When Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement from the NFL “for good” Wednesday morning, it created an avalanche of comments and appreciation from millions across social media.
But while many sang the praises of the seven-time Super Bowl winner, others like longtime sports radio host Mike Francesa decided that he would add a little wrinkle to those serenading Brady’s NFL career. Francesa reunited with Mike and the Mad Dog co-host Chris Russo alongside Stephen A. Smith on ESPN’s First Take on Wednesday.
Brady, whose career spanned 23 seasons, won seven titles between the Patriots and the Buccaneers, earned six All-Pro selections as well as led the league in passing yards four times and touchdowns five times. Despite the quarterback’s decades of success, Francesa took his take a step further and said that Brady was not the best quarterback in the regular season nor the best going after Lombardi trophies.
Francesa took a moment to deliver the hot take that the 15-time Pro Bowler was elite because of his longevity and his will to defy the odds of his past, but that he doesn’t consider him the greatest regular season or Super Bowl quarterback ever.
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“Tom Brady made himself great,” Francesa said. “He wasn’t great. He wasn’t great in college. He lost his job, which is what fueled him his whole life. He was the most competitive person anybody ever met and he worked harder than anybody ever to be this good.”
“. . . He’s not the best regular season quarterback I’ve ever seen, Peyton Manning is,” Francesa continued. “He’s not the best Super Bowl quarterback who ever lived, Joe Montana is. What he is though is the guy who played the longest, and he won the most games. He won the most Super Bowls so he will be remembered because nobody’s gonna play 23 years and nobody’s probably ever gonna have a chance to win that many Super Bowls.”
Francesa used the example that Montana recorded a perfect 4–0 mark in Super Bowls and earned MVP honors in three of them while Brady won more championships and earned two more Super Bowl MVP honors than Montana. Manning won fewer Super Bowls (two out of four appearances), but took home more NFL MVP honors (five) than Brady, who finished with three.
Even if Brady’s longevity was a gift from the gods, and was a factor in him edging out greats like Manning and Montana in the record books, it surely helped him become one of the all-time greats. Now, he turns the page on a new chapter in his life.