The other day, I asked in this space if it was truly wise to bet against Russell Wilson. Today, I still say no, it isn’t… unless the other guy is arguably the best quarterback in the Super Bowl era.
Joe Montana was nothing short of phenomenal. Peyton Manning has completely rewritten the NFL record books. Aaron Rodgers has at times played the QB position as well as anyone I’ve ever seen. But I don’t see how it can be said that any of them have been better than Tom Brady.
In 13 years as the Pats’ starting signal caller, Brady has averaged better than 12 regular season wins per. He’s won another 20 games in the postseason, including, of course, the three Super Bowl triumphs. Remarkably, Brady has done all this while playing much of his career without another Hall of Fame-caliber player in New England’s lineup—unless you count kicker Adam Vinatieri, who left the team in free agency a decade ago.
Many think Brady’s best days are behind him, and they may well be right. After all, while it’s never been forgotten that he was drafted in the 6th round, that happened so long ago that Bill Clinton was president at the time. But a not-quite-as-incredible-as-he-used-to-be Brady is still about as good as QB in the league. And, after not winning a Super Bowl in 10 years, Brady is desperate—after all, you didn’t hear about him deflating footballs five years ago.
For all the talk about how Seattle nearly required divine intervention to squeeze by the Packers in the NFC Championship game, the fact is that if the Seahawks took care of the ball as well as they usually do (their 14 turnovers during the regular season was the NFL’s third-lowest total, while they gave away the ball five times vs. Green Bay), that game would’ve been about as close as last year’s Super Bowl.
Pete Carroll’s crew is a formidable opponent. Their defense is one of the stingiest football has seen in many years, Marshawn Lynch is the toughest running back in the world and leads the NFL’s best rushing attack and Russell Wilson is one of the league’s elite QBs.
Meanwhile, Bill Belichick’s squad features a D with its share of holes, even though the addition of cornerback Darelle Revis has made it much stronger than it has been in recent years, and a running game that seems to choose its primary guy by playing rock, paper, scissors on a weekly basis. But the future Hall of Fame coach also has Brady, and that will be enough to win on Sunday. The old QB simply won’t let his team lose.