Do you think Tom Brady is losing a little bit of that clutch gene that he had once upon a time when the Patriots were winning Super Bowls? According to an ESPN survey, that included 320 NFL player votes, Brady is still Mr. Clutch in their eyes by far.
The question was posed simply: ‘Which quarterback would you want in your huddle, with two minutes, and the Super Bowl on the line?’
Upcoming Patriots free agent Julian Edelman said simply “look at his resume.” Brady gathered 128 votes of a possible 320, which is good for 40% of the vote. The next closest was Manning with 86 votes, which is good for 27%.
In Brady’s 14 years in the NFL, he has played in five Super Bowls leading the Patriots back from fourth-quarter deficits, or ties, in his first three Super Bowl’s to win the game. In the regular season and post season combined, Brady has led his team to 41 game-winning drives.
Brady has a total of 30 game-winning drives when trailing in the fourth quarter. That is the fifth most behind John Elway (43), Peyton Manning (40), Dan Marino (37) and Joe Montana (31). Brady also took the Patriots down the field in the closing minutes of both Super Bowl’s to put the team up, but the defense came up small.
Brady is passionate and inspiring in the huddle, but always knows to keep his cool, which is a rare combination that makes him special.
“He is a very calm guy when the game is on the line,” Patriots rookie receiver Kenbrell Thompkins said. “He just says, ‘We live for these moments. Let’s do it.'”
There are elements to Brady’s game that are slipping such as pocket awareness and accuracy on the long ball, but his clutch gene hasn’t left quite yet. Brady took a questionable receiving core this season and went 6-1 in games decided by three points or less.
Sometimes fans aren’t truly in tune with the kind of play we have had in New England at that position for 14 years and running and the window is closing. It’s time to get Brady his last ring, or two, and stack him up with talent so he doesn’t need to throw perfect balls all the time.
I’ll admit I’m part of the problem. When Brady overthrew Edelman in the AFC Championship game twice, I blamed him, but if it’s not Edelman, but instead Larry Fitzgerald is that ball overthrown at all? I’m torn because an overthrow is on the quarterback, but why is Edelman your number one option on the long-ball?
If Brady doesn’t win another Super Bowl in these next few seasons, he’ll unfortunately go down in history as a great quarterback, but fall short of any discussions of Montana-Brady. It’s something I don’t want to think about, but it should be something that Brady and Belichick are aware of. At this point it’s about legacy for those two and one more Super Bowl win can make it an interesting discussion.