Tom Brady turned 40 on Thursday. And if you don't know, I'm a huge Brady guy. Ask anybody. So I kind of wanted to get him something. I know he's into healthy eating, but let's be serious; his juicer probably costs more than my car. So in lieu of a fine (and expensive) kitchen appliance, I've decided to go the more creative route. Here are my top 40 Tom Brady moments of all time, with a little help from Patriots superfan Justin Marble and Evan Lazar. I know, I know. Making your own present is cute when it's your 2-year-old. A little different coming from a grown man.
40) 2016 AFC Championship Game
39) Avenge me! AVENGE!!!!
You'll never truly avenge a Super Bowl loss (or two), but it was pretty cool to see Brady help set up the last-second, game-winning Stephen Gostkowski field goal against the New York Giants in 2015.
38) Bye, Marty
The Patriots knocked off the 14-2 Chargers in the 2006 AFC Divisional Round (thanks, Troy Brown). The Chargers fired head coach Marty Schottenheimer shortly thereafter. Brady beat Schotty's replacement (Norv Turner) in the 2007 AFC title game. And really, the Patriots nearly won the Super Bowl in 2006 with a receiving corps of Jabar Gaffney, Reche Caldwell and a barely-there Brown (who did make that great play, though).
37) His first time (a.k.a., Brady-Manning I)
36) 2004 Divisional Round Game
35) He caught a touchdown pass
34) An inflating start
33) Behind the Music: Super Bowl Shuffle
32) Rally to beat Saints in 2013
31) Defending the title
30) 11 TDs in two games
Obviously, 2007 was a very special year for No. 12. But often forgotten during the Pats' perfect season was the back-to-back games against Dallas and Miami, in which Brady threw 11 total touchdown passes, with the former outburst being especially pleasing, because Cowboys.
29) Brady's Back, 2016
28) Brady's Back, 2009 (the original)
27) Brady-Manning II
Neither Brady nor Manning played particularly well in their first meeting, which is No. 37 on this list. But in Round 2, Brady threw three TD passes, earning another win over the Colts in the 2001 season and starting this rivalry in earnest.
26) Beating the Eagles in Week 2, 2003
The Patriots released Lawyer Milloy days before the start of the 2003 season, and his new team, the Bills, beat New England 31-0 in the opener, causing everybody to lose their damn minds. But did the Patriots implode? Of course not. Brady threw for three TDs the next week at Philly to end the hysteria and jumpstart a title run.
25) Off the Island
24) Varsity Blues
23) The End of Tebow Time
22) He's got moves
Well, this hurts me as a Bears fan, but he absolutely juked the stuff out of Brian Urlacher in 2006 on the way to a huge win. Sadly, there would be no redemption for Urlacher in the Super Bowl. Why did you have to blow that lead in Indy?
21) Brady benched
The Kansas City Chiefsabsolutely dominated the Patriots on a Monday night game in early 2014. Brady was benched. And you thought maybe that was it for him. He went on to Cincinnati the next week and threw for 292 yards and two TDs in a win against the Bengals. The Pats would take 10 of their last 12 that season on the way to the 'ship. Sorry to all of you who dropped him off your fantasy teams.
20) Drafted in the sixth round
19) Belichick sticks with Brady
Most people assumed Drew Bledsoe would get the starting quarterback job back in 2001, because of the old adage, "You never lose your job to injury." Belichick doesn't care for those rules. But Belichick also didn't let Brady's injury in the AFC Championship Game keep him from starting in Super Bowl XXXVI (despite there not being a bye week, like there is now).
18) Five touchdowns in one quarter
Brady tied an NFL record with five second-quarter touchdown passes against the Titans in 2009. This after Belichick harped all week about being the only team in the league without a play of more than 20 yards. Yeah. The Patriots won 59-0 in a snowstorm. The optics of the throwback uniforms and a snowy backdrop really bring this home, too.
17) 2003 AFC Championship Game
The Patriots went 9-7 in 2002 after winning their first Super Bowl, missing the playoffs for the first and only time since Brady became the starting quarterback. (2008 doesn't count!) The next year, Brady got them back to the Super Bowl by beating Manning's Colts, which is always fun, even if Brady wasn't at his statistical best. I mean, it didn't take a lot to out-shine Peyton in the playoffs.
16) First-ever comeback
15) 2014 AFC Championship Game
This was a ho-hum 45-7 smoking of the Indianapolis Colts made a bit more memorable in hindsight by the fallout from this game. That's all I'll say about that.
14) Brady bests Manning's Broncos
13) Beating the Giants to clinch a perfect season
12) 50th touchdown pass
Brady set a single-season NFL record with his 50th touchdown pass in 2007, but the fact that it was such a seed to Randy Moss makes it even sweeter. Seriously, Brady has made some nice throws in his career. This throw, though.
11) Vaporizing Anthony Smith
Leading up to a Week 14 matchup in 2007, Steelers curtain-jerker Anthony Smith decided to talk (expletive) about Brady and guaranteed a win. Brady threw a 65-yard bomb on a double-pass right over Smith's head. Brady victimized him and the Steelers' No. 1 ranked defense during the course of the afternoon, talking mad (expletive) to the second-year safety. It was glorious.
10) Tuck Rule game
Hey man, I get it. We can debate whether the Tuck Rule is ridiculous or not. It is. But don't let that overshadow the fact that he rallied the team twice in the 2001 Divisional Round game to set up Adam Vinatieri's game-tying field goal and the winner in overtime. The Raiders could have stopped him. They didn't.
9) 2004 AFC Championship Game
8) 2010 NFL MVP
Brady earned his second MVP with a unanimous vote after setting an NFL record with 335 consecutive passes without an interception. 335! Brady was cerebral and surgical this season, but not as good as he was in ...
7) 2007 NFL MVP
Brady brought home the MVP award in what I believe to be the greatest season a quarterback has ever enjoyed in the NFL. EVER. Plus, this was still him at his most dominant, really just crushing opponents.
Brady became the NFL's all-time winningest quarterback when he beat the Los Angeles Ramson Dec. 4, 2016, for his 201st win (regular season and postseason combined). Fittingly, it came against the franchise he won his first Super Bowl against. Well, that actually isn't accurate, because he beat St. Louis, not the L.A. Rams.
5) Super Bowl XXXVIII
4) Super Bowl XXXIX
The first (and I guess only) time he won back-to-back championships, joining some elite company, like Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman and John Elway. That's pretty impressive. And he wasn't puking on the field, which is also nice.
3) Super Bowl XXXVI
The first one is going to hold a special place in his heart, especially with everything that he had to do to get to that point. Splitting time at Michigan, being a sixth-round pick, starting the season as a backup. Only two things could be sweeter.
2) Super Bowl XLIX
This might have been the best Super Bowl I've ever seen. Last year's Super Bowl was great, but it almost made you sad for the Falcons more than anything. This was just a great game that was in doubt until the end. And Brady torched a Seahawks defense that basically took Peyton Manning's football life from him the year before. Plus, Brady said this was his favorite in December.
1) Super Bowl LI
I know it's easy to go with the most recent (so I will). Being the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls cemented his status as the G.O.A.T. He passed his boyhood idol, Joe Montana. Oh yeah, and there's the 28-3 thing. So this is tops for now, until he wins it again this year.