Here’s some irony with your coffee.
A day after Peyton Manning was trumpeted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as maybe the best quarterback ever and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was named the NFL’s most valuable player for 2020, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady won his seventh Super Bowl.
Brady now has won more than one-eighth of the 55 championships held since the Super Bowl began in 1967, yet he only has been named MVP of the NFL three times.
Not like that’s not a bad number. Don’t get me wrong.
But Manning won five NFL MVP awards and only two Super Bowls, the same number his lesser quarterback brother Eli did with the Giants.
In fact, no quarterback is even close to Brady with his seven Super Bowl victories. The closest are Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw with four and Troy Aikman with three. And isn’t winning championships the point of a team game?
The Saints’ Drew Brees has more career passing yards than Brady (80,358 to 79,204), and four other players have — like Brady — three MVP awards: Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas, Brett Favre and Rodgers.
But those Super Bowl wins. My goodness. They’re a feather in Brady’s cap the size of a Bruce Springsteen-advertised Jeep.
Brady is 43, without a gray hair on his head (so it appears, though hair tint for men is rampant these days), and he has started three Super Bowls since turning 40 and five since turning 37.
At the end, he’s there. The old man and the desire.
That might make you sick of him — there’s a contradictory human response we have of loving, then hating, endless winners — but there is no way not to marvel at him.
He has defeated aging in a vicious, young man’s sport without losing that computer-like vision and efficiency that have been his hallmark skills.
Did you notice in the 31-9 rout of the Chiefs when Brady made instant reads and calmly obliterated last-second defensive moves? I did. What flashed through my mind was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 cyborg assassin, the Terminator, making digital calculations, followed by swift destruction.
Cocky Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu is a destructive force himself. He jumps around, fakes coverage and comes on real blitzes like a madman. But Brady read ‘‘the Honey Badger’’ like Winnie the Pooh.
By the end, I thought Mathieu might have to be sedated or sat upon by a Chiefs lineman, he was so upset with penalty calls and failure. Brady can do that to you.
And, remember, there never has been a quarterback anywhere close to Brady’s effectiveness at this age. Warren Moon, for example, started one game for the Chiefs at 44 (none at 43) and was terrible.
After the game, radio interviewer Jim Gray asked Brady how he had undone Father Time. Brady mentioned a few things, including his odd, liquid-laden, anti-inflammatory diet. He implied it was no mystery.
‘‘I wrote a book about it!’’ he said.
Indeed, he did.
‘‘The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance. ’’ Sounds like something a robot would enjoy.
One thing that has benefitted Brady are the rules changes from the late 1990s and early 2000s banning the late hits, low blows and pile-driving that destroyed great quarterbacks such as Joe Namath and Archie Manning.
Brady blew out his knee from just such a low blow from then-Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard in 2008. He missed the whole season after reconstructive surgery but rehabbed and has not been hurt seriously since. Would he have lasted this long in the 20th-century game? Likely not.
Then again, every current quarterback has had every advantage Brady has had. And the NFL is 100% a quarterback’s game. If you don’t have a good quarterback these days, you’re toast.
As for those who once attributed Brady’s success to his former Patriots team and bloodless coach Bill Belichick? Hmm. Brady just won a Super Bowl with a Bucs team he joined in March and had no official workouts or preseason games with. He barely knew the coaches, let alone the players.
And Belichick? His Patriots finished 7-9, third in the AFC East, missing the playoffs, to which Brady had led them for 11 consecutive seasons.
Brady’s numbers might not overwhelm you. His physique or scrambling skills, either. But his leadership and winning will.
Oh, that winning. The greatest ever, for certain.