With Super Bowl XLIX win, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback ever

Quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with his teammates after winning Super Bowl XLIV 28-24 against the Seahawks for the fourth time in franchise history. The Super Bowl was held at The University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Ariz. (Anthony Behar/SIPA USA/TNS) Quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with his teammates after winning Super Bowl XLIV 28-24 against the Seahawks for the fourth time in franchise history. The Super Bowl was held at The University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Ariz. (Anthony Behar/SIPA USA/TNS)

The debate is over.

After the comeback win in Super Bowl XLIX against Seattle where the Patriots scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady cemented himself as the best quarterback in NFL history.

The win also gave Brady his fourth Super Bowl title and improved his record to 4-2 in the big game. However, take away the miraculous David Tyree catch in Super Bowl XLII and Wes Welker's wide-open drop in Super Bowl XLVI, and Brady basically has six Super Bowl titles.

Brady has long been considered to be the No. 2 all-time to Joe Montana, but he surpassed Montana with his latest Super Bowl title. Brady's four touchdown passes against Seattle's vaunted defense, putting him at 13 in his Super Bowl career, breaking Montana's previous record of 11.

In Montana's 192-game career, he threw for 40,551 yards and 273 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 63.2 percent. In Brady's 207 career games, he has 53,258 yards and 392 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 63.5. Yes, Brady played more games, but if Brady's 15 added career games are averaged out with the statistical difference, the New England quarterback would have about 847 yards and eight touchdowns a game.

Montana's 49ers, 4-0 in the Super Bowl (1981, 1984, 1988 and 1989,) had Jerry Rice and one of the best defenses ever. Led by Hall of Famers Ronnie Lott and Fred Dean, the 49ers defense finished third or better in points allowed six times in the 1980s.

In addition to being the greatest quarterback ever, Tom Brady is arguably the greatest postseason player in the history of the game. He is 21-8 in the playoffs in his 12 playoff appearances and has more playoff wins than 21 current NFL franchises. In his 29-game playoff career, he has thrown for 7,345 yards and a record 53 touchdowns. In Montana's 11 playoff appearances, he was 16-7 in the playoffs, throwing for 5772 yards and 45 touchdowns.

During New England's 18-1 season in 2007, the defense was ranked fourth in total points against and yards allowed. However, after 2010, the defense has been in a steady rebuilding mode, including the 2012 season where Brady lost his second Super Bowl to the Giants.

Although cliché, one common trait of great quarterbacks is the ability to better those around them. Wes Welker and Julian Edelman are perfect examples. Welker, who went undrafted, is now one of the best slot receivers in the game. Edelman, a seventh round pick, is now a Super Bowl champion who caught the game-winning touchdown.

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Brady has done more with less compared to any other quarterback in NFL history.

Another reason Brady is the best is because of his proven ability to adapt. Yes, Bill Belichick deserves to share the credit as well, but regardless of the coach, an NFL franchise doesn't stumble into four titles without a legendary quarterback.

Brady has created new weapons throughout his career — Rob Gronkowski, Shane Vereen, Welker, and now Edelman. The perfect example of the flux he has dealt with is LeGarrette Blount, who joined the team midseason and ended up being one of its top performers, starting in the Super Bowl.

Brady is a prime example of sustained success, which is evident with this year's Super Bowl win, one that came 10 years after his last. In addition, his regular and postseason stats given the lack of consistent weapons is something that the league has never seen before and may never see again.

Brady cemented his place as the best quarterback in NFL history after throwing for 328 yards and four touchdowns against a Seattle defense that only allowed 156.3 passing yards a game this year — not to mention mounting a 14-point comeback to win the game and his fourth Super Bowl title.

This game is most decidedly not the final chapter in Brady's illustrious career. We do not yet know what's next for the greatest quarterback to ever play football.

 

Reach the columnist at Justin.Toscano@asu.edu or on Twitter @justintoscano3

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