Just by taking one snap in the 2016-17 divisional game against the Houston Texans this past Saturday, Tom Brady has officially played in 32 postseason games, equating to two full seasons. That extended his own NFL record even further. You might read that and think “whatever”, but when you stop and really think about it, that’s absolutely insane. Two seasons of playoff football played by one single player? There are a load of past, and current, quarterbacks out there who possess zero playoff stats. Not to mention, Brady has played every single game of his NFL career with the Patriots, making it that much more incredible.
Simply for the sake of comparison, I decided to look at the similarities and/or differences between Brady’s playoff stats versus a few other great quarterbacks.
First off, Brady’s postseason statistics:
Now, compared to Joe Montana:
Lastly, Dan Marino:
As you can tell, Montana is the only one who comes even remotely close to Brady in any of the given areas. Personally, I firmly believe that Brady is the greatest QB to ever walk this planet, so this particular comparison between Brady and Montana is telling, for that reason. Of course, they each have four Super Bowl rings, but the numbers tell the bigger, and more in-depth story.
While on the topic of comparisons, this one happens to be a personal favorite of mine. Given that Brady has played in 32 total playoff games, only thirteen NFL franchises have played in more postseason games than the lone quarterback. You read that correctly. He’s now tied with the Giants for 13th-most games.
If that wasn’t a crazy enough stat for you, here’s another one to add on to it. Brady has more playoff wins than a staggering 27 NFL franchises. Brady is tied with the Broncos with 23 postseason wins a piece. Whatever your opinion may be towards Brady as a player, you have to admit that that’s unfathomable. Brady has played since the year 2001 and only missed the playoffs twice, in 2002, and 2008 when he tore his ACL. Each of the 27 franchises have been around since at least 1995. Brady alone is more successful than a good chunk of the National Football League. He’s basically a human franchise. Let that sink in for a moment.
Let’s look the list of players who are just behind Brady in playoff games played:
1. Tom Brady, 32
2. Adam Vinateri, 30
3. Jerry Rice, 29
4. Peyton Manning, 27
6. Larry Cole, 26
8. Charlie Waters, 25
9. David Akers, 24
Pretty good company, right? What stands out to me the most about that list is the lack of quarterbacks and just how far behind Brady the two QBs that are listed are. That given, both Manning and Favre also played more seasons than Brady has so far (18 seasons for both). Just by a couple of years, yes, but still relevant, nonetheless.
As for the numbers, one thing that stands out among Brady’s stats is his high number of interceptions. 30 is a pretty high number for a quarterback like Brady. If you feel like Brady throws one pick or more in just about every playoff game he’s played in that you can recall, you’re not going crazy. For instance, Brady threw two interceptions against the Texans a few days ago, tying his total amount for this past entire regular season. Back in 2006 against the Chargers in mid-January, Brady threw three interceptions, and also threw two picks in Super Bowl 49, to put things into perspective.
The funny thing about that, is that a majority of those interceptions didn’t matter in the end. Lots of them are forgotten about since, in the end, the Patriots probably ended up going to the Super Bowl anyways. It also just goes to show how great of a team the Patriots have built around Brady since he was drafted. Yeah, interceptions are bad and lots of the time costly, but it’s a different story with Tom Brady and the Patriots. Many other teams wouldn’t be able to recover from a couple of picks, possibly costing them their season. As for Brady, in the end, he’ll most likely go on and win the game in Brady-esque fashion. That right there is what makes him so great.
To summarize, Tom Brady is stupid good. If you think that 32 playoff games played is crazy as it is, just wait a couple more years. Brady certainly isn’t done yet, and is doing everything in his power to make 32 to 33, then 34, 35, and so on. He’s already the greatest quarterback of all time in the eyes of many, and is set on making sure everybody believes that by the time he’s done. He can do that by doing what he’s been doing his whole career, by advancing on and then winning again and again. If Brady wins a fifth Super Bowl this year, he could make that happen much sooner rather than later. If I’ve learned anything over the course of my lifetime watching Brady play, I know that he’s going to make sure that he’s played in 34 playoff games and won 25 of them by this February 5th.