Patriots quarterback Tom Brady put on quite a show last night.  Brady threw for 517 yards and 4 touchdowns in the Patriots' 38-24 win over the Dolphins last night.  Brady’s 517 yards in 5th most all time in a single game.

It made me realize one intriguing thing about #12.

Tom Brady is the best NFL player in the last 20 years.

It's all about the Super Bowl rings.  He's got 3 of them.

In the NFL, Hall of Famers are measured by their Super Bowl rings - that’s why Joe Namath is a Hall of Famer. I’m going with the guy that has the rings.  He's got the best winning percentage by a QB in modern NFL history.  He's got the best overtime record in NFL history and is one of just four players to boast multiple Super Bowl MVP awards.

Brady is the youngest QB to win three Super Bowls.  He’s never had a losing season. In fact, his worst year was in 2002 when the Patriots went 9-7 and didn’t make the playoffs.

Brady does all of this without much of a supporting cast.  During his Super Bowl run of 3 rings in 4 years, Brady did it all without a single offensive skill position player who was voted to the Pro Bowl.

Let me give you Brady’s starting backfield and wide receivers for his Super  Bowl titles in 2002, 2004 and 2005:

  • 2002 (vs. Rams): Antowain Smith, Troy Brown, David Patten
  • 2004 (vs. Carolina): Antowain Smith, Troy Brown, Deion Branch
  • 2005 (vs. Eagles): Corey Dillon (2nd to last year), Deion Branch, David Givens

Simply put, Brady performs under pressure.  He's got a 14-5 record in the postseason with 4 trips to the Super Bowl and 3 victories with 2 Super Bowl MVPs.  He's 135-37 as a starter and is 8-1 in overtime games. He's got 32 game winning drives in the 4th quarter after the game was tied or the Patriots were trailing.

Don’t give me the Bill Belichick/System argument.  Belichick had a career record of 42-58 before Brady.

If Tom Brady isn't the best NFL player in the last 20 years, who is?