Tom Brady is a Unanimous Pick as the Patriots Dominate the NFL All-Decade Team

NFL.com - The NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame have announced the 52 players and two head coaches selected to the 2010s All-Decade Team. Tom Brady ... was one of just eight players unanimously voted to the squad. ... Brady was also a member of the 2000s All-Decade Team. ...

The other unanimous picks represent a who's who of the biggest NFL stars of the last 10 years -- and a pretty good preview of who'll headline future Hall of Fame classes: defensive tackle Aaron Donald, linebacker Von Miller, running back Adrian Peterson, offensive tackle Joe Thomas, kicker Justin Tucker, defensive end J.J. Watt and offensive guard Marshal Yanda. ...

Pete Carroll, ... who led the Seahawks to eight playoff berths and one championship in the decade, is one of two coaches on the team. The other is, of course, Bill Belichick, whose Patriots went to the playoffs every year of the 2010s, and advanced to five Super Bowls, winning three times, including once over the Seahawks. Belichick is one of just two coaches in NFL history to be on two All-Decade Teams. The other is former Steelers coach Chuck Noll, a four-time Super Bowl winner who was on the 1970s and 1980s All-Decade Teams.

Together, Belichick and Brady dominated the NFL for 20 years, and they are two of the five people on the 2010s team who also were on the 2000s team. Devin Hester, Shane Lechler and Julius Peppers are the others. For all of their dominance, the Patriots developed a reputation of featuring players who were perfect for their roles and, other than Brady, only occasionally boasting the league's best talents at their respective positions. Not quite.

Eight guys on the list played for the Patriots, the most of any team.

There's a moment in "This is Spinal Tap," one of the five greatest comedies ever made, in which they do the rockumentary cliche' of visiting Elvis' grave. And after standing there silently for a while, Derek Smalls says, "This really puts things in perspective." To which David St. Hubbins replies, "Yeah, a little too much fucking perspective," because it's so depressing. That's what the reaction to this ought to be in 31 other NFL markets right now. 

Even allowing for the fact that among the other Patriots on this team, only four - Gronk, Stephen Gostkowski, Chandler Jones and Logan Mankins - and had any sort of lengthy career in New England., this is impressive. As is the fact Darrelle Revis and Cordarelle Patterson each played one season here and managed to win Super Bowls. That makes for five guys Bill Belichick drafted and two he swung trades for. And all won rings. The next time someone tells you how GM Bill can't draft and he's not doing any favors for HC Bill and he's just lucky Dick Rehbein stood on the table of the war room in 2000 demanding he draft Brady, remind them of this fact. And ask them by which standard they judge the man. Because I measure him against the scores of GM's he's competed against over the last 20 years. And not one of them is worthy of the comparison. 

As far as HC Bill, when you're only one of two coaches in NFL history to make two All-Decade teams, your record speaks for itself. Which won't stop me from speaking for it as well. Chuck Noll is objectively one of the best whose ever strapped on a whistle. (Fun Fact: If it wasn't for the Jets upsetting the Colts in Super Bowl III, he would've been hired by the Patriots. He was an assistant on that Colts staff and came highly recommended by everyone. But after Baltimore choked that one away, Pats owner Billy Sullivan knew that if he hired a guy who was on the pointy end of the spear in the biggest upset in history to that point, the Boston media and fans would destroy him. So he hired Jets assistant Clive Rush instead, who was recommended by ... Joe Namath. And that's it. The rest is history. Noll went on to four championships in six years. And Rush went on to have a nervous breakdown. That's not an exaggeration or meant to be funny. The man literally cracked from the stress and ended up getting in-patient treatment.) But for all his skills and football acumen, Noll was so successful across decades in part because he had no roster turnover. His players were Steelers for as long as he wanted them to be Steelers. For Belichick to match the accomplishment in the free agency era is unparalleled. And the only one who might ever do it again is Belichick. 

But I've buried the lede. For a quarterback to make two of these teams in a league where some Hall of Famers didn't even play a dozen seasons is improbable, to say the least. To be a unanimous selection in your second decade is to do the humanly impossible. Competing against younger guys like Drew Brees. First rounders who came into the league after you'd already won your first three rings, like Aaron Rodgers. Future MVPs like Cam Newton. All those No. 1 overall picks like Andrew Luck. Guys half your age. And not one of them could secure a single vote over a man who, by all known laws of physics and biology, should've been washed out of pro football seven years ago. That is too much fucking perspective. 

It would be easy to look at two appearances on two separate All Decade teams and say Brady has had two separate Hall of Fame careers. It's been said before. But this seems like the perfect time to repeat what I said the day he signed with Tampa Bay. That in fact, he's had three.

  • 2000-06: Three Super Bowl championships, two Super Bowl MVPs, led the league in touchdowns once, with a regular season record of 70-26 and a postseason record of 11-2.
  • 2007-14: One Super Bowl win, one Super Bowl MVP, two-time league MVP, set the regular season TD record with 50, a regular season record of 89-23.
  • 2005-19: Two Super Bowl wins, one Super Bowl MVP, one league MVP, a 25-point comeback, three straight Super Bowl appearances, one Super Bowl with a record 466 yards, breaking that mark the following year with 505 yards, a regular season record of 59-17.

But they don't name all "Six or Seven Year Span" teams. If they did, Tom Brady would be the QB over any stretch of them you could choose at random. And Belichick would be the coach. What this does is just further illustrate just how unprecedented and inconceivable run of success this has been. Which I don't think we still fully grasp, but will with time. 

Now what I'm most looking forward to it Belichick making the team for the decade of the 2020s. Where he will be joined by Jarrett Stidham. #KisstheRings