Michigan Wolverines Football: Tom Brady Back Into Top-Tier QB Category, Anonymous NFL Coaches Say
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Tom Brady Back Into Top-Tier QB Category, Anonymous NFL Coaches Say

Father time hasn't caught up to Tom Brady just yet.

The former Michigan football quarterback and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers signal-caller, fresh off winning his seventh Super Bowl, is entering his 22nd season in the NFL. Despite just turning 44 years old on Aug. 3, Brady was ranked by The Athletic as the third-best quarterback in the league, as voted on by 50 NFL coaches and executives, trailing only Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes, both of whom were tied for holding the top spot.

Brady, Rodgers and Mahomes, along with Seattle's Russell Wilson and Houston's Deshaun Watson, are considered top-tier quarterbacks, according to the anonymous coaches and front-office staffers. Rodgers and Mahomes were each unanimous first-tier selections, while Brady received 41 Tier 1 votes and nine Tier 2

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Former Michigan Wolverines football quarterback Tom Brady is entering his second season as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.
Former Michigan Wolverines football quarterback Tom Brady is entering his second season as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. (USA TODAY Sports Images)

In the 2020 regular season, Brady completed 65.7 percent of his pass attempts for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns. In playoff wins over Washington (Wild Card), New Orleans (Divisional Round), Green Bay (NFC Championship) and Kansas City (Super Bowl), he connected on 58.7 percent of his throws for 1,061 yards and 10 scores.

Brady was voted as a second-tier quarterback in last year's edition of the rankings, but vaulted back up near the top following a stellar season in Tampa.

Still, the voters believe he needs a bit of help to still win games at a high level, which is why he's behind the top two guys.

“He might be a 1, but I really don’t think you want him trying to win every game on his own,” a head coach told The Athletic. “You want to save him for the end of the game, fourth quarter, two-minute drives in the playoffs. Get him to those points and let him do his thing.”

“Tier 1, you have to have that physical component, that team-leading component and that instructional component, where if the quarterback coach gets sick, you do the rest of the season without a coach and that guy runs the room because he’s running the clicker half the time anyway,” one voter said. “That’s what a Tier 1 quarterback is.”

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One of the nine voters who ranked Brady in the second tier pointed out that the Buccaneers' defense helped the squad quite a bit, and that he has plenty of offensive weapons around him.

“Brady is a 2,” an offensive coordinator told the site. “There were too many games where they weren’t really doing a whole lot, and the defense or somebody made a big play. I think he’s really good. I just don’t think he can carry a team now.”

Still, one voter said, the mental aspect of Brady's game is as sharp as it can be, and he's got the pieces around him to allow for his physical tools to flourish.

“The holes in his game are athletically related, but he still showed the ability to operate at a high level at the line of scrimmage,” a personnel director told The Athletic. “He still has an arm and he can still beat you at all levels. He has his James White now in Giovanni Bernard. If you’re not on the same page as him, then there are going to be opportunities for the opponent to take it the other way, but the more comfortable he gets in the system, the rarer that is going to be.”

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