Tom Brady Had a Good Season, He Just Didn't Have a Tom Brady Season

Note: I'm not going to beat the dead horse anymore. Spygate, and Deflategate were scandals, and whether they were legitimate, or not, they are enough to ruin a player, and coach's legacy. For all intents, and purposes, we'll just ignore these scandals, and objectively look at Tom Brady without those scandals hanging above him. It's not that I agree, or disagree-I just don't want this MyTake to be focusing on these scandals. We'll simply look at Brady from an athletic standpoint, and how effective he still is as a Quarterback.

Tom Brady Had a Good Season, He Just Didn't Have a Tom Brady Season

For anyone remotely familiar with the National Football League(NFL), you know who Peyton Manning was.

Tom Brady Had a Good Season, He Just Didn't Have a Tom Brady Season

Peyton Manning was arguably the greatest Quarterback to ever play the game. He had regular season records for virtually any statistic, and he was simply a phenom. However, there was one dark cloud which hung over Manning for his entire career: His performance in the postseason. Many people I knew would state the following about Manning: "Peyton Manning is one of the best to touch the pigskin, but he sucks in the playoffs." I would refute back "He doesn't suck in the playoffs, he just isn't Peyton Manning in the playoffs." And that statement was dead to rights accurate. He did above average in the postseason-better than a majority of Quarterbacks-but compared to his normal Peyton Manning self, he wasn't near as effective in the playoffs as he was in the regular season.

Fast forward to the 2018-2019 NFL season, and I feel like I'm experiencing De Ja Vu, except now the guy's name is Tom Brady. "Tom Brady sucks this season", I hear people say. I've even came across Patriots fans who sighed to me "I knew Brady would suck eventually", and other nonsense.


Tom Brady doesn't "suck", and he's never "sucked." In this 2018 regular season, he didn't "suck" at all. What happened? He just hasn't been playing in the cream of the crop tier. Now, he's playing in the next tier down-and arguably two tiers down from what he normally does.

Tom Brady Had a Good Season, He Just Didn't Have a Tom Brady Season

In other words, Tom Brady is still doing good-he's just not playing like Tom Brady anymore. And for some NFL fans, that's enough to fill your head with a big dose of cognitive dissonance.

What happens, is you get used to legendary athletes playing at such an absurdly high level of performance for such a long time, that when they finally take it down a notch, people overreact. People act as if the legend is now playing like a bench-warmer. People simply don't know how to accurately assess a situation without having a knee-jerk reaction.

Tom Brady Had a Good Season, He Just Didn't Have a Tom Brady Season

Here is the good news for Patriots fans(and bad news for everyone else): Tom Brady isn't the main reason the Patriots are winning. They still finished the season with an 11-5 record, despite the fact Tom Brady may have had his worst season as a starter to date. This was same record they finished with in the 2008-2009 season with Matt Cassel as their Starting Quarterback for virtually the entire season. Easy schedule, or not, missing the postseason, or not- 11-5 is 11-5. Bill Belichick is the mad scientist in the lab, and he finds a way to win-even when it seems inevitable. The Patriots are still in the postseason, and while a Super Bowl victory looks very unlikely for them at this point, we all know anything can happen when the playoffs get here, especially for the Patriots.

So, what about Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr.? Let's take a look at the numbers he has put up this season.

The good news for Pats fans, is Game 16 was arguably his best game of the season. Against the Jets(mind you, the Jets), he made 72.5 percent of his passes, threw for 250 Yards, had four Touchdown Passes, and had a Quarterback Rating of 133.8. However, some might argue "but it was the Jets...", and I think that's a valid point. I mean, the are the Jets not arguably the worst team this season?

The bad news for Pats fans, is the game before(against the Bills) was not only his worst game of the season, it might have been the worst game of his career. And without a doubt, I think we can say this was Brady's worst December in his career. Similar to Brady's performance against the Bills in the 2003-2004 season opener, Brady this time around completed 54.2 percent of his passes, 126 Passing Yards, one Touchdown Pass, two Interceptions, and a whopping 48.3 Quarterback Rating. Yikes! Backup Quarterbacks rarely do that bad, let alone the "GOAT"(as they call him).

Before going into the stats, I'm obviously going to exclude his 2000-2001 season(rookie year), and 2008-2009 season. In 2000, he only played one game for three Pass Attempts, and for 2008, he was out with a knee injury the first game of the season, and that was the only game he played. I'll go ahead, and include the 2016-2017 season, despite the fact he missed the first four games due to a suspension from the NFL. Missing 25 percent of the season isn't a total stat killer, although it did shake things up a bit for the Patriots, even though they won the Super Bowl that season.

Tom Brady Had a Good Season, He Just Didn't Have a Tom Brady Season

Tom Brady's Basic Season Stats

Completion Percentage: 64%(17th among qualifiers in NFL)

Passing Yards: 4,335(7th in NFL)

Touchdown Passes: 29(10th in NFL)

Interceptions: 11(15th fewest in NFL)

Quarterback Rating: 97.7(12th among qualifiers in NFL)

Just looking at the most basic stats used to evaluate a Quarterback, he's doing above average, but as I've stated before, it's just not Tom Brady. It's not even close to Tom Brady. What's remarkable from these stats, is how many Interceptions he's thrown this season. Tom Brady is usually remarkable at avoiding interceptions, mainly due to his unpredictable targets, and absurdly fast-release. Last season, he threw eight Interceptions, and people were outraged at how many he had thrown-let alone throwing eleven. And it's not like he had an absurd number of Touchdown Passes-he only threw 29 the whole season, so the ratio really isn't that impressive either.

Tom Brady's Advanced Stats-If you want to read up on the New Gen Advanced Stats, you'll have to visit the professional football reference website. I won't go into the details here. In the parentheses, I will also rank these stats compared to his 17 legitimate regular seasons as a starter(again, excluding 2000, and 2008).

Yards Per Attempt Index: 109(11/17)

Net Yards Per Attempt: 116(10/17)

Completion Percentage Index: 108(11/17)

Passing Touchdown Percentage Index: 106(15/17)

Interception Percentage Index: 108(15/17)

Passer Rating Index: 111(13/17)

According to the advanced Next Gen statistics, Tom Brady didn't have his worst season as a starter this season.

However, there is a caveat to be considered: The game has changed since Tom Brady began playing. From 2000-2005, the game was much less of a passing game than it is these days, so the basic stats are misleading, which means the Next Gen stats could also be misleading. Sure, Tom Brady didn't come close to cracking 4,000 Passing Yards in the 2001-2002 season, but hardly anyone did that season. Teams passed less in the Bush Jr. Days. This season alone, we've seen two Quarterbacks throw for over 5,000 Passing Yards.

Approximate Value

Approximate Value(AV) is an advanced Next Gen Stats created by a statistician on the Profootballreference.com. It is described as follows:

"AV is not meant to be a be-all end-all metric. Football stat lines just do not come close to capturing all the contributions of a player the way they do in baseball and basketball. If one player is a 16 and another is a 14, we can't be very confident that the 16AV player actually had a better season than the 14AV player. But I am pretty confident that the collection of all players with 16AV played better, as an entire group, than the collection of all players with 14AV."

"Essentially, AV is a substitute for --- and a significant improvement upon, in my opinion --- metrics like 'number of seasons as a starter' or 'number of times making the pro bowl' or the like. You should think of it as being essentially like those two metrics, but with interpolation in between. That is, 'number of seasons as a starter' is a reasonable starting point if you're trying to measure, say, how good a particular draft class is, or what kind of player you can expect to get with the #13 pick in the draft. But obviously some starters are better than others. Starters on good teams are, as a group, better than starters on bad teams. Starting WRs who had lots of receiving yards are, as a group, better than starting WRs who did not have many receiving yards. Starters who made the pro bowl are, as a group, better than starters who didn't, and so on. And non-starters aren't worthless, so they get some points too."

You can read on how it is calculated on the website link I posted above.

With that being said, according to Career AV, Peyton Manning is the greatest NFL player of all time, with Tom Brady as a close second. However, since longevity is taken into consideration, it's arguable that Tom Brady could surpass Peyton Manning this postseason in AV because of how close they are at this point.

The 2018-2019 AV isn't put out yet(it's usually updated the day after the Super Bowl), but it's estimated this season is Brady's worst AV year, with the exception of the 2002-2003 season(widely regarded the worst season of his career as a starter).

My Conclusion: This is arguably the worst season of Tom Brady's Career as a Starting Quarterback in the NFL. However, as crazy as this sounds, his worst season is still better than most Quarterbacks will have in any given season.

Common Rebuttals from the Tom Brady Nut-Huggers: It's okay to choke on his nuts, but you have to objectively look at the guy too.

"Tom Brady didn't have any weapons this year, so of course his stats are lacking"

It's not that this isn't a good point, and it's a fair argument. It's true for any Quarterback-Quarterbacks need effective offensive talent to post good stats. However, he still did have Rob Gronkowski, Josh Gordon for a little bit, Julian Edelman, and now Philip Dorsett is showing up big. On top of this, Rex Burkhead has been a great screen-pass guy to go to. In other words, he had mediocre talent, just not good, or elite talent to help him on offense.

What really grinds my gears about this argument, is many of these same fanatics always made the comment "Brady makes his weapons", or "Brady doesn't need weapons." Funny how that works, isn't it? Suddenly, Brady can't play without weapons? Suddenly, Brady doesn't "make weapons"? Stay consistent people. If he's not making weapons in 2018, he damn sure wasn't making them in 2016, 2010, or 2001.

"Stats are Misleading"

And here we have the laziest argument out of all sports arguments. "Stats are misleading", or "they depend on other people." Of course they are-they're misleading in any sport, especially team sports. They almost always depend on other people. In baseball, your Runs Batted-In(RBI) total is directly influenced by who bats in front of you. In basketball, it's hard to rack up many points with a team full of stars, since everyone wants to be a ball-hog. In hockey, you can only score so many points in the first place, let alone with puck-hogs, and your position may not allow you to score as many points anyway.

My points being, even though stats are a little misleading, they're generally good barometers for how effective someone is. There is a reason why the greatest athletes often produce the best stats in sports-because they're the greatest athletes, that's why! Football is no different. For Quarterbacks, you have to depend on Wide Receivers to rack up Passing Yards, and big running teams will substitute Passing Touchdowns for Rushing Touchdowns, but the best Quarterbacks tend to put up the best stats. And ironically, Tom Brady is no exception-look at his career stats. He has surpassed nearly everyone with almost every player statistically speaking. Team stats are team stats-that's why I don't use them to evaluate individual players. Football stats are partially team driven, but still more individual than anything else.

"The Patriots still went 11-5"

And again, let's look at how silly it is to pin one of the biggest team sports on one person. I don't care if Quarterbacks are the most important position, or not, they can't play defense, they can't guarantee a receiving corps will make great plays, they rarely run effectively, and most importantly, they don't coach. Give the 11-5 record praise to Bill Belichick, not Tom Brady-or Matt Cassel for that matter.

What do you all think about Tom Brady this season? Leave your thoughts below.



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Most Helpful Girl

  • Tom Brady sucks. Ok, he doesn’t suck, but I’ve never liked him. I think he’s an overrated prima donna. Best quarterback in the NFL currently is Drew Brees. Brees is also a team player and a gracious winner. And the Matt Cassel season is proof that the patriots can still win with or without Brady. He’s not the greatest of all time no matter how many super bowl rings he has. Team wins doesn’t make him a great player. It just means he plays on a winning team.

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Most Helpful Guys

  • Wow, this was in-depth, solid effort.

    Tom Brady nut-hugger here... so... inarguably a down year for him. I think so many variables are involved that it’s tough to really say the actual cause. I really DON’T feel like most of it is Brady, even objectively. I’m not seeing the “Kellerman Cliff” yet. I forget which game it was, but it was definitely in December, and Brady threw an absolute DART to Cordarrelle Patterson for a TD, and I was like “this year... it’s not Brady. Brady still has it.” It’s not like that last Peyton Manning season where his arm was a noodle from the nerve problem and I believe he was playing on a torn quadricep as well. The arm is still there for Brady.

    Honestly, I think it starts with the defense. In Boston we’re all up in arms about the poor defense, and the rebuttal you get is that they give up a lot of yardage but buckle down in the red zone and don’t give up the big play outside of it, so they don’t give up a lot of points. I can appreciate that but I think it gets discounted how much that impacts time of possession, resting the opponent’s defense, tiring your own defense, and it just feels like the other team is always dictating the terms of the game. Dont’a Hightower has been a ghost this year, he’s obviously not physically well. I’m convinced Belichick got jumped TWICE by Mike Vrabel for LBs in the last draft, for Rashaan Evans and Harvey Langi. Like banged up Hightower, good but not great Van Noy, and running-downs-only-ass Elandon Roberts could NOT have been the plan for this year. A late round LB Ja’Whaun Bentley looked good in the preseason but got hurt and put on IR. Elephant in the room: “draft guru” Belichick has been absent the last 5 years or so, and it’s starting to show. Defensive backfield has been surprisingly solid though, particularly at corner, so that’s a lone defensive bright spot.

    Then when you get to the offense... Gronk is clearly banged up and a shell of his former self. Edelman was out the first four games and is coming off an ACL, so he hasn’t been as sharp, plus he’s on the wrong side of 30 and has historically taken a beating. We were supposed to have Jeremy Hill, he would’ve been a big help. James White is excellent but you can’t give him the ball every play. Rex Burkhead was on IR most of the year. Sony Michel has been pretty good but he was banged up a while too. Offensive line has been ok at times, not so good at others. Strong defensive lines still terrorize the Pats’ passing game. Josh Gordon was fun while he lasted, but we knew that would have a short shelf life.

    Brady himself, like I said, I’m not stressing the arm strength. I’ll never doubt what’s between his ears, and there’s still no one I’d rather have at QB with the game on the line. His stats are down, I think, a lot in part to not having a healthy Gronk and the Edelman we’re used to seeing. Amendola is another security blanket they let walk. I think Brady skipping all the OTAs and whatnot didn’t help. Gronk on the TB12 program looks like a bust too... QBs can get away without lifting weights, guys who have to block and break tackles, not so much.

    We’ve had a hell of a run watching these guys, so I’m not complaining. When you piss and moan all year and still end up with a Top-2 seeding in your conference, you gotta remember what it was like in 1990, and just count your blessings, lmao. I don’t see Super Bowl #6 in the cards this year, I think the Saints or Rams smoke whoever gets there with them, and I’m all set with making Super Bowls just to lose them. I’d rather get a feel-good divisional round win, bow out gracefully to a better KC team in the AFCCG, and get back at it next season with a better plan.

    Brady is still the man until you hear otherwise from me, lmao.

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    • Regarding the defense, their defense has struggled since last season. However, the Patriots' defense was dismal last season, and they still went to the Super Bowl. On this note, defense has nothing to do with a Quarterback's statistics anyway.

      It does appear the Patriots have had banged up offensive weapons, and like I said, it's not that I don't agree with that argument-it's just that it proves Tom Brady needs offense weapons. to rack up some stats. And for the longest time, I hears his fans chant "he doesn't need weapons"(which has never been true).

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    • As you know, the Patriots won't face the Colts in the postseason no matter what, because they have the lowest seed in the AFC, and the Chiefs get to face the lowest seed in the postseason.

      So, between the Texans, Chargers, and Ravens, who do you want to face as a Patriots fan in the AFC Division Round? If I were a Patriots fan, I would easily want to face the Ravens, despite the history with the Ravens, and Patriots in the playoffs.

      I would say your worst bet is facing the Chargers. Sure, they might be a Number 5 Seed, but it's misleading, since they have a 12-4 record (I think seeding should only be based on win-loss record). The Chargers are a serious Super Bowl threat.

    • Yeah, I’d agree with all of that. Despite the fairly recent nightmares involving Ravens laundry, the Pats fare well against rookie QBs historically, so I think they could scheme against Lamar Jackson to keep him in front of them and stop his running, and force him to pass and hopefully be inefficient or make mistakes/turnovers. Tough defense, so you can’t count on this year’s Pats team to put too much up on the board, I’d say you’d probably have to keep Baltimore to 17-20 points to win.

      The Chargers are definitely not given the respect they deserve, they’re a better team than the Pats this year from what I’ve seen, but I’ve had a crazy fall and watched less football this season, so I can’t speak on them with too much authority.

      The Texans could be a tough out, just on the logic that the Pats beat them in the first game, and it’s tough to beat anyone twice in a year in the NFL. That Houston D Line looks so scary on paper but they never seem to show up vs the Pats, but if they ever broke out, and they’re due for it, that’s the exact type of thing that can give the Pats offense fits.

  • I don't think that there is any doubt Tom Brady is as effective a quarterback at his age as any quarterback in the league. If he doesn't feel it, there is no need for him to retire. But if they want another Superbowl, they need to get him more receiving weapons. Gronk is pretty much done. We knew Gordon was not going to work out. Edelman can't do it by himself and James White is only a running back who gives him options out of the backfield. The defense is fine. Belichick will always have them playing above their pay grade.

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    • The crazy thing is, as long as Bill Belichick is their Head Coach, that at least gives them nine wins per season.

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What Guys Said 11

  • I could care less about Brady's recent issues on the field. New England just finished what was likely their worst season since 2001. And it resulted in the No. 2 seed. Did I mention they play in the worst division in the NFL? That's six games per year against the Dolphins, Bills and Jets.

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    • That's actually a little bit of a myth.

      Since the 2001-2002 season, the AFC is ranked 4/8 as far as difficulty from the bottom three teams in the division.

      So, the when it comes to division play, the Patriots have actually had it about average compared to everyone else since the dynasty began.

    • AFC East is what I meant.

    • Not to take anything away from New England's greatness. And they are just that: "Great". That doesn't change the fact that the other 3 teams SUCK and that only helped matters for the Patriots for the last 18 years. Lol

  • Tom wants to break his tie with Bart Starr for most NFL titles at five. If not for a couple of miracle passes from Eli, he'd be looking to break Otto Graham's professional football record of seven championships.

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    • Yes, I figured as such.

      It's stupid to give credit to ONE player for championship titles anyway, even if they play for the most important position on the field. With this logic I see people spew, I suppose Trent Dilfer, Nick Foles, and Brad Johnson were/are better than Dan Marino? The Eli Manning example is perfect for this too.

    • Unfortunately in the NFL people are usually judged by championships. In baseball you had guys like Ted Williams and Ernie Banks who never won yet are universally considered among the greatest ever. In the NFL Archie Manning was probably a better QB than Eli ever was, but since Archie never won anything he will always be considered #3 in the family.

    • I think it's absurd too. Football is just as much of a team sport as baseball too.

  • Great job, but none of this matters, because they have one of the bye weeks again. I don't like or hate the Patriots, but since their dynasty began in 2001, the Patriots have never failed to reach the Super Bowl from the #1 Seed or #2 Seed.

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    • Here are the eight seasons since the 2001-2002 season that the Patriots have made the Super Bowl (all of them with a First-Round BYE): 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2017.

      In all eight of those seasons, they had a much better roster than they do this season. In all eight of those seasons, Tom Brady played better than he has this season.

      This is the arguably the worst Patriots season since the dynasty began. It might not be their worst season record-wise (11-5), but they also had one of the easiest schedules in the NFL, and the rest of the AFC East division hit a new rock-bottom.

      I don't see them getting past the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Round (my predicted AFC Championship matchup). First of all, the Patriots will be in Kansas City, not Foxborough, which is a bigger deal than people realize. Second of all, the Patriots were playing much better football, and had a healthier roster when they faced each other earlier in the season-and even then, almost blew a huge lead, and came a few passes away from losing the game. Third of all, Tom Brady looked better when they played, and he just came off the worst December in his career.

      I just don't see them making it this year.

  • He is still a Field General. He knows how to read the defense and manage the game. I’m not sure why people are panicking.

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    • He hasn't been reading defenses near as good as he normally does though. Not even close. That's why his Touchdown Pass/Interception Ratio is 29/11. That's terrible for him.

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    • The Head Coach leads the team more than the Quarterback does.

      Like I've said twice already, give the credit to Bill Belichick.

    • I’m going to give the credit to both

  • Well, he’s what - like 42? He can’t be top of the game forever

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    • He's 41 years old, but he played one of the best seasons of his career last year, at age 40. I don't think 41 is REALLY that much different than 40.

    • You’re right, but he’s going to start slowing down at some point.

    • He already has started slowing down.

      I think he's secretly been injured this entire season, and he's not telling anyone about it. He looks so inaccurate with his passes, and he is throwing it right into the opposing team's arms this season.

  • he is scripted to win to become the goat with 6 chips just like mj.

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  • Cuz he didn't deflate the football

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  • brady is a certified pussy!

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  • He is old now

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    • He was old last season, but that didn't stop him from playing one of the best seasons of his career.

  • guhguhguhguhguhguhg
    patriots, gross

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  • American sports.

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