JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Three modern-day quarterbacks qualified for the Hall of Fame this weekend, but only two were elected.
The third was New England's Tom Brady, who by winning his third Super Bowl in four years with a 24-21 defeat of Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX guaranteed himself a spot in Canton. He won't join Steve Young and Dan Marino at next year's inductions, but, believe me, he will join them.
|Tom Brady will definitely be joining his idol Joe Montana in the hallowed Hall. (AP)|
"It's too much for me to ever compare myself," said Brady, who completed 23 of 33 for 236 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. "I look at everyone else and realize how good they were, and there are a lot of things about me that I don't think are very good that I'm trying to get better at.
"I never put myself on a pedestal and think that I should be compared to those guys. It's only my fifth year."
Which is precisely the point. It took Joe Montana, Brady's idol, a decade to win three Super Bowls. It's taken Brady half that time.
I mention Montana because Brady exhibits so many of the qualities that made the San Francisco quarterback no ordinary Joe. He's poised. He's accurate. He responds to pressure. He deflects praise in victory as eagerly as he absorbs responsibility in defeat.
And he wins.
Think about it. He hasn't lost a playoff game, is 3-0 in Super Bowls and came this close to winning his third straight MVP award Sunday. Instead, wide receiver Deion Branch walked off with the trophy, and Brady was the first to say he deserved it.
That's what you like about this guy. He personifies everything that is right with the game. He doesn't produce Manning-esque numbers; he just wins. And he does it by spreading the ball around, hitting seven receivers in Sunday's win -- including linebacker Mike Vrabel, who caught a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl for the second straight year.
Plus, he seldom screws up, playing six playoff games without an interception, and produces big plays when they're needed most.
Case in point: With New England trailing 7-0 in the first half and driving for a score, Brady lost a fumble at the Eagles 13 -- Brady's only turnover of the playoffs. One series later, Brady was back -- this time completing five of six passes, including a 4-yard score to David Givens -- to pull the Patriots even.
Then, he opened the second half by driving the Patriots 69 yards on one series and 71 yards on another and, presto, just like that, we're talking about Tom Brady as one of the game's greats at the age of 27.