There comes a point where football fans turn their hatred into respect for players who prove themselves out on the field. For NFL legend Tom Brady, this seems to be the case, and it only took seven Super Bowl wins to get there.
Despite his controversial past and the heavy debate on Brady's skill in the sports community, his performance at Super Bowl LV (which landed him his seventh Super Bowl ring and a victory for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and being able to go against the great Patrick Mahomes II of the Kansas City Chiefs, proved that Brady is one of the best, if not the best, players in all of sports franchise history.
With more Super Bowl rings than any other player in the NFL franchise, Brady has an incredible track record. But let’s talk about what really makes his legacy so noteworthy.
For starters, Brady was an underdog: He was the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft. This is an extremely unimpressive rank, and the New England Patriots probably thought nothing of its sixth-round selection.
That is until the 2001 playoff season when the Patriots' starter, Drew Bledsoe, suffered an injury leading to rookie Brady getting a chance at the starts.
Brady's addition to the team led New England to win the Super Bowl against the Los Angeles Rams, making him the youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl at 24 years old.
And that is where the legacy begins.
Brady then went on in 2004 and 2005 to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles. At this point, people started to get sick of him, especially fans of American Football Conference Eastern Division teams that were unable to get a shot at the playoffs for years.
This is about the time that the Patriots probably realized that they had hit the jackpot with choosing their sixth-round selection.
Most greats don’t usually start out as underdogs and are, instead, top prospects in the drafts. But once again, Brady defies the norm.
Luckily, for the rest of the teams at least, Brady went through a dry spell in the years of 2005-13 with no rings, despite appearing in a few Super Bowls.
Then, in 2014, began what I like to call, "Brady’s reign of terror on the rest of the NFL." Winning a whopping 4 out of the 8 Super Bowl titles from 2014-21, Brady officially establishes himself as the greatest of all time.
To go through every single one of those wins would be, although fascinating for me, probably very dragging and repetitive for the rest of you. Instead, I will go into my personal favorite Super Bowl win of his, Super Bowl LI.
Initially, the game seemed very promising for the rivaling Atlanta Falcons as they took a 28-9 lead into the third quarter. I recall being devastated, assuming there was no way for anyone to come back from this so far into the game. My mother was the one to remind me to “never count Brady out," even though it seemed like a longshot at this point.
Slowly but surely, my mom turned out to be right. Brady miraculously led his team to score 25 points in the remaining approximately 23 minutes of the game and forced overtime. New England won the all-deciding coin toss, making the game-winning touchdown drive for a final score of 34-28.
It's still unfathomable to me how he pulled that off, but now we know why he’s called "the comeback kid."
It was a shock to the nation when Brady, in March 2020, decided to leave the Patriots and sign with the Buccaneers at the age of 42.
Many questioned why he would do that when he created such a legacy with New England, but ultimately, Brady wanted to prove that he wasn’t just an average quarterback with a great manager, amazing coaches and helpful teammates. And he did just that.
I don’t know what screams "greatest of all time" more than switching teams and immediately bringing them a Super Bowl title that same year.
There’s just no denying anymore that Brady is the greatest player of all time and has an impact wherever he goes. If you need more convincing, just look at all the records he broke and maybe play a rerun of Super Bowl LI.
Lucky for us, this isn’t the end of his "reign of terror" just yet. In Brady’s words, his favorite ring is "the next one.”