Monday, 4 a.m.
How many times can you paint Mount Everest?
How many ways can you describe a sunset over the ocean?
How many poems can you write about the majesty of a clear sky?
And how many times can you look at Tom Brady, the confetti flying around his head, and suggest that “hey, that guy's pretty good.”
Brady was more than that Sunday night. He was immortal. He was brilliant. He was genius. All Brady did was lead his team to its fifth Super Bowl win, and win his fourth MVP award. He became the first quarterback to ever survive Sudden Death. He led the largest comeback ever.
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No one else wins this game. Not even the great Joe Montana. I'll admit it. I was slow coming around to Brady over Montana, who had a certain magic himself. But as great as Montana was, I can't see him pulling this off. Not down 25 with 17 minutes to play.
Johnny Unitas was my boyhood hero, but I can't see him pulling it off either. I can't see Terry Bradshaw or John Elway or Roger Staubach. Not Manning's little brother, Eli, or Joe Namath or Ben Roesthlisberger. Not Kurt Warner and not Brett Favre and not Troy Aikman. None of them.
No one else pulls this one out of the fire. Not even fictional quarterbacks.
Then again, no one else is the charmed, talented Brady.
You know who Brady beat? He beat destiny. For a long time, the Falcons seemed determined to erase all of their bad old memories, Cannonball Butler and Pat Sullivan and Pat Peppler and Jerry Glanville. Aundray Bruce and Norm Van Brocklin and Michael Vick and General Bob Lee. Instead, it was as if they were playing defense in the fourth quarter.
Brady was Robin Hood and Zorro and Achilles and every other marksman you've ever heard of. He was throwing darts into hummingbird's eyes. He threw it 62 times, and he threw for 466 yards. And hit put the second “y” back into the New England Dynasty.
It had started to fade, you know. No one wants to talk about it, because making seven Super Bowls is impressive. But the Pats were facing leaving with a 4-3 record, which isn't anything special. When you consider that the last Super Bowl New England won was because Seattle's Pete Carroll had a brain cramp and called a pass (which was intercepted) on the last play of the game. Except for that, the Patriots hadn't won a Super Bowl since February of 2005.
Instead, Brady led the Patriots to a 5-2 Super Bowl record, and we can spend the next few months throwing around superlatives. Brady probably passes Joe Montana with this performance. Bill Belichick passes Chuck Noll and Bill Walsh (and Don Shula, who went to six of these, but won only twice).
Consider this: For all of the blowouts in Super Bowl games, Brady hasn't been involved in any of them. He beat the Rams by three. He beat the Patriots by three. He beat the Eagles by three. He beat the Seahawks by four. He beat the Falcons by six in overtime. He lost with a historical catch by David Tyree (off his own helmet) and a last-minute run by Ahmad Bradshaw.
In other words, it's always a scrap with Brady, and he usually ends up winning.
Look around. How many Hall of Famers do you see in the Patriot huddles? Yes, Ron Gronkowski could get in if he could stay healthy. Junior Seau spent his twilight years in New England. Randy Moss was pretty good. But who else? And who lately?
Throughout the career of Brady, there have been so many moments, so many games, that you can use to describe him. But how about his overtime drive? He hit five straight passes and drew a 13 yard penalty for 63 yards. He led the Patriots downfield as if they were fulfilling their birthright.
In a way, maybe they were. Or at least, they were sharing Brady's.
Look, Montana was a terrific quarterback, especially in the Super Bowl. Bradshaw was very good. Aikman was solid.
But none of them were Brady.
You know, the best ever.