Before we get to Tom Brady's quote, let me provide some set-up and context...
After day one of the 2011 NFL Draft, I was assigned to go to some fan appreciation event sponsored by Under Armour which featured Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The event provided fans the opportunity to ask Brady questions. The session was moderated by CBS analyst and former NFL quarterback Norman Julius 'Boomer' Esiason. After this fan Q & A, media were allowed to huddle near Tawmmy and ask him questions that didn't involve a moderator. Brady was kind enough to answer two of my questions. I wrote an article about this event the day it happened.
Again, while I hate the Patriots, it is hard not to like Tom Brady.
Now, prior to Brady coming out and talking to fans, Esiason was sent out to, essentially, placate them until Brady arrived. During this period, Esiason made clear his opinions on Brady and his legacy. He stated clearly, and without prompting, that Tom Brady was THE best quarterback in NFL history.
Better than Montana.
Better than Unitas.
Better than Peyton Manning.
In fact, after he stated Brady was better than Manning, Esiason clarified it by saying the reason Brady was better was because 'he'd won more Super Bowls.' This is the old 'quarterback wins' argument that drives people like me and Doug Farrar insane.
TV and radio analyst Randy Cross used the 'QB wins argument' when I spoke with him about Peyton's legacy during the lead-up to Super Bowl XLIV. I asked him if Peyton would be considered 'the best' if the Colts beat the Saints. Cross responded (and this is a direct quote) by saying, 'He'd be the best that's ever won two.' Cross, who was an offensive lineman with the 49ers in the 1980s, actually smiled at me when he said this. I then countered, 'Oh, so Terry Bradshaw is as good as Joe Montana then, right?'
Cross didn't answer. He just stared at me and grinned. True story.
Now, what this all has to do with a recent quote from Tom Brady is that anyone saying that 'Brady is better,' or saying that 'Joe Montana is better' or 'So-and-so is better because he has more rings' is not someone Brady himself agrees with. Because when asked who the great QB of all time was, Brady recently stated one man's name: Peyton Manning.
When on the phone with NFL Network host Lindsay Soto during the 'Top 100 Reaction Show,' which was a show discussing the NFL Network's list of the Top 100 players in the NFL, Tom Brady was asked about Peyton Manning's No. 2 ranking on the list. Brady, himself ranked No. 1, answered Soto's question:
To me, he's the greatest of all-time.What he's accomplished and the way that he studies, the way he prepares. He's really got a killer instinct too. I've been fortunate to be around him on a lot of occasions and we always hit it off; we have a great relationship and he's a friend of mine and someone that I always watch and admire because he always wants to improve, he always wants to get better and he doesn't settle for anything less than the best.
So when you watch the best and you're able to learn from the best, hopefully that helps me get better.
Now, for those of you who don't know, Tom Brady grew up in Northern California, and his favorite team growing up was the 49ers. Joe Montana was his favorite player. So, not only does Brady think his buddy Boomer Esiason is wrong on this issue, but Randy Cross's opinion seems weak as well.
Look, I've said this before and I'll continue to say it because some people just don't get it: The whole Brady v. Manning thing is over. Manning is better. When Tom Brady himself is saying Peyton is better, it should end the 'debate,' even for the idiot fans who still think this is something worth talking about.