one went for a touchdown and the rest were incomplete.
When Seattle punted the ball away with four minutes to go and a three point lead, I knew that the game was at least going to overtime.
The Patriots offense -because of the design – is almost impossible to stop when the opposing defense can’t afford to give up the big play.
The Seahawks had to force the Patriots to take a lot of plays and had to concede the short stuff.
And Belichick was more than happy to dink and dunk his way to the end zone.
Tom Brady did his job. But his job is so much easier than so many quarterbacks who came before him.
And the credit for that goes to Bill Belichick.
And maybe Chuck Noll.