Yahoo! Sports NFL columnist Shaun King dropped by CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney on Monday, proclaiming Tom Brady as the best quarterback of all time.
King got no argument from either host.
“I’m probably going to say Tom Brady (is the best of all time) – with the caveat that Peyton Manning created his greatness because he was simply smarter than not only defenses, but I think defensive coordinators,” Tiki Barber said. “One of the things that I always admired about Peyton, as you played against him a couple times, is he could make you think he was doing something that he had no intention of ever doing – and he would force you to second-guess your defensive scheme or whatever it was you were going into. And that’s a skill. Not a lot of players, not a lot of quarterbacks, have that ability and the only way you do that is to be sublimely prepared.”
“My coach used to always talk about, ‘You got to be above the Xs and Os. You got to see things that aren’t necessarily there. You got to understand trends and things that are going on,’” Barber continued. “Peyton Manning has dominated that better than anybody in the National Football League, maybe in the history of the National Football League. How you contrast that with Tom Brady is that he is just precision. He just gets up there, he doesn’t care sometimes what the scheme is. He’s not going to try to manipulate you out of it. Yes, he’ll change the play every now and then, but it’s really execution, it’s timing. Like the touchdown to Gronkowski in that Cover 2 where he threw it right into that little tight window – that’s execution at its best.
“Tom is a better executor. I think, as an Xs-and-Os guy, Brady is probably better. Overall, I’ve got to say Tom is the best quarterback I’ve ever seen.”
The numbers back that up. After this Sunday, Brady will have played in 10 AFC Championship games, including five straight. He could play in his seventh Super Bowl, which would only extend the all-time record he already owns. He’s won four Super Bowl championships – tied for Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for the most of all time, and more than Manning, Dan Marino, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have combined. He also ranks among the top five in both passing yards and passing touchdowns.
But perhaps the most impressive thing, Barber said, is the variety of ways in which Brady has won. In 2007, he set records throwing the ball down the field with Randy Moss. This year, and in recent years, Brady has led a dink-and-dunk offense that relies on short, quick passes to Julian Edelman and finding Rob Gronkowski down the seams.
“He’s done it in so many different ways,” Barber said. “He’s never been a one-trick pony. To me, that adaptability – as the game has change dover the course of his 15 years now – has proven that the most adaptable is usually the best. That’s why I consider him the best I’ve ever seen.”