Much of the post-Super Bowl LI chatter has focused on Tom Brady's standing in the pantheon of great quarterbacks after the Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl of the Brady-Bill Belichick era. Pretty much everyone is on board with the idea of Brady as the greatest quarterback of all time.
There are only a few people who won't admit that Brady is the best to ever play the position, with fellow legendary quarterback Joe Montana holding out and Jets wideout Brandon Marshall just holding a bizarre position on who might be better.
Here's how ridiculous those opinions sound: even Reggie Wayne, a guy who spent basically his entire career playing with Peyton Manning, admits that Brady is the best to ever play.
Wayne, appearing on NFL Network recently, said that he's like Marshall going down with the Ryan Fitzpatrick ship when it comes to supporting Manning (fair analogy, but sheesh, man) and he'll always have his guy's back. But Brady is the best after storming back from 25 points down to beat the Falcons 34-28 in Super Bowl LI.
"Man you know I've played with one of the best. Eleven years with Peyton Manning. I'm like Brandon Marshall with Fitzy. I go down on the ship with him," Wayne said. "But it's kind of hard to take that away from Tom Brady. This dude's resume speaks for himself. I was quoted this week as saying if he finds a way to win this game, he's probably the best ever.
"And not only did he win the game, it's the fashion, the way that he did it. Down 25 points? Come on, man. Down 25 points, he set records -- all-time Super Bowl game. 466 yards? He's good. He's good."
Here's the thing. Brady was already in the discussion before the Patriots even made it to the Super Bowl this year. Winning a title, and winning it in the fashion he won it, only builds on the legendary status of the game's greatest quarterback.
And it's not as if Wayne has a long history of backing Brady either. He did briefly sign with the Pats before retiring, but he spent this past year stumping for Brady to be ineligible for the MVP award because he "was caught cheating."
Brady actually handled the criticism pretty well, calling Wayne a "Hall of Famer" in his own right.
"I don't know what Reggie said or anything, but I liked being with Reggie," Brady said. "I actually had a lot of great conversations with him. Played against him for a long time. He's a Hall of Famer. I always wish Reggie the best. He was a great player."
So there's a history of a little bit of back-and-forth between the group, as well as a history of the Colts and Patriots squaring off against one another during the season for years. But it's clear there's some mutual respect here, especially if Wayne is willing to bypass his guy, Manning, to name Brady the greatest quarterback ever.
He's not wrong, and it's a testament to just how great Brady is that someone who opposed him for so long is willing to acknowledge the fact.