Curran: Nobody's done it better than Brady


INDIANAPOLISTom Brady arrived in Indianapolis this week with the nice, clean record of 140-40 as a starter.Thats only 100 games over .500, including the playoffs, in his 10 years as a starting QB. An average year for Brady has been 14-4.No other quarterback has ever been 100 games over .500. No other quarterback has even come close.Brady has a regular-season winning percentage of .780. Behind Brady are Roger Staubach at .739, Joe Montana (.713) and Ben Roethlisberger (.708). Those three are the only others among the top 50 winningest NFL QBs who won more than 70 percent of their starts.Peyton Manning? 150-77, including the playoffs. Terry Bradshaw? 121-55. Only Montana (133-54) and Staubach (96-36) even sniffed the level Bradys reached.Brady and Montana are tied for career playoff wins (16) and Bradys a win on Sunday away from joining Montana and Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks to win four Super Bowls.In short, no quarterbacks ever won more often than Brady.Passing? So far, Brady has thrown 336 touchdowns and 134 interceptions in his career (again, including playoffs). The only guy with a prayer of being as prolific and efficient is Aaron Rodgers, who is already at 147-42.To be 2-to-1 in TD-INT is rare. Brett Favre threw 336 picks in the regular season. Dan Marino was 420-252. Peyton Manning is a smidge over 2-to-1 (399-198). Joe Montana was 273-199.Is the game different now? No doubt. The rules that now protect quarterbacks and receivers make an afternoon of pitch-and-catch a lot easier than when Montana and Marino were working. Its not even comparable to what Bradshaw, Staubach and Johnny Unitas dealt with. Even Rodgers NFL experience is going to be different from what Manning and Brady saw until about 2005, when an emphasis on stopping contact with receivers was implemented.When you take an objective look at his career - three Super Bowl wins, two regular-season MVPs, two Super Bowl MVPs, a record 21-game winning streak including playoffs from 2003 into 2004, the only undefeated 16-game regular season, the single-season record for touchdown passes, the won-loss record, the TD-INT ratio - and you compare it to the other greats, it not only stands up to theirs, it stands out.And when you look at the personnel surrounding the men who are in the conversation with Brady, and the Hall of Famers that Montana and Bradshaw were throwing or handing off to, it is eye-opening.Put it all together and the notion that words like one of or among or in the conversation are applied to Tom Brady when discussing who the greatest quarterback of all-time discredit what hes done.Nobodys ever done it better than Brady. Hes been the NFLs Michael Jordan.Now, this brings us to a simple question: With all the praise and genuflecting directed to Brady, can it be alleged by a sane person without a Patriots tattoo on his buttocks that Brady is actually underrated?Yes. Because I have no such tattoo and I do think Brady has too many qualifiers attached to his NFL resume. I have theories for why.The first? He didnt enter the NFL on a golden chariot, like Manning or Bradshaw or John Elway. Because he was the 199th pick in the 2000 draft, the notion that Brady was an important cog in the Patriots machine but not the whole, damn transmission clung to him even as he won three Super Bowls in four seasons as a starter.You think all the experts who told everyone Brady was a borderline NFL player three years earlier were going to acknowledge thatby 2004he was the leagues best player? Of course not.Imagine if Peyton Manning led game-winning drives in the final two minutes of his first two Super Bowls, as Brady did in 2001 and 2003 Thered have been coffee table books made. Maybe a miniseries.Instead, even in New England, those two drives have been discounted by analysts because A) the Patriots were tied in those games and not trailing and B) they only led to game-winning field goals, not touchdowns. Im not making that up.The other dynamic thats worked against Brady has been the Patriots success and the hand of Bill Belichick. By the time 2004 ended, folks were all set with the Patriots' annual, tight-lipped march to Super Bowl wins.Too much of a good thing is a turnoff. The Patriots got to that point. And the national medias carping about Belichicks brusque or arrogant demeanor gave people the fuel they needed to turn the Patriots from a beloved team in 2001 to a hated one by 2007.Then came Spygate and -- in the wake of that -- the Patriots unapologetic blitzkrieg on the league throughout that regular season. They drove a tank over the rest of the NFL and Brady was at the controls. Not a lotta love for the guy driving the tank.Off the field, Bradys an insanely hard worker who eschews the personal limelight.The Patriots' director of player personnel, Nick Caserio, said on Tuesday: Heres a guy, hes been to how many of these things? Hes worked as hard as he ever has this week and the week before getting himself ready to play. So if someone like that is doing it, if youre a backup player or some kind of role player, how do you not kind of fall in line?Brady hates speaking at podiums, doesnt big-time teammates, and is unfailingly polite to the media whether youre from the Daily Bugle or the New York Times. He hasnt sold out his image with a slew of endorsements. Hes never been a pig at the trough at contract time, even if he could have been.But the juicily entertaining pap of referencing his wife, Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, or his endorsement of UGGs or his questionable personal fashion decisions, win out over the boring assessments of his work ethic, his performance and how he treats people.Poor Tom Brady? That would be a stretch.But this Sunday, as Brady attempts to go 101 games over .500, it may be worth taking an extra second or two to watch No. 12 closely.Theres never been a better NFL quarterback than him.

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