Will Tom Brady’s legacy be affected by one drop?

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    So there are four minutes to go in Super Bowl XLVI and New England quarterback Tom Brady is marching his team downfield, holding on to a 17-15 lead over the Giants of New York.

    Playing in his fifth big dance in 10 years, Brady is staring down the barrel of a 4-1 record in the NFL’s biggest game.

    Knowing a first down will give his team the chance to wind down a lot of clock, he looks for his favourite target, wide receiver Wes Welker.

    Welker is the man who has set all sorts of receiving records in the past four seasons, a guy who usually snatches anything put within arm’s reach, and sometimes even those that are just outside it.

    Welker has confused the defence and beaten coverage, and Brady knows it.

    He lobs the pigskin in Wes’ direction, leaving it a little above No.83’s head as he turns to face his marksman.

    It’s history now that Welker gets two hands to the ball but fails to handle it. The Patriots have to punt. Eli Manning drives the G-Men downfield and snatches not only the Super Bowl but MVP status as well.

    This isn’t a Welker-bagging column. He is one of the absolute elite receivers in the league, and sometimes the cards just don’t fall your way, no matter how good you are.

    Sure there were a couple of other drops by Pats receivers in the final 57 seconds, but Welker’s drop undoubtedly changed the game.

    Instead of the Pats having four more plays (at 40 seconds each) to wind down the Rolex, the Giants have the ball and plenty of time.

    Brady’s 4-1 record, seemingly in the bag, has been reduced to 3-2, and all of a sudden any talk of him being an automatic entry into the Hall of Fame has been wiped.

    Instead the talk is whether Eli, with two rings and MVP awards, is worthy of HOF status.

    The answer – not before Brady. Think about what this guy has achieved.

    The only time the Patriots have missed the playoffs since he arrived was the season when #12 missed the entire season after suffering a knee injury in week one. Even then they went 10-6 but still missed the playoffs (that’s just one win more than Eli’s world champions achieved this regular season).

    Brady holds records for most completions achieved in a season, most touchdowns thrown in a season, and led his side to the only 16-0 regular season record since that system was introduced. He has made the Super Bowl in 50 percent of the seasons he has played, and did it this season with a defence that was ranked second worst in the league.

    At this stage I will admit to being a Patriots fan, but the stats simply tell the true tale here.

    As soon as Brady decides to call it quits (hopefully not for another few years) he should go into the HOF at the next induction ceremony. One dropped catch should not affect that.

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    The Crowd Says (21)

    • February 9th 2012 @ 4:27am
      Lisa said | February 9th 2012 @ 4:27am | ! Report

      Are you kidding me?? What is the reasoning Brady with 3 Rings and a multitude of quarterback records now is not a sure fire HOF, but Eli is???? of course Brady is far superior. If Welker had made the play like Manningham did, a different outcome.

      • February 9th 2012 @ 5:48am
        Caroline Wright said | February 9th 2012 @ 5:48am | ! Report

        I agree! Tom Brady is awesome with a record to prove it.. Eli manning what a joke he screwed up more than once that night , Tom Brady as you say is FAR SUPERIOR!!!!

        • February 9th 2012 @ 11:22am
          Jimbo said | February 9th 2012 @ 11:22am | ! Report

          I agree Brady is a better player than Manning, but with apologies to John McEnroe, you cannot be serious when you claim Eli Manning is a joke! He has had an outstanding season, on a team with a huge injury toll, and was at many times the only thing saving them from absolute mediocrity. Surely his 2 Superbowl rings (the first against a team many considered one of the greatest in NFL history) and amazing ability in clutch situations, as seen on the last drive, and on many occasions previous (i.e. Superbowl XLII…) has to have shut up any doubters he may have had.

          • February 9th 2012 @ 11:47am
            B.A Sports said | February 9th 2012 @ 11:47am | ! Report

            Agree Jimbo.

            I’m a Pats fan but Eli made one turnover throughout the entire playoffs and on that occaision (an interception v Green Bay) he got drilled as he released the ball. His offensive line gave him no protection.

            Eli doesn’t have the same body of work over a career as Brady has but he has to be considered amongst the games current elite QB’s. I mean how many teams wouldn’t trade their current QB for Eli? Saints, Packers, Pats. There are a few others you could have robust debate about – Pit/Dal and maybe Carolina if you want to develop Cam. But anyone else? The dude can flat out play.

    • February 9th 2012 @ 4:58am
      Macca said | February 9th 2012 @ 4:58am | ! Report

      It was a difficult catch for Welker as his body was twisted in an odd position, but yes that dropped catch was important. Didn’t Green Ellis drop one soon after?
      It was a depressing day all round. Welker was one of my favourite receivers, but one can’t help think of that moment and the ramifications when one thinks of him now. Tom Brady is elite. It is a shame he is very unlikely to get the opportunity to climb the mountain again….but that is the cruelty of sport.

    • February 9th 2012 @ 6:55am
      amazonfan said | February 9th 2012 @ 6:55am | ! Report

      Brady’s HOF chances haven’t been affected at all. He will get in on the first ballet no matter what, and probably the only thing that can stop him is if it was revealed he took steroids, or something. The only impact on his legacy is where he is regarded among the greatest quarterbacks of all time; if he had won, he might have been challenging for the title of greatest of all time, but now he’s still ‘only’ top 5.

      • February 9th 2012 @ 8:32am
        mushi said | February 9th 2012 @ 8:32am | ! Report

        I’d say top 10 with manning/farve/young/montana/elway/marino/unitas/star/bradshaw but then I didn’t think winning one game would change it that much for him anyway.

        • February 9th 2012 @ 6:23pm
          amazonfan said | February 9th 2012 @ 6:23pm | ! Report

          That’s probably more accurate. Still, whether you consider him a top 10 quartback or a top 5 quarterback (and I personally think he’s closer to top 5 than top 10) he is still a guaranteed 1st ballot Hall of Famer. The OP’s comment that ‘all of a sudden any talk of him being an automatic entry into the Hall of Fame has been wiped’ is completely absurd.

          “I didn’t think winning one game would change it that much for him anyway.”

          I would agree with that. He’s been named Super Bowl MVP twice, won three Super Bowls, and has made the Super Bowl five times. Unless he was named MVP for a third time, I don’t think that winning a fourth Super Bowl would dramatically impact his legacy.

    • February 9th 2012 @ 8:04am
      daryl kane said | February 9th 2012 @ 8:04am | ! Report

      The author of this article needs to check his facts. The patriots missed the season in Brady’s second season with a 9-7 record and also they won 11 games, not 10 when Brady was out. Not knocking brady, I’m a huge patriots fan and they are my favorite team in the world but I just think that this article was pretty amateurish for these reasons. Also, no one is questioning his HOF status. Brady will continue to compete, amass records and if he ever does get that 4th ring he will likely go down as the greatest ever. Without the 4th ring he will be considered top 5 all time.

    • February 9th 2012 @ 8:26am
      mushi said | February 9th 2012 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      Not sure where he got the Brady is no longer a HOF certainty. If you’re a multiple super bowl winning QB you go hall of fame (no matter how nonsensical the concepts of judging one player by a team’s success is) let alone a 3 time winner + 18-1 + MVP + having held a few passing records. Not even the most ardent Brady/Pats hater could put him on the sideline for that.

      That is why they are talking about Eli now – his 2 wins and both being come from behinds (another strange thing – wouldn’t he be better if his team won by 50?) gives him a pretty good shot at the hall.

    • February 9th 2012 @ 8:42am
      Paul said | February 9th 2012 @ 8:42am | ! Report

      Welker hurt Brady’s legacy? The most idiotic thing I have ever heard. Wes is a professional through and through. It’s unbelievable that he is the only one truly stepping up and taking responsibility. The Patriots had 56 minutes in addition to the the final 4 to make a case as the best team in football. Where was the culpability for the offensive line? Why did Brady not say, hey I made a bone head move and gave two points to New York…yes I made a bad read and threw a pick. I’ve only heard one member of the Pats defense take some responsibility. You know as a team you have less than 4 minutes to stop Eli from driving the field for the go ahead points…DO IT! What ablout Hernandez and Branch? Those guys both dropped passes that hit them in stride. The only one that can taint Tom Brady’s legacy is Tom Brady.

      • February 9th 2012 @ 10:12am
        Big Steve said | February 9th 2012 @ 10:12am | ! Report

        and Hernandez’s drop was the worst. The one to branch appeared to get a touch in flight which may have put him off a little.

        Agree with everyone else, brady will go straight to the HOF.

        In terms of “chanpionship windows” the pats appear to be reaching the end of their’s. Giants and Packers should have another 3-4 years to win more rings. But, can the Pats do anything to their defence to improve enough to get back to the superbowl. I think they may have a couple of extra picks in this draft. Are there enough young players at a high enough level to help them in the next year or two?

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