Who does Tom Brady compare to?


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I'm no NFL aficionado, not by any stretch. I dip my beak as a genuine sports fan, but that's about it. Anyhow, I saw this article on MLB.com the other day titled "Legendary debate: Brady the Babe of football?" The basic upshot is an obvious one. And while the comparison across eras is always almost impossible to align, let alone across entirely different games, the challenge is an interesting one to me. 

How good is Brady? How will he be remembered? What other sporting legends can he be adequately and legitimately compared to?

Anyone have any thoughts? 

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Babe completely changed the game and revolutionized baseball at the time. Brady  has not revolutionized or changed the game in any way. I'm no Brady hater. I believe he is the greatest QB of all time, and certainly in the top 3, but Babe Ruth he is not.

Comparing him to other greats across the 4 major North American Sports doesn't work well either imo. Gretzky was so far superior to any other player of his era and of any other era with personal records (career and season)  as well as championships. Brady has the championships, personal seasonal records are not really dominated by him however.

Wilt Chamberlain was so dominant in the NBA, they had to change rules and the layout of the court just to try and slow him down. Imagine a new rule saying that when Brady has the ball, the field is 120 yards long...

Not so easy to compare, it rarely is, but Jordan-Brady makes sense for the NBA. For hockey I would say something like Roy-Brady and in baseball maybe a Clemens or Whitey Ford comparison would be apt.

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26 minutes ago, JLFIRST said:

Just in his sport alone, only comparison would be the great Joe Montana.

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i always thought montana was the best i had seen. but brady was coming closer and closer. now i think you have to put him at least level, no matter what happens today. and it would not be unfair to put him ahead of joe.

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Great answers. From God downwards. It's fascinating to me from an Aussie perspective, trying to line up Brady with the legends of Rugby League: Churchill, Gasnier, Lewis, and so on. And I think Brady sits somewhere alongside these players, in comparison. Figures like Babe Ruth seem another tier above, perhaps. Something like our Don Bradman. There's a kind of untouchable status they hold. Maybe I'm wrong. It's difficult. But, at the very least, it's fun to speculate on. 

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Just now, MoeGreene said:

Great answers. From God downwards. It's fascinating to me from an Aussie perspective, trying to line up Brady with the legends of Rugby League: Churchill, Gasnier, Lewis, and so on. And I think Brady sits somewhere alongside these players, in comparison. Figures like Babe Ruth seem another tier above, perhaps. Something like our Don Bradman. There's a kind of untouchable status they hold. Maybe I'm wrong. It's difficult. But, at the very least, it's fun to speculate on. 

the don sits above all!

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I go by championship wins as the best determinator of greatness. If Brady isn’t the best now he could be very soon. I agree he hasn’t changed the game like Chamberlain or Orr changes their sports. The Pats are known to avoid recognition of personal records and to focus on winning the game, season, and championship. That may be his contribution to the game, being more concerned with the championship than his stats.

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Brady is a winner like Jordan, clutch like Jordan but not as impactful as Jordan was. Or Babe Ruth was. Shlomo summed it up nicely though we oppose on Jordan. He took the NBA in a very different direction. Not sure Brady has done the same for the NFL. 

He’s the consummate preparer and executor and it pains my everlasting soul to watch him operate but I respect it. 

My comparison is Federer. Others were more athletic or powerful, but no one else was/is as refined. As for team sports, not an easy fit. More prolific individually than Jeter or Messier, but just as much a winner. Perhaps I’d go Tim Duncan in the end. Better than everyone else but not super flashy. 

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5 minutes ago, PatrickEwing said:

Brady is a winner like Jordan, clutch like Jordan but not as impactful as Jordan was. Or Babe Ruth was. Shlomo summed it up nicely though we oppose on Jordan. He took the NBA in a very different direction. Not sure Brady has done the same for the NFL. 

He’s the consummate preparer and executor and it pains my everlasting soul to watch him operate but I respect it. 

My comparison is Federer. Others were more athletic or powerful, but no one else was/is as refined. As for team sports, not an easy fit. More prolific individually than Jeter or Messier, but just as much a winner. Perhaps I’d go Tim Duncan in the end. Better than everyone else but not super flashy. 

federer an interesting one. he has always said laver was better than him. and that is certainly something that can be argued. laver certainly did things that federer has not managed. but federer has been extraordinary. close thing.

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On second thought, I’ll go with DiMaggio. Celebrity wife, intuitively better than anyone on the field, will be the face of the franchise long after retirement, consummate winner, generally understated. Lifetime stats aren’t comparable because of the war but year in, year out, I think it fits. 

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3 hours ago, MoeGreene said:

How good is Brady? How will he be remembered? What other sporting legends can he be adequately and legitimately compared to?

Tom Brady.... 

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1 hour ago, PatrickEwing said:

Brady is a winner like Jordan, clutch like Jordan but not as impactful as Jordan was. Or Babe Ruth was. Shlomo summed it up nicely though we oppose on Jordan. He took the NBA in a very different direction. Not sure Brady has done the same for the NFL. 

He’s the consummate preparer and executor and it pains my everlasting soul to watch him operate but I respect it. 

My comparison is Federer. Others were more athletic or powerful, but no one else was/is as refined. As for team sports, not an easy fit. More prolific individually than Jeter or Messier, but just as much a winner. Perhaps I’d go Tim Duncan in the end. Better than everyone else but not super flashy. 

I think he has though, he’s redefining how productive a player can be at 40++ years old. It could completely change longevity expectations and contract lengths as a result. 

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19 hours ago, MoeGreene said:

What other sporting legends can he be adequately and legitimately compared to?

Brady is in the most elite sporting athlete tier along with Michael Schumacher, Eddy Merckx, and Wayne Gretzky.

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Through his longevity in the sport, that is playing at such a high of a level for so long, he is to be celebrated.  Many of the quarterbacks we say are the greatest truly only have 2-4 great seasons and a lot of mediocre seasons besides that.  Comparable, yes Michael Jordan is a good one.  Derek Jeter and Mariano Riviera as well, though the Boston-area people might not like those comparisons! :o

I can't think of a football star with more gravitas.  This really has to go to another sport.  

BTW I'm not a Patriots fan. 

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I think the Derek Jeter comp is extremely apt. 

You can't compare Basketball (5 players on a team) to Football (11 offensive / 11 defensive / 11+ special teams). One player has so much more impact on basketball than any other sport (excepting solo sports). 

Both unflappable, both have that "oh no" feeling when you are rooting for the other team. 

I never doubted Jeter to come up big - same as Brady. 

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