We can finally stop the nonsense about some stench being attached to Tom Brady's legacy, the idiocy of calling him a system quarterback, the ridiculousness of saying that Deflategate will define his career. Child, please! After what we just saw in Super Bowl LI, it's time to put all of that gibberish aside. The man is simply the best quarterback to ever play in the NFL.
After the New England Patriots scored 25 consecutive points to send the game into overtime, the first such extra period in Super Bowl history, Brady coolly, calmly led his offense 75 yards in eight plays to secure the victory over the Atlanta Falcons to win his record fourth Super Bowl MVP as the confetti fell from the ceiling in celebration of their 34-28 overtime win.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Falcons slapped New England silly and took a 28-3 lead. But if you were one of those folks doing the Dirty Bird, I'm guessing you didn't know what you were really up against. Because if you were at all familiar with how Bill Belichick and Brady get down, you had to know that the game was far from over.
The Patriots offense, which looked so out of sync, caught fire. And once Julian Edelman made that ridiculous catch, I couldn't help but hear the voice of the late, great Dennis Green saying, "They are who we thought they were!" And what they were, and are, are the baddest cats this side of Pablo Escobar.
"We never felt out of it," Brady would say after the game.
Unequivocally the most decorated and accomplished quarterback of the Super Bowl era, his five Super Bowl titles says it all. He's now tied with the great defensive end Charles Haley, as the only players ever to own five Super Bowl rings.
"He’s the leader, the general, the best ever and that is the end of the story," wide receiver Danny Amendola said after the game.
And there's no debating it. End of story, Brady stands above every quarterback on the NFL's Mount Rushmore of signal callers.
Brady, in the face of relentless pressure and having been sacked five times, stood tall in the pocket all game, connecting on 43 of his 62 passing attempts for 466 yards and two touchdowns. And as he always does, he made an obscure teammate emerge from the shadows to play a pivotal role in their championship victory. Running back James White caught 14 passes for 110 yards and touchdown, in addition to his six carries for 29 yards and two more scores, including both the game-tying touchdown with under a minute left in regulation and the game-winner in overtime. His 14 receptions broke the Super Bowl record previously held by Demaryius Thomas.
Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offense was humming up until the fourth quarter, tearing New England's league-leading defense the shreds. But NFL games, and Super Bowls, especially against the Patriots, are not decided in three quarters. After Ryan, who completed 17 of his 23 attempts for 284 yards and 2 touchdowns, connected with Tevin Coleman for a six-yard score early in the third, the wheels fell off of Atlanta's explosive and seemingly unstoppable offensive machine.
From there on out, it was all about the incandescent brilliance of Tom Brady. And I hope everyone, Brady-haters included, appreciated what we all witnessed.
I am not a New England fan, but I know greatness when I see it. Regardless of where your loyalties lie, it's time to step out of the confinement of your fandom and give props where they are due. Belichick's defense weathered the Atlanta storm, and when the game mattered the most, when the most crucial plays needed to be made, you knew how it was going down.
You can say what you want about Tom Brady, and there are many who will continue to vilify and diminish his remarkable achievements, no matter how dumb it sounds when holding his resume up against anyone else.
To paraphrase my man Ecstasy from Whodini, you can say what you want just spell his name right.
The debate is over. Brady's the best. Live with it.