Max Thompson

Tom Brady is objectively great.

No, that isn’t necessarily the eye-popping hook that English teachers everywhere would’ve hoped for. That is a boring, mundane claim that nearly everyone agrees with.

Brady has amassed six Super Bowl rings, four Super Bowl MVPs and three NFL MVP awards during his prestigious career. He has, without a doubt, the single best legacy of any NFL football player in history.

Nevertheless, every good thing must come to an end. In Brady’s case, the end is now. We are witnessing the decline of the greatest quarterback in NFL history.

You may be thinking, “but wait! It’s Tom Brady, bro. Six rings! He’s the GOAT!” Yes, all of that is true. However, it is essential to know the difference between legacy and current performance. Legacy is amassed by years of success in a sport, something that Brady has undoubtedly done.

Despite this, we can still accurately say that he is no longer a very good quarterback relative to other options. In other words, his six rings aren’t going to convert the third and 12 that he faces in the third quarter next week. As far as current performance goes, Brady has struggled. To illustrate this, let’s play a fun game. Take a look at these names:

Ryan Tannehill. Gardner Minshew. Justin Herbert. Ryan Fitzpatrick. Teddy Bridgewater. Jeff Driskel. Mitch Trubisky. Daniel Jones. Joe Burrow. Drew Lock.

What do all of these quarterbacks have in common? None of them were your first pick in fantasy? Well, yes, that’s true. But, they also all have higher quarterback ratings than Tom Brady so far in 2020. Yeah, this isn’t a typo. Brady’s QBR currently ranks 30th of 33 qualified QB’s. 87% of quarterbacks have performed better than Brady this year.

Now, there is an obvious flaw to that number as there have only been two weeks of data thus far. So, while it is concerning, we would need a few more games of information before we really can come to a conclusion. Luckily for us, we have that data!

Brady struggled just as much last year. He ranked 17th out of 30 qualified quarterbacks in QBR, with a lower rating than Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Tannehill and Jameis Winston. He was a statistically below average quarterback. For emphasis, that means that Jameis Winston set the all-time single season record for interceptions and still performed better than Brady.

Was it just limited to the regular season last year? No! Brady’s playoff performance earned him the third worst QBR of all playoff quarterbacks last year. That is horrendous.

“But wait! The Patriots never gave him enough weapons! He will turn it around!” Are you sure about that? With that same Patriots roster, Brady ranked in the top six in QBR every year from 2015 to 2018. If he never had enough weapons, how was he able to perform so well then? Also, why couldn’t he keep it up last year?

Why, with Gronk, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans has he been even worse this year? Is it because his two opponents thus far were the terrifyingly bad Carolina Panthers and the vaunted Saints defense that let Derrick Carr drop 31 points in their faces?

At the end of the day, the story of Tom Brady is a simple one.

Here we have the single greatest quarterback of all time. Although, that same player is 43 years old. He is the oldest active player in the NFL. He is throwing to receivers that are a literal generation younger than him. While he may be the GOAT, he is a mediocre quarterback in this current season. That is okay! The sooner we can accept that legends age too, the sooner we can live with the fact that Tom Brady is being outplayed by Drew Lock and Mitch Trubisky.

Max Thompson is a freshman majoring in Business Management and Journalism and Electronic Media. He can be reached at sthomp92@vols.utk.edu. Want more NFL analysis? Follow @The_Out_Route on Twitter!

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