After becoming the first quarterback to win five Super Bowl rings, Tom Brady’s long list of records and achievements over the course of his 17-year career would suggest that he’s not only the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, but that he might be the best overall football player in NFL history.
For Brady, though, the ‘greatest of all time label’ doesn’t matter. Brady said in an interview with PFT Live that he’s never spent time contemplating his all-time ranking among the NFL’s elite players.
On Wednesday’s episode of Undisputed, NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter explained why it shouldn’t be a surprise that Brady doesn’t seem to care about his standing.
Tom Brady: Other quarterbacks in my position could have accomplished the same things
“None of those things have ever mattered to me. It’s just.. it’s hard for those things to even take up any space in my mind because… they’ve never been of significance for me. There have been so many great players that I’ve played with, that I’ve played against over the years.
Everyone’s different. Everyone has different teams they’ve played on, coaches they’ve played for. You know, I’ve been so blessed to play for the greatest coach at a time where our organization has done incredible things. I’ve played with the best teammates. Playing for Mr. Kraft and what his influence on the team has been. So I think there’s so many players that if they were in my position and had all of the opportunities I did, they would, I believe, accomplish so many of the same things.”
Cris Carter: Tom Brady has never been considered ‘the best’
“If you look at Tom Brady’s journey, I think at no point did people think he was the best. When he was in high school, he wasn’t the best quarterback, wasn’t the most highly recruited. When he was at Michigan, he ended up getting benched for a player that they thought had greater potential for them. When he went to New England, he ended up being in a great situation with Drew Bledsoe getting hurt. Belichick ended up being there … he’s had a lot of good things happen for him.
Now, say if you took the top 10 quarterbacks and you put them in the same era … put them in the same situation with Belichick in the same organization, they’re gonna win a lot of freakin’ games. I know Tom Brady is not thinking about who is the greatest ever. For one, when you’re playing, you’re so consumed with being good.
And outside influences… what difference do they matter? When they were down 21-3, you think Brady’s thinking ‘you know something, I wonder what people think, am I the greatest quarterback ever? Am I the second greatest quarterback ever?’ It doesn’t matter!”
Cris Carter: What athlete walks around declaring themselves the G.O.A.T.?
“Who do you know that walks around saying that they’re the greatest ever? We’re under the illusion that it feels good. There was one story about Emmitt Smith, he told Michael Irvin the night before his first game as a Cowboy, ‘I’m going to be the leading rusher in the National Football League when I retire.’
But besides that? I’ve heard Hall of Fame stories, there are very few – Michael Jordan got cut, alright? – there are very few of the greatest that ever thought they were the greatest. We as athletes don’t feed on that, people outside of athletics feed on that. Like, you think it’s important, but to Tom Brady? I’ve got five rings, I’ve been to seven Super Bowls, the most ever, I’ve got four MVPs … there’s too much evidence that’s on the desk for me to even be worrying about that.”
Cris Carter: Becoming the ‘best ever’ is not Tom Brady’s goal
“As the pursuit of being an athlete – I’ve always been a high-level athlete since I was eight years old. There haven’t been a lot of teams that I’ve been on where I wasn’t the best athlete or the best player. I was consumed, from the time I was 16. I’m not consumed with what you think, I’m not consumed with what the public thinks. I’m in pursuit of trying to get the maximum that I can get out of my talent. First I wanna be good. Then I wanna be great. I could care less what the people think.
If I played well enough, I’d like to be in the argument. This is what I’d like to do. I’d like to be able to present my information to be in the conversation. Whatever conclusion they come up with…. because if you watch TV and you listen to radio, you’ll drive yourself crazy based on what people think.”
Cris Carter: Tom Brady motivates himself, other people don’t motivate him
“If you say [Brady isn’t] better than Joe Montana, what do you think that does for him? Do you think that wakes him up in the morning? Do you think that motivates him? Do you think that’s going to make him stay on his diet this month, because ‘oh man they don’t think I’m as good as Joe!’
It’s not a big enough motivator for true athletes and great athletes.”