Monday, January 31, 2005

Brady vs. Aikman

I got this email over the weekend that I thought you might enjoy reading:


I am so sick and tired of Tom Brady not getting his due. I'm not saying BAD is dissing him - I'm just picking you guys to write to in hopes that you will read this on the air!

I'm sure Mr. Brady will prove me out next week and over his career, but those of you who say he just "drives the bus" and compare him to Aikman need to look at some numbers and realize he is no Aikman - HE IS ALOT BETTER - and when he's done (barring injury), he will rightly be considered one of the game's greats alongside Montana...

Check this out:
Brady: 61.6% completion, avg 3500 yards, 24 TD, 13 INT, and has a career QB rating 87.5.
Aikman: 61.7%, avg 3000 yards, 15 TD, 11 INT, career QB rating, 81.6. I excluded Troy's 1st and last year from the yardage, TD and INT stats to further prove my point.
Montana: (as a 49er only) 63.7% comp, avg 2500 yards, 17 TD, 9 INT, QB rating 92.3

Brady's % completion is right there with both, and his QB rating is much closer to Montana than Aikman. He's averaged 500 yards a year more than Aikman, and surprising 1000 more than Montana. He has the same nearly 2 to 1 TD to INT ratio as Montana, far better than Aikman's. He has no one like Rice or Irvin to throw to, and had no Emmitt to hand the ball off to (until maybe this year).

So there are people out there saying that Aikman, who had Emmitt and Michael, is a LOCK Hall of Famer, and still say Brady needs to prove something and that he's a BUS DRIVER?!? (And please don't bring up the pass defense changes this year - his numbers this year are remarkably consistent with the 3 years before). Brady isn't the flashy athlete QB that McNabb, Vick and Culpepper are - he is simply the best.

Last but not least - Belichick and most of the guys on the Patriots were there since 2000. They had a Pro Bowl level QB (at least considered at the time) in Drew Bledsoe. They were a middle of the road team until Brady came in for an injured Bledsoe. Do you honestly think the Patriots would have even won a single SB with Bledsoe? Since he took over, Brady has been the difference maker.

You can say what you want about the watered down talent in the league now, but Tom Brady would have been great in any era.

Steve Takamatsu

PS - i'm a huge cowboys fan. So don't call me a Patriots homer.

Well, Steve, here is what I would say to all of that.

First, to call any of the three (Aikman, Montana, or Brady) a bus driver is a gross injustice to all of them. A bus driver in the NFL is a guy who doesn’t have to make big throws in big games. A bus driver seldom wins big games for just this reason. Gus Frerotte is a bus driver. These three are not even close.

Now, on to how they compare to each other. Simmer down on this theory that Brady is miles beyond Aikman. I am a huge Brady fan, but to not recognize Troy’s accomplishments in order to prop up Tom’s is hardly fair. True, they both have other mitigating factors that may help or hurt their numbers, but last I checked, QBs get paid the big bucks for what they can win in the month of January.

Well, take a look at this:

Tom Brady is a stellar 8-0 in career playoff starts. Very impressive. Joe Montana started 7-1, then went on to finish 16-7 with 4 Super Bowl victories. Troy Aikman began his career in the playoffs 10-1, with his one loss being the ’94 NFC Championship game in San Francisco, which was very likely his finest effort of them all.

The way I see it, Joe Montana is in an absolute class by himself. What Tom Brady is doing is a wonderful example of nearly perfect QB play over the course of 4 years. Sustain it for another 10 years, and we can begin to discuss whether he is as great or even as some have already thrown out greater than Joe Montana. Montana is the pinnacle of the position and as great is Brady is, to compare him after 4 years with the greatest to ever lace them up is just ludicrous.

So, how about Troy Aikman? It seems logical to compare the QB of the only team to win 3 Super Bowls in 4 years to the QB of the guy hoping to match that accomplishment next Sunday. In fact, in some ways, you could make the case that Aikman’s prime was only 4 years long. His excellence was found between 1992 and 1995 and closely mirrored the success of the team.

His numbers are pedestrian when you compare them statistic for statistic with other QBs in the era. Frankly, most people are shocked when they read Aikman had only 1 season where he eclipsed 20 Touchdowns.

But what makes Brady and Aikman similar is that they both played their best in the biggest games. Aikman’s QB rating in the Super Bowls of 111.9 trails only Montana, Bradshaw and Plunkett. His playoff numbers constitute the finest 16 game stretch of his career. In short, he was absolute money when the Cowboys required as much.

Look, I agree that statistics are fun to discuss. But Brady supporters cannot bust on Aikman’s numbers out of one side of their mouth, and then tell Peyton Manning supporters that numbers aren’t as important as results out of the other! That is textbook hypocrisy, and something that I just cannot recognize.

The bottom line is that in each decade, it seems that we have this debate. Last decade it was Aikman versus Marino. 25 years ago, Bob Griese had the rings and Dan Fouts had the numbers, while 35 years ago, Fran Tarkenton had the stats and Bart Starr had the championships.

And in each case, the QB with the wins had the lesser numbers, but the better supporting cast. The QB with the stats did not always have the pieces to help him do well in the post-season (provided that he even made it that far).

But to differentiate between Troy Aikman and Tom Brady is nearly impossible. Both appear to be Hall of Fame QB’s who saved their best play for January. Both will never be the fantasy football superstar, and both will have a handful of rings when it is done.

To say one is better than the other is like saying 2.1 million dollars is more than 2 million. Yes, that is technically correct, but they are both enough to buy what you need.


Kevin Adams and his dad at the Super Bowl …which makes them the 5th father-son Super Bowl combo. Name them before tomorrow’s blog arrives to impress your friends:

Checking the 2000 recruiting class

Lebreton on signing day

Don't ask me about Ryan Perrilloux or Martellus Bennett.
I don't do recruiting.

I don't like it. I don't like to write about it. I don't like to hear about it.
If I want to read about the daily brainpan meanderings of pampered, self-absorbed 18-year-olds, I'll buy that Olsen twins video, thank you.

The Redskins new scam: You must have a Redskins Mastercard to buy Redskins tickets Tony Kornheiser has more

Rod Woodsen defends his old coach, Bill Cowher

Bettman forgets to use his brain

Payroll issues in England

This quote from

COST IN TRANSLATION: Here's something for all of you who constantly carp about the Yankees' payrolll: English soccer team Chelsea reported a pre-tax loss of $165 million last year, thanks to a payroll over $218M!
Manchester United's payroll at the same time was $145M - while the Premiership's bottom-feeding West Bromwich Albion's payroll was just $22M.
Kansas City's new sister city: West Bromwich.


For Amazing Race 7, the return of Boston Rob …I will watch, but I have seen enough of this dude after 2 seasons on Survivor. By the way, word is that the wedding will be at the end of the season.

Man peed his way out of avalanche

We mentioned a HBO documentary about a crime in Jacksonville on Friday’s show. Several P1’s sent me a link to To the HBO site


Big Daddy said...

No mention of THE game of the day tomorrow?? Arsenal - Man. United? Perhaps the biggest rivalry going in the world right now and nary a mention?

X-factor said...

Thats because Arsenal is going to lose.

Jer said...

Either way, Jose will be happy.

Anonymous said...

Good discussion on Aikman, Brady, Montana.

One response to Steve's original post. Steve cites Brady's rating, average numbers, etc., but these numbers do not take into account the downside of his career, when his numbers will likely slide (just like everyone's numbers tend to do). Montana's averages are cut off at the end of his 49er run, so the numbers Steve cites for Montana also do not account for the downside of the career.

Aikman's averages are for his entire career, and so include the final, struggggaaallling, years of his career. If you stop the numbers at 97 or 98, Aikman's numbers would likely look a whole lot better. Someone will probably pull out some numbers and prove me wrong, but I would guess that the interception number in particular went way up in the final years.

Ultimately, I think that the summary on Aikman's career will be he had one of the best 4 to 5 year runs in the history of football, and injuries or whatever cut it short. During that run he may have been the most accurate passer in the history of the NFL. If we looked at sports stories from February 1996, you would likely be reading stories that read EXACTLY like the articles currently being written about Brady.

Brady is still awesome, I totally agree with Steve, but I am just trying to compare apples to apples.

Billy V said...

I saw "the Genius" Bill Walsh raving the other day on espn classic about Aikman's mechanics and accuracy. He couldn't say enough good things about Aikman. think he knows anything about the position?