The latest Sunday Night Football Quarterback Matchup Poses a Question: Is there a difference between talent and success?

By: Bryce Fields

This week’s Sunday Night Football game was one the most anticipated regular season games of the NFL season. The New England Patriots hosted the Green Bay Packers, both incredible teams who are captained by future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rogers. Fans, players, and even former NBA star Michael Jordan (his commercial that not-so-subtly compared the situation between Brady and Rodgers to the greatest of all-time conversation between him and LeBron James was priceless), were all talking about the matchup. 

While the Patriots were able to pullout a 31-17 win, the bigger story came with that Jordan commercial. If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to, because I believe that it is a conversation that needs to be had. Many people in today’s football world agree that Brady, a 5x Super Bowl Champion, is the greatest quarterback ever.

Well, I am not one of those people, and that is because people have forgotten that there is a difference between the most talented and most successful at the quarterback position.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Tom Brady is incredible. I mean, his resume speaks for itself: he is a 3x NFL MVP, a 3x First-team All-Pro, a 2x NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and of course, a 5x Super Bowl Champion. Everything points to the fact that Brady is one of the best to ever play quarterback.

Photo credit to Pats Pulpit

However, let’s get another thing straight – success does not directly translate to being one of the absolute best to do it. If that were so, then wouldn’t Bill Russell be the best NBA center ever? I mean, 11 championships, c’mon! However, I think that Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Shaquille O’Neal would all have something to say about that. 

So, now on to Tom Brady. Yes, he has 5x rings, but most talented quarterback? Let’s take a step back from that assertion and take a look a few factors that give some context to Brady’s greatness. 

First of all, two words: Bill Belichick. Almost everyone knows how great of a coach Belichick has been and that is evident in several areas. Through Belichick’s greatness, the Patriots have always been good, and that includes without Brady. He even turned Matt Cassell into a star for a season in New England after Brady went down. After that year, Cassell got paid in Kansas City to do…. well, nothing good.

A few more names for you? How about Randy Moss and Rob Gronkowski. These two incredible athletes provided something that every quarterback would love – a last option. Moss was a physical specimen standing 6’4with a 4.25 second 40-yard dash, making it virtually impossible to cover him. Gronk is a giant 6’7 tight end who runs like a receiver, so the same goes for him. 

Peyton Manning, John Elway, Aaron Rodgers – all of these quarterbacks have some generational talent that gets pushed aside because of the emphasis we put on winning. Tom Brady is great, but there is a conversation that needs to be had about how Brady might not be the GOAT after all.