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SEVEN

Patrick Smith. Getty Images.

10 appearances.

7 rings.

5 Super Bowl MVPs.

21 Super Bowl touchdown passes.

3,039 yards.

505 yards in a single game, a record, one of his three losses.

28-3.

The only overtime in SB history.

The only home game in SB history.

1-0 against the AFC in Super Bowls.

Everyone spent the week arguing if this would make Brady the greatest athlete in sports history. He killed the GOAT QB conversation so long ago that this is the new debate. Fabricated out of nothing but boredom. That’s the real testament to his greatness. That the only way to put him on level playing field is to remove the boundaries of his own game, his own contemporaries, the legends of his own craft, and cherrypick the best of the best from the rest of the sports world.

Of course he’s not the greatest athlete of all time. Winner? In team sports? That’s Brady and Russell. No one else really comes close. 

The greatest individual athlete of all time? It’s obvious. That title belongs to the one and only, your favorite and mine, Gaius Appuleius Diocles - the Roman chariot driver who died in 146 AD. This man won 1,462 out of 4,257 races. He finished on the podium in another 1,438, and his signature calling card was to intentionally throw the early goings of the race in order to give the folks in the stands a show via photo finish. They didn’t even have photos back then, Diocles didn’t care. Gaius made $160 Million in gold for his troubles. Which, they couldn’t even count that high in 128 AD. I couldn’t begin to imagine what the means for today’s money, but I imagine it’d be like if LeBron James was also Jeff Bezos in the same person. Seeing as we haven’t seen an athlete be both LeBron James and Jeff Bezos at the same damn time, it’s hard for me to put anyone above Big Gaius in my GOAT debate. 

But man is Brady up there. Generations of humans will forever associate winning with his face, regardless of how you feel about him. He’s cemented his own legacy so many times, people keep writing his final chapter, only for him to go out and write another fucking book. He had a career people would kill for by 2005. Then the Colts erased the largest halftime deficit in AFC Championship history. The Giants ended 19-0 in the most painful of fashions. The Jets beat him in the playoffs. Honest to God, the Jets. Eli took another ring off him. The Seahawks game was supposed to be the last run, for old time’s sake. Then the Falcons went up 28-3 and he was finally figured out. Nick Foles caught a touchdown. SURELY that would be the final straw. The Rams scored three (3) points. He lost tot he Titans at home, Tampa Bay? No chance. It’ll never work. 

It fucking worked. Of course it worked. Why wouldn’t it work? It didn’t look great Week 1. Bruce Arians actively shit on him every time he spoke into a microphone. They got swept by the Saints in there regular season. They have to go to Green Bay and beat the MVP in Lambeau? It doesn’t matter. It never matters. People even stopped saying, "We'll never see anything like this again," in regards to Brady's winning because of how dominant Mahomes has been. And Brady went through him like a hot knife through even hotter butter. 

Seven. Absurd. Unrivaled. Unbelievable.