By Joel Muhs / Staff writer

The GOAT also known as the “greatest of all time,” has been a fought over title in the sport of football since the conception of the sport. All have vied for the GOAT crown, but only a handful have found themselves worthy to be included in the conversation. In my eyes (and most everyone else’s), two players have separated themselves from the pack – quarterbacks Joe Montana and Tom Brady.

Montana played 16 seasons in the NFL, 14 of which were for the San Francisco 49ers and his last two for the Kansas City Chiefs. Montana did nothing but produce during his time in the NFL. He threw for 40,551 yards, 273 touchdowns, and completed 63.2% of his passes. Montana was also elected to eight pro bowls, was a two-time MVP, and played in four Super Bowls. What makes Montana part of the GOAT conversation isn’t that he went to four Super Bowls, but that he won all four trips.

 That perfect 4-for-4 mark in the Super Bowl promptly carried Montana to GOAT status, and rightfully so. However, unknown to everyone at the time, the 199th pick by the New England Patriots in the 2000 NFL Draft gave birth to the true GOAT – Tom Brady.

The man that everyone loves to hate, Brady solidifies his place as the NFL GOAT with each passing season in the league.

As I eluded to with Montana, GOATs don’t put up stats, they raise Lombardi Trophies, and Brady has done exactly that. In Brady’s 21 seasons in the NFL, he has seven Super Bowl victories in 10 appearances. Brady has played in 48% of the Super Bowls in the past decade and 18% of the Super Bowls played all-time.

Although Brady doesn’t own an unblemished Super Bowl record like Montana, he has still reached six more Super Bowls and has won three more than Montana. Brady has also thrown for 79,204 yards, 581 touchdowns while completing 64% of his tosses. Brady is also a 14-time pro bowler and a three-time NFL MVP, which is tied for second-most in NFL history.

Much like how a Heisman Trophy winner has his “Heisman moment,” I believe Brady had his “GOAT moment” in Super Bowl 51.

Brady’s Patriots trailed the Atlanta Falcons 28-3 halfway through the third quarter, and if any of you were like me, you found yourself walking away from the TV or even flipping the channel. After that decision, I will never flip the channel on Brady again. Brady willed his team to an unprecedented comeback, sending the Super Bowl into its first overtime game in history, where the Patriots pulled off a 34-28 victory behind Brady’s heroics. Even though many people still fought it with every fiber in their being, Brady was crowned GOAT after that night. End of story.

But that wasn’t enough for Brady. Since then, Brady has stared down Father Time in the face, winning Super Bowls 53 and 55 at the ages of 41 and 43. To strengthen his case, Brady did what Montana could never do, and that’s lead two different teams to a Super Bowl title. Getting ready to enter his 21st season in the league in 2020, Brady left his Patriot squad where he had enjoyed 20 seasons of success, for a Tampa Bay Buccaneer team that hadn’t seen the playoffs since 2007. Brady not only brought the Buccaneers back to the playoffs but guided them to their first Super Bowl victory since 2003 by knocking off the reigning champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.

Although we all love to hate the man, let’s appreciate the greatness that is Tom Brady. It will be a sad day when No. 12 hangs it up for good, and chances are, we will never see another player like Brady again, but even though it feels like Brady is 43 going on 30, Brady realistically only has 2-3 seasons left before retirement, so I for one will be soaking in as much of the GOAT as I can.

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