In the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots opted to use the 199th overall pick to secure the talents of a largely unheralded quarterback out of the University of Michigan.
As you likely know, the QB in question was Tom Brady, who was expected to serve as the backup to Drew Bledsoe for the foreseeable future. However, those plans went out the window after the veteran was sidelined with a scary injury that resulted in Brady making his debut as a starter against Peyton Manning and the Colts on September 23, 2001.
The rest, as they say, is history.
That season ended with Brady raising the Lombardi Trophy after leading the Patriots to a 20-17 victory over the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, which marked the first of the six titles he’d win during his 20-year stint with the Patriots.
He’d add another ring to his collection after joining the Buccaneers in 2020, and on Wednesday, his legendary career came to an end when the 45-year-old announced his plans to retire “for good” after 23 seasons.
Truly grateful on this day. Thank you 🙏🏻❤️ pic.twitter.com/j2s2sezvSS
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) February 1, 2023
The announcement was greeted by a deluge of players and fans who left comments containing the goat emoji as a nod to Brady’s reputation as the “Greatest of All Time.”
As things currently stand, it’s hard to argue that’s not the case based on what he was able to achieve during his illustrious NFL tenure—including a number of achievements that highlight why he’s firmly cemented himself as the G.O.A.T.
The NFL records that prove Tom Brady is the best quarterback to ever play the game
While you could certainly describe Brady as a “generational talent,” using that label is arguably doing a disservice to the dominant nature of a quarterback who routinely defied time over the course of the more than two decades where he racked up some truly staggering numbers.
Only time will tell if the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, or other QBs who’ve yet to make their mark will be able to outdo Brady was everything is said and done, but there are plenty of stats that show they’ll have plenty of work to do when it comes to topping his truly dominant nature.
After all, we’re talking about a man who boasts close to 100 individual records between the regular season, playoffs, and Super Bowl—including more than a few than stand out from the rest of the pack.
Most Regular Season Touchdown Passes: 649
Brady didn’t throw his first touchdown until his third NFL start, which saw him toss two scores in a win over the Chargers.
It’s safe to say he never looked back, as the 649 TDs he threw to more than 70 different receivers during the regular season give him quite the edge over Drew Brees, who sits in second place with 571 (Aaron Rodgers, who currently boasts the highest total of any active player, sits at a relatively paltry 475).
Most Regular Season Passing Yards: 89,214
Brady passed for at least 4,000 yards in the majority of the seasons he played, which includes two campaigns where he surpassed the 5,000-yard mark.
Brees is once again the runner-up in this category with 80,358, and while Mahomes track record suggests he could give the G.O.A.T. a run for his money if he’s able to maintain his pace while sticking around for another 15 years or so, the Chiefs QB certainly has his work cut out for him.
Most Regular Season Wins: 251
Brady obviously got plenty of help from his teammates in this particular category, but the fact that he secured 251 wins in the regular season (Brett Favre and Payton Manning share the silver medal with 186) is reflective of the impressive role he played in helping his team secure the W.
Most Postseason Touchdowns: 88
It goes without saying that Brady’s regular season success had a tendency to translate to the playoffs.
Brady appeared in the Super Bowl 10 times, which meant he had plenty of chances to pad his stats a bit on the passing front. That includes 88 touchdowns he threw to 34 unique players in the 48 postseason contests he appeared in, which is close to twice as many as the 45 Rodgers and Joe Montana have to their name.
Most Postseason Passing Yards: 13,400
This is arguably the one stat on this list that shows just how different Brady was built, as the 7,339 passing yards Payton Manning threw to earn the second spot proves the G.O.A.T. existed in another galaxy while setting a record no player may ever even come close to beating.
Super Bowl MVPs: 5
Brady holds the record for most Super Bowl appearances (10) and Super Bowl wins (7), but the fact that he carried the team on his back to the point where he was named the Most Valuable Player in five of those contests is a testament to the vital role he routinely played on football’s biggest stage.
There are probably some people who thought no one would ever surpass the three MVP awards Montana won with the 49ers, and while there’s a chance someone could come along to break this mark at some point in time, it seems very, very unlikely that will end up being the case.
So, yeah, it’s safe to say Brady is the G.O.A.T.