Five Reasons Why Tom Brady is Superior to Michael Jordan as the Sports Goat

There was a bit of a fuss on TV over Michael Irvin & Stephen A Smith over who is the overall Goat Jordan vs Brady.

In my opinion there is no debate at all. The nod is to Brady for these reasons

  1. Brady won championships and made finals all through his career Jordan did not

Michael Jordan career spans from 1984 at age 21 to 2003 at age 39 with one year off for baseball and three years off for retirement before returning with the wizards. Jordan won six championships during that period at ages 27-29 & 32-34.

Tom Brady’s career spans from 2001 at age 24 (in 2000 he appeared in one game and threw 3 passes completing one for six yards) and continues in 2021 at age 44. During this period he has won seven championships at ages 24,26,27, 37, 39, 41 and 43. He also made the finals three other times at ages 30, 33 and 40. Which is far superior to Jordan

  1. Brady won championships in a sport where it is harder to win a championship

In basketball playoffs it is very easy for the cream to rise to the top. Series are best of five or best of seven. So a single off game or hot game from your opponent or freak play might cost you a game but is unlikely to cost you a series.

In football it’s one and done. One bad throw, one off game, one supreme effort by an opponent or one freak catch off the top of Helmut can be the difference between a title and an also ran. Jordan had a margin of error, Brady does not.

Furthermore Football weighs a schedule based on your finish thus when he was regularly winning AFC East titles he was doing so when constantly playing a 1st place schedule. He succeeded against a system designed to make him fail.

  1. Brady has won championships with different lineups on different teams with different systems

Jordan won six titles in Chicago under Phil Jackson with a fairly consistent lineup around him. Tom Brady has not only won titles with two different teams with two different systems but even when he was with the Patriots over twenty years he managed to win titles and get to titles with a completely different cast of characters around him. None of the teammates from his first three titles played with him in his last two.

  1. Brady has taken a sub .500 team to a title not once but twice.

Michael Jordan’s did take a Chicago team with a losing record to the playoffs then later to the conference semis, then the conference finals and then at age 27 to the finals where he established the Bulls Dynasty. But while he was able to make a horrible Wizards team 20 games better then they were he was unable to get them even to the 1st round of the playoffs

When Tom Brady at age 25 started for the injured Drew Bledsoe in game 3 of the 2001-2002 season the Patriots’ were coming off a 5-11 last place season and were 0-2. He would lead them to their first superbowl victory. When he came in as the new QB for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at age 43, he took over a 3rd place team with a 7-9 record and took them to their first superbowl in almost twenty years.

  1. At age 44 Brady is favored to make it to the Superbowl AGAIN!

All of these previous points would, in my opinion be enough to close the case here, but if that wasn’t enough the icing on the cake is that at age 44 nobody is picking Brady and the Bucks to do any worse than the NFC title game and many are picking him to win yet another Superbowl. It’s true that both Aaron Rogers and Patrick Mahomes will likely be standing in his way with a big chips on their shoulders and nobody would be shocked if either Rogers kept Brady from another superbowl appearance or Mahomes kept him from his eighth ring.

But the fact that we are even having this conversation makes my point for me.

In conclusion with all due respect to Stephen A Smith there is no debate to have here. Brady is over Jordan. WAY over.

Full Disclosure: I don’t rate Michael Jordan as the GOAT of the NBA or LeBron, I give that to Bill Russell who in 13 years in the NBA made the finals every year but one and won the title every year but two and won two of those titles as a player coach.

He is the person Brady should be compared to and points 2-5 count in Brady’s favor, however Russell gets points for

  1. 2 titles as player coach (and as the 1st black coach in the NBA)
  2. Coming up in an era of segregation and STILL ruling the roost.
  3. playing in a smaller NBA where the talent was more concentrated

To me it’s a tough call, but if Brady goes to another Superbowl then I’d have to give it to Tom.

Tom Brady is the 3rd Best Player in an American Team Sport Behind Russell 2nd and Ruth 1st

We have now been hearing a discussion where people are asking: Is Tom Brady the greatest player in an American Team Sport ever? Brady being in his 10th Superbowl has earned him a place in that conversation with 10 trips to the finals in 21 chances. Or to put it another way,

  • Tom Brady’s avg of going to superbowls is higher than Ty Cobb’s avg of getting hits.
  • Tom Brady’s avg of going to superbowls is higher than the 3 point percentage of any NBA player in history
  • The only NFL team that has been to more Superbowls than Tom Brady is the New England Patriots with eleven trips over 61 years to Tom’s ten in 21 years. Nine of those trips were in years they were led by Tom Brady.
  • Tom Brady’s as of today has one less playoff win then Maurice Richard has Stanley Cup goals.

That being the case Brady deserves to be in consideration for the best player in a major American Team sport (Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey) of all time. There are two people in that conversation with him. Babe Ruth and Bill Russell.

Babe Ruth in 22 years went to 10 World Series winning Seven and if you look at the Baseball Reference pages over his career led the league in over 200 different categories over his career as both a Pitcher and as a Right fielder.

Bill Russell in 13 seasons in the NBA went to the playoffs every season making it to the finals 12 times and winning 11 titles, two of them as player coach.

Brady has four things in common with Ruth and Russell.

  • A Long Career
  • Success early and late in a career
  • Regular trips to the Finals
  • Long tenures in Boston

Brady has one thing in Common with Ruth favoring him over Russell

  • Success on multiple teams under multiple coaches/managers

Brady has two things in common with Russell over Ruth

  • A high level of play every uninjured season of his career (to this point) (Ruth’s final season stunk)
  • Never having cost his team a title with a boneheaded play to lose a series (Ruth inexplicably getting caught stealing in 1926 to lose the World Series)

And Brady has one advantage over Both Russell & Ruth

  • No Margin for error.

In a championship season Babe Ruth and his teams had the liberty of having as many as three bad games or three games where the opposing team outplayed them while still being capable of winning a championship. Bill Russell’s margin of error was larger, with a 6 to 9 game margin or error as their series were all best of seven. Or to put it simply if your better team had a bad day you still had the rest of a series games to show the other guy whose actually better.

However Tom Brady , as a football player, had no such margin of error. A single bad game or a single bad move and you are out. Russell’s Celtics & Ruth’s Yanks and Sox could blow a game or two in a series and still win. Brady never had that luxury.

Why then does Brady rank behind Russell? Very simple. While this season it’s been implied that Brady has functioned as a “coach” to the Offense, Bill Russell for two seasons won titles while actually being the head coach as well as the center. He not only had to play at a high level but had to while on the floor manage the team, call the plays and be aware enough to coach the team to the playoffs and to the title. He not only managed to do so, but managed to do so TWICE.

For that reason I give Russell an edge over Brady, at least so far. If Brady goes to an 11th Superbowl (which is entirely in the realm of possibility I may revisit that advantage.

However Babe Ruth has an advantage over Brady that is even more pronounced. He not only won six titles as the most feared slugger in the major leagues but won three titles as one of the top pitchers in the Majors. It would be as if Brady won his first three titles as the top linebacker or Defensive End before switching to Quarterback. Furthermore Ruth fundamentally changed the game of baseball in a way neither Russell nor Brady did in their sports. It’s true that after Ruth started hitting homers other soon followed, but Ruth did it first and the only chemical enhancements he had were hot dogs and beer.

For this reason I consider Babe Ruth the greatest team sport player in the history of sports, over Russell and over Brady. If Brady wins the superbowl this year and perhaps one other then I may revisit these rankings, if not then.

FYI Michael Jordon doesn’t make this list because while he won six titles in six trips all those titles came in the 2nd half of his career all with the same team and system and failed to make the playoffs with the wizards when he came back. LeBron James doesn’t make this list because of only four titles wins but given that he won three titles in three different cities under three different systems and has been to the finals 10 times one more trip will force him to be considered in this company. Kareem fails to make the top 3 because despite the six titles with two teams and titles early and late in his career, he had a very long period without making those finals or more properly if included on this list he is currently 5th with LeBron right behind him. Yogi Berra with 10 titles in 14 years and 3 MVP titles in a league that had Mantle & Williams is the person that Brady edges out for 3rd. Berra might have had better stats but his development was curtailed by a more pressing engagement off Normandy on June 6th 1944 & two months later in the invasion on the southern coast of France. In fact you might even be able to make a case for Berra going all the way to the top.

My top five list as of this moment would run Ruth, Russell, Brady, Berra, & Jabbar in that order with King James knocking on the door and very likely to take Kareem’s spot on this list perhaps as soon as this year.

Bidenball not withstanding If LeBron wins the Title in LA he passes Jordan for 2nd Best of all time.

The only sports I’ve watched this year has been five to ten minutes of game five between the Celtics and Heat and that only because I was seated at a restaurant right next to a TV that I could not avoid, however there is a sports subject I think is worth bringing up.

This week the Lakers began their series with the Heat in the bubble for the title and apparently one game one (heard that on the radio on the way home).

If the Lakers win then this will mean that LeBron James will have won titles in three different cities under three different coaches with three different system while being the primary driver of his team.

He will have also managed to do it in a year where there was no home court advantage.

In my opinion that puts him above Jordan as he will have proved that he can lead any team in any system to a title even though he will have one less ring.

Of course Kareem won six titles over twenty years with two teams including one at age 39 and 40 so Mr. James may still be involved in a two way tie for 2nd best of all time.

And neither in my opinion tops Bill Russell who not only has 11 rings but won two of them as a player coach although you will be able to make a case for Kareem based on longevity or for James based on the wins in different systems without sounding ridiculous.

In my opinion if someone can make a case can be made that you are as good as Bill Russell without sounding crazy you are something special and whatever my opinion of Mr. James political opinions he is without question the best player of the 21st century and, if he wins this title clearly better than Jordan.