Why Tom Brady is the GOAT over Michael Jordan

This one pains me to write, but it’s the objective truth in the eyes of many. Tom Brady, a name synonymous with dominance in the NFL, continues to make waves even as he approaches his mid-40s. While there’s been endless debate over who holds the title of the “Greatest of All Time” (GOAT) in sports, a more intriguing discussion is currently brewing. How does Brady’s legacy compare to that of legendary basketball player Michael Jordan, and the current dominance Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes?

Brady’s Storied Career

Tom Brady’s career trajectory is one that’s both inspiring and impressive. You have heard his story one way or another. After having success at Michigan, and being the 199th overall in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady went on to win seven Super Bowls.

The start of his professional career wasn’t spectacular, but Brady soon demonstrated an uncanny ability to perform under pressure, replacing injured starter Drew Bledsoe (many believed this was a huge mistake at the time) and leading the Patriots to their first Super Bowl victory. Maybe only Brady himself expected what was to come.

During his tenure with the Patriots, Brady led the team to six Super Bowl victories, with four Super Bowl MVP awards to his name. He also earned three NFL MVP awards, and after two decades of dominance with the Patriots, Brady continued on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020 where he stamped his mark as the greatest with no questions asked. Leading a different franchise while securing his seventh Super Bowl ring in February 2021.

With a career spanning over two decades, Brady holds numerous NFL records, including the most career touchdown passes and the most Super Bowl wins by any living person. His consistent control of the game and ability to deliver in high-pressure situations is what separates him on the Mount Rushmore of athletes, not just football. 

The Brady-Jordan Comparison

Comparisons between Brady and Michael Jordan, arguably the GOAT of basketball, are inevitable. Both athletes have had dominating careers in their respective sports, setting numerous records, and winning multiple championships. However, comparing athletes from different sports can be challenging due to variations in the game’s structure, rules, and competitive environment. We see it everyday in sports media. Pulling hairs to make their cases even falling outside of the game. At the end of the day, for me, it is all about the parade.

Leading an NFL team to the Super Bowl is a monumental task. In football, the reliance on team coordination is more paramount than any other team sport. A quarterback like Tom Brady must master the playbook, understand every teammate’s role, and adapt to the opposing team’s strategies. This level of leadership and teamwork is critical in football, where every play can shift the game’s outcome.

Basketball, while also team-oriented, allows individual stars like Michael Jordan to have a more direct impact on the game. A single player’s performance can often dictate the flow of the game. 

Playoff Pressure

The NFL’s single-elimination playoff format adds an unmatched level of pressure. One bad game can end a team’s championship hopes. This win-or-go-home scenario places immense stress on players, especially the quarterback, to perform flawlessly under pressure.

Conversely, the NBA’s best-of-seven series offers teams a chance to rebound from a loss. This format can forgive a bad night, which somewhat alleviates the immediate pressure that is seen in the NFL playoffs.

Career Longevity and Consistency

Tom Brady’s seven Super Bowl titles, achieved over a two-decade career, highlight the need for sustained excellence in the NFL. The physical and mental demands on football players requires consistent peak performance and adaptability over many years. The guys commitment to himself and his own TB12 method might have just been the secret sauce to edge out Jordan in the GOAT race. 

Michael Jordan’s six NBA championships are no small feat, but basketball’s nature allows for slightly longer career longevity with somewhat less physical toll compared to football. This difference underscores the challenge of maintaining top form in the NFL over a long period.

While comparing sports legends from football and basketball is complex, the unique challenges of leading an NFL team to Super Bowl victory highlight the extraordinary achievements of Tom Brady. The pressure-packed playoff format, the critical importance of team dynamics, and the demand for consistent excellence over a long career make Brady’s success a compelling case in the GOAT debate. In the end, whether you side with Brady or Jordan, the discussion highlights that they are the benchmark of elite in their respective sports.

The Brady-Mahomes Rivalry

While the Brady-Jordan comparison provides fascinating insights, another noteworthy comparison is that between Brady and the Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes, despite being only 28 years old, has already made a significant impact on the NFL, winning three Super Bowl titles and earning the Super Bowl MVP award three times.

The young quarterback’s rise to prominence has been meteoric. Much like Brady, Mahomes has shown a knack for performing under pressure and has already broken several records. His ability to make big plays, combined with his leadership skills when the teams back is against the wall is what makes him elite. Mahomes’ achievements so far put him ahead of where both Brady and Jordan were at the same age. 

However, whether Mahomes can maintain this performance level throughout his career and eventually surpass Brady’s legacy remains to be seen. Right now it is forecasted and hoped for by many. It is all based on the potential of what is to come. Brady’s run of 4 Super Bowls from 37-44 years old has not and most likely will not be duplicated. With that being said, Tom Brady owns the Head-To-Head matchup in the Super Bowl LV, something Brady can hold over him until the end of time. 

The Intangible Qualities of the GOAT

While statistics and championships are essential in the GOAT debate, intangible qualities also play a significant role. Both Brady and Jordan possess an unparalleled competitive spirit and a relentless drive for perfection. They’ve demonstrated exceptional leadership, resilience, and an ability to perform under pressure, often turning the tide in their teams’ favor during crucial moments. These qualities are what set them apart from their peers and contribute significantly to their GOAT status.

Similarly, Mahomes has exhibited these qualities early in his career. His ability to rally his team from seemingly impossible situations, combined with his extraordinary play-making abilities, suggests that he is well on his way to building a legacy comparable to Brady and Jordan. 

The Verdict

Deciding who is the ultimate GOAT is subjective and often influenced by personal bias. Some may argue that Brady’s seven Super Bowl titles make him the clear choice. Others might point to Jordan’s two 3-peats as the best individual runs in sports. As the nostalgia waves, Mahomes’ fans are strongly suggesting we are currently watching the next great one. 

In the end, it’s clear that all three athletes have inked their name in history, setting numerous records, and leaving an indelible mark on their respective sports. While the GOAT debate continues to rage on, one thing is certain: we are fortunate to witness these athletes’ extraordinary careers, and we will argue who is the best of all time until our faces turn blue. 


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