Despite Tom Brady’s impressive play this season, the amount of time that Tom Brady has left in New England is a topic that will be much debated in the next few weeks and into the offseason. This is especially true because Brady’s performance will be highly analyzed in the AFC Championship matchup against Pittsburgh, and ultimately the Super Bowl, assuming that the Patriots can make it past the Steelers. Brady’s performance will be further scrutinized because of the high level of play that will be exhibited by the remaining quarterbacks in the conference round–Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, and Ben Roethlisberger–who are currently some of the best in the league.
Is Tom Brady’s Job In Jeopardy This Weekend?
Brady posted an MVP-caliber regular season over 12 games, clinched the AFC East for the 14th time in the last 16 seasons, and helped lead the Patriots to another AFC Championship game. Should a lackluster playoff appearance against Houston warrant discussion of whether or not Brady’s job is at stake contingent upon his performance this weekend against Pittsburgh? The loud voice of Colin Cowherd is convincing in his take on the issue at first listen, but does he have a valid point? To answer these questions and illustrate how Brady’s recent quality of play compares to the standard he has left us to expect of him, lets compare some of Brady’s statistics from this season with numbers from past seasons, layout season numbers and see how they stack up against those of Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, and Ben Roethlisberger.
The claim that Tom Brady is slowing down is unsupported when looking at the stats. This year, Brady’s 83.1 QBR (ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating), 112.2 QB Rating, 0.5% interception percentage, and 67.4% completion percentage were each second best all-time regular season ending numbers for Tom. The 8.2 yards/attempt and a 6.5% touchdown percentage were each third best all time in his regular season ending numbers. With Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett stepping up massively, the Patriots were able to go 3-1 before Brady returned from the four-game suspension, finishing the season out with an impressive 11-1 record and an impressive 14-2 team record for the regular season. It’s impossible to deny that Brady’s durability may be in question when he has to play 16 games again in the regular season next year after playing in 12 this year due to his age, but one thing is undeniable; his numbers on the year display high efficiency and place atop some of the best play of his career.
If Brady’s season numbers from this year are aligned with some of the best seasons of his career, the next logical step would be to consider how he is stacking up against some of the best competition in the league. For QB Rating, Ryan finished first with 117.1, Brady placed second with 112.2, Rodgers came in fourth with 104.2, and Big Ben slotted in at eleventh with 95.4. In the completion percentage category, Ryan was third with 69.9%, Brady came fifth with 67.4%, Rodgers finished ninth with 65.7%, and Roethlisberger took the fourteenth spot at 64.4%.
For Int%, Brady was 0.5%, Rodgers was 1.1%, Ryan was 1.3%, and Roethlisberger was 2.6%. For TD%, Ryan was 7.1%, Rodgers was 6.6%, Brady was 6.5%, and Roethlisberger was 5.7%. It is known that Brady had a respectable year, but his performance and MVP case have been overshadowed and made too difficult by the hit his numbers took from missing those four critical games. By looking at these stats in comparison to those from other quarterbacks who are currently having success in the league, you can see that Brady’s near career highs in efficiency are still competitive with the best in the NFL and that he is having a great impact on New England’s success.
Cowherd’s points don’t carry much validity right now. Because Jimmy Garropollo is a better backup quarterback than any quarterback available in the draft doesn’t mean that Brady needs to be hastily pushed aside at this year’s first taste of playoff failure. There are a lot of things that can be addressed with the Patriots before letting Brady go becomes the best available option for success.
People pushing the narrative that New England and Brady played poorly against Houston continue to pleasantly omit the fact that the Texans defense is highly rated, even without J.J. Watt. After going out and playing an integral part in a 14-2 season, showcasing that he still possesses ability on the field, and proving this ability through statistics, I’m led to believe that Tom Brady isn’t playing for his job this weekend against Pittsburgh. Brady is still the best option for New England’s regular season and deep playoff success.
Although Father Time ticks away, Brady hourglass still has some sand left in it.