Why Tom Brady Is Most Clutch Playoff QB of All Time

Oliver ThomasContributor IJanuary 28, 2012

Will Tom Brady become the greatest playoff quarterback in NFL history?
Will Tom Brady become the greatest playoff quarterback in NFL history?Elsa/Getty Images

It's safe to say that Tom Brady has exceeded expectations as a professional quarterback.

Selected with the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, his chances of even playing in an NFL game were slim.

Yet, Brady has come a long way since his rookie season—when he was the fourth quarterback on the depth chart.

The former Michigan Wolverine is a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time NFL MVP. However, the future Hall-of-Famer doesn't measure his success by awards, but by wins.

As the New England Patriots are set to face the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, it only seems appropriate to debate Brady's legacy in this league.

With three Super Bowl victories and two Super Bowl MVP awards under his belt, is Tom Brady the most clutch playoff quarterback in history? 

The answer is yes.

It may be a bold statement, but TB12's numbers speak for themselves.

  • Brady is the only quarterback to start and win three Super Bowls before reaching the age of 28.
  • Brady and Coach Bill Belichick have accumulated more postseason victories (16) than any other QB-Coach combo.
  • Brady's playoff win percentage of 76 percent is higher than 49er gunslinger Joe Montana.
  • Brady broke Green Bay Packer legend Bart Starr's record for most consecutive postseason wins with 10.
  • Brady holds the record for most total Super Bowl completions with 100.
  • Against the Denver Broncos in the divisional round this season, Brady threw for an NFL playoff record five passing touchdowns in a single half. In that same game, Brady also tied an NFL postseason record for most passing touchdowns in a game with six.

Instead of questioning what No. 12 has done in the playoffs, ask yourself this:

What hasn't he done?

Since Brady's been at the helm, the Patriots haven't always had the best defensive units, and their running game has been inconsistent at best. Due to flaws on both sides of the ball for New England, Brady has been forced to compensate for the team's shortcomings.

The California boy has responded like a confident field general should. In his career, he has led 24 fourth-quarter comebacks along with 34 game-winning drives.

Come February 5th, Brady will be playing in his fifth title game—something only scrambling Denver QB John Elway has in common with him.

The 34-year-old has a chance to earn his third Super Bowl MVP award; the honor would put him in a tie with his childhood idol Joe Montana.

Comeback Joe and Pittsburgh Steelers' icon Terry Bradshaw set the bar very high, though. The two retired signal-callers share the record for most Super Bowl victories by a quarterback. Both went a pristine, 4-0 in their Super Bowl appearances. 

If the Pats are able to hold off the Giants in Indianapolis, Brady will further cement his name among the greatest ever to play on the gridiron.

The Patriots are looking to avenge their 2008 Super Bowl loss to the Giants. A game which ended their perfect season.
The Patriots are looking to avenge their 2008 Super Bowl loss to the Giants. A game which ended their perfect season.Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Not to mention, his record in the big game would improve to 4-1.

On the other hand, if the Patriots lose to their G-Men rivals, then skeptics will crown Eli Manning as Brady's kryptonite.

Tom Terrific would still have his three rings. Although, much to the chagrin of New England fans, a Manning brother would have two.

A loss for the Patriots would likely close the door on Brady's chances to become the most decorated playoff quarterback of all time. But a win could make him the greatest ever to play the position.

With that being said, this Super Bowl rematch truly has the capability of rewriting history.