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Thank you, Tom.
While addressing reporters in Foxboro today, Tom Brady fired back at critics who have suggested that he is no longer near the summit of the NFL’s Quarterback Mountain.
“I think that people pay to watch the games on TV because there’s a scoreboard,” Brady said. “I mean, I think that’s what it’s all about. If there were no scoreboard, then people wouldn’t tune in and watch. I think that’s what it’s all about. There’s only one stat that matters, and that’s because the competition in the NFL is very high, extremely high on a daily basis.”
Brady’s quote is significant in the current NFL media-driven landscape. As the NFL’s popularity has skyrocketed over the past two decades, pundits in the media have began a crusade to quantify players’ performance and ability based on statistics. Football hipsters such as Sam Monson of ProFootballFocus and Grantland’s Bill Barnwell will make your head spin with numbers, and draw up ridiculous conclusions based solely on statistics. In reality, football is a game that cannot be quantified. Every down is different. Every possession has different circumstances. Every game has different variables.
This has been a personal gripe of mine for a while now. Football is not baseball. Players performances cannot be measured on statistics. Sure, they can be a great reference point, but in the end the only true way to judge a player is by watching them play. You can throw any stat at me telling me how good Matt Ryan or Matthew Stafford are, I’ll still take Eli Manning or Joe Flacco over either of them with one game on the line.
The fact is, Brady is right. While it may not be fair to solely judge a quarterback based on his team’s success, I believe it offers us a much better understanding of a quarterback’s ability to play and lead his team than statistics do.