(Nobody asked me but...)
We've been arguing this for the past few years, but after watching Tom Brady produce another National Football League highlight film by leading the Patriots to a 37-31 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game, there is no longer any doubt.
Brady is the greatest NFL quarterback of all time.
We can argue numbers here.
Brady will be playing in his 9th Super Bowl in Atlanta in two weeks against the Los Angeles Rams, which means that of all 53 Super Bowl games, Tom Brady will have been the starting QB in almost 18 percent of those games.
He has 5 Super Bowl rings. No QB has more.
The Patriots will be playing in their third consecutive Super Bowl, again with an assortment of running backs and wide receivers who all but hard core Patriot fans would be hard pressed to identify.
The constant has been Brady.
Those are some of the tangibles.
Let's get to the area where the arguments develop. Joe Montana never lost a Super Bowl with a 4-0 record and has provided the most solid argument against Brady as the GOAT.
Other QBs in the pre or early Super Bowl stage such as Roger Staubach, Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas Bart Starr and Otto Graham could make arguments about their domination and performance.
Against his peers such as Dan Marino, Brett Favre, John Elway and Peyton Manning, have had their moments.
Brady generally has better overall numbers. But he also has one other thing.
What makes Brady jump out of the pack--ahead of everyone--is not only performance, but durability.
Tom Brady is 41 YEARS OLD.
At 41, iconic figures such as Montana, Unitas, and Favre were all gone and each finished their careers in the shadows with other teams than the ones they had played starring roles.
Check a highlight film of Brady in Sunday's victory over the Chiefs, in which he brought the Patriots from behind twice in the final quarter of regulation play and then closed out the books on the Chiefs and star in waiting QB Patrick Mahomes (just as he did against Atlanta's Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl two years ago) by leading the Patriots to an TD in overtime, thus preventing the Chiefs from even getting the ball in overtime.
I remember watching Ryan's face after the coin toss in the overtime gave the Patriots the ball. Ryan knew it was over, knew he wouldn't even step on the field in the OT.
Mahomes, who may be the leader of his generation 10 years from now had the same look on Sunday after the coin toss gave the ball to Brady in the OT.
If you didn't have a time sequence on it, you would swear it was taken in 2001 when Brady was 24 and won his first Super Bowl (over the then St. Louis Rams).
Long time Patriot teammate Julian Edelman summed it up best when asked about Brady's fourth quarter and overtime efforts said, ""It's in his DNA. It'a a clutch gene,'' said Edelman, who had a few clutch moments against the Chiefs.""He's got it.''
Yes, he does and football fans everywhere should savor what they have seen and will see in two weeks.
There are no guarantees that the Patriots will win even with No. 12. They came up short a year ago and Brady was on the losing end of a pair of Super Bowl games against the Giants.
But Brady won't flame out.
I never saw Babe Ruth or Joe DiMaggio or Ty Cobb play baseball, but I did see Henry Aaron and Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. But I have seen Unitas, Montana, Staubach and Jimmy Brown. I have seen greats in basketball like Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor and Oscar Robertson. I have seen Bobby Orr and Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull and Wayne Gretzky in hockey.
And I have seen No. 12 Tom Brady, dating back to his days when he first appeared on the national radar by leading Michigan to an overtime win over Alabama in the Orange Bowl at the end of the 1999 season.
And while I won't compare athletes from different sports or different positions, in terms of an NFL QB, there has never been anyone as good as Tom Brady.
Watching No. 1 Duke squeeze past No 1 Virginia on Saturday convinced me there is very much a pecking order in college basketball and the Blue Devils and the Cavs are a cut above almost everyone else, although an ACC-SEC shootout would be interesting to watch in a tournament setting in March...Good news for Boston College with its first ACC win of the season against Florida State on Sunday, but don't read to much in to that. BC still is a long way from climbing out of the bottom tier of the ACC.