Today’s Pigskin Tackles Super Bowl XLIX
Quarterbacks get all the accolades. Obviously they get the girls, the astronomical contracts and the glory when they win the big game.
We’re living in the golden age of NFL QBs. Passing records are shattered on a yearly basis, eclipsing 5,000 yards in a single season is commonplace, and young signal callers are expected to step in immediately and begin cementing championship legacies.
Tom Brady is leaving Peyton Manning in the dust in the latest Greatest QB Debate. Around the same time Brady was getting ready to play in his ninth AFC Championship, Peyton Manning was still licking his wounds after suffering his ninth one-and-done playoff run.
It’s pretty simple to define greatness and rank QBs when it comes to NFL legacies: Stats don’t beat rings.
Russell Wilson doesn’t have eye-popping stats, but he has a Super Bowl ring. He’s got a great shot to win his second after only his third NFL season. Tom Brady has the stats, the girl, the legendary status, and has lifted the Lombardi Trophy on three separate occasions. He’s also lost the big game twice, but nobody considers Brady anything but uber-clutch.
Wilson would join rarefied air with a win on Sunday. Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger have each won two Super Bowls, and while their careers are at the midway point or just beyond, Russell Wilson is just getting started.
Win or lose on Super Bowl Sunday, Russell Wilson is going to cash in with a monster contract. Today’s Super Bowl Spotlight shines on the two signal callers. Our panel of @TodaysPigskin writers will compare and contrast Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. We’re not going to make the argument that Wilson is better or that Brady’s modern day hold on Greatest of All-Time status is in jeopardy if the Seahawks flap their wings on Sunday. What we are going to do is highlight their strengths, discuss how they win games, while offering fan insight and analysis.
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Weigh in on every Super Bowl XLIX forum by tweeting to @FanRagSports, @TodaysPigskin, and to the individual panelists. If you’ve missed any forum topics, here’s a quick refresher.
Today’s Super Bowl XLIX Forum Topic: Compare and contrast Tom Brady and Russell Wilson, their ability to come through in the clutch, and what another Super Bowl victory would mean.
Jon Schlosser: You don’t have to be great the whole game; you just have to be great when it counts. Did anyone prove that more definitively than Russell Wilson when, after four interceptions, he threw a game-winning touchdown in overtime?
On the other side of the ball, Brady has shown repeatedly that he’s as clutch as they get. Time and time again he has rallied the Patriots to win, just as he did against the Ravens. There’s a reason he’s playing in his sixth Super Bowl when most guys won’t even get to one.
These two are a bit hard to compare just because they’re at such different stages in their careers. If anything, Wilson almost looks more clutch because he hasn’t had the chances to fail. He’s been in the NFL for three years and he’s already in his second Super Bowl. That’s just something you don’t see.
However, the sample size is really small, so I’d say Brady has actually earned his reputation a bit more than Wilson. He’s been doing this for so long. He’s also a bit more potentially explosive on a play-to-play basis than Wilson because he does everything through the air. He’s a guy who can score from anywhere on the field. When the Giants beat the Patriots in 2007, part of me really thought he was going to connect on one of those deep bombs at the end, because he’s able to do it.
Not that Wilson can’t throw the ball, but he’s just different with the way that he approaches things. He’s very careful and conservative at times. When he played Denver this year, the game went to overtime. Repeatedly, Wilson just rolled out, didn’t like what he saw downfield, and scrambled for ten yards. Denver couldn’t stop it. He marched off half the field that way. I’d say that’s just as clutch as his bomb to Jermaine Kearse against Green Bay, because the end result was the same. He has that mobility that adds an element to his game that Brady will never have.
The one knock on Brady being clutch is that he hasn’t won it all for a decade. How clutch can you be when you keep losing in the playoffs? Meanwhile, Wilson has reached the Super Bowl in the majority of his playoff runs.
What you have to look at here is the teams that were around the quarterbacks. Wilson would not have reached the AFC Championship game with Brady’s team from last year. Gronkowski was hurt and there was almost no one at wide receiver. Wilson, meanwhile, has been playing with the league’s best defense and arguably the league’s best running back.
So, Wilson does deserve credit for being clutch and making plays when it counts, but that is tempered a bit by the wealth of talent he has around him, whereas Brady is able to elevate the play of others and win games with scrubs.
Lifelong Patriots fan, touted Brady-backer, and @TodaysPigskin featured columnist @StephenPSheehan continues the praise for the Golden Boy by talking about which set of balls won the AFC Championship.
@RuoffonSports: In terms of being a better overall player with better statistics, there is no question that Brady reigns supreme. But when comparing the two, it is very difficult to judge solely based on numbers because they have such different styles.
Brady uses a precise passing game and great command at the line of scrimmage to manipulate a defense. On the other hand, Wilson uses his speed and craftiness in open space to create plays at ‘just the right time’. It is safe to say that they are polar opposites of each other in the way they play the quarterback position.
Despite all of their differences in playing style, there is no denying the similar competitive mindset of both Brady and Wilson. And let’s not forget that they are both really, really good at winning.
Pigskin Last Words
While Russell Wilson has his moments and is a winner in his own right, nobody in the NFL today stands toe-to-toe with Tom Terrific. In case you don’t believe us, here’s another New Englander weighing in.
Check out John Terra’s Take on @TodaysPigskin.
Football fans often dismiss Chicago Bears backers when the topic of elite QBs come up because what would they know? That won’t stop @ScottPoppen from bringing the Brady love in what he feels is a laughable comparison.
Join the conversation with @FanRagSports @TodaysPigskin and Be Seen, Be Heard, Be a Fan!
Tomorrow’s Super Bowl XLIX Forum Topic: Shining the Spotlight on Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll