Is Tom Brady starting to decline?
It's a topic we wrote about early last Monday, a post that just preceded a national conversation about whether Brady was still a top-five quarterback.
Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine said that it's "utterly ridiculous" to say Brady is outside of the top five, while Brady says that we're focused on the wrong measures for success. ProFootballFocus' compelling article on Brady focused mostly on stats. Brady said that's beside the point, when asked what statistic is most important when evaluating a quarterback.
"Other than wins and losses?" Brady answered to a question asked by Tom Curran of CSN New England.
Brady wouldn't talk stats directly, but he then got his message across.
"I think that people pay to watch the games on TV because there's a scoreboard," Brady said Monday. "I mean, I think that's what it's all about. If there were no scoreboard, then people wouldn't tune in and watch. There's only one stat that matters. The competition in the NFL is very high, extremely high on a daily basis."
"The guys that I've been around that find ways to motivate themselves, those are the best players. They don't have to wait for some Sunday in September to find out if they're competitive. You find that out in March. You figure that out in February, at the end of February when no one else really is working. The competition of what's inside of you and how that's gonna really help your team and build your team to be more competitive. That's all infectious."
These are the comments we'd expect to hear out of Brady. A cynic could call it self-serving and believe you can separate out a quarterback's performance from wins and losses. But it's worth noting that Brady gets at the inherent difficulties in evaluating all football players, especially at the game's most important position.
"You can't sit here and compare one year to another year or compare this player to that player," Brady said. "Winning games is the most important thing certainly for this organization and when you come here you learn that pretty quickly. Whatever matters to you as an individual it's far distant from what the team goals are. And the team goal is one thing. To score more points than the other team."