All Eyes on Him: Why a Patriots Loss Could Tarnish Tom Brady's Legacy

Chris HerbertContributor IIIFebruary 1, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on against the Baltimore Ravens during their AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

There is no question Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the NFL right now. With his fifth Super Bowl appearance this Sunday, you would think there is no question that Tom Brady should be looking at this as just another game. You can say that, but in retrospect, this is just a hard pill to swallow for the Patriots QB.

Even with three Super Bowl rings, Brady has fallen down to earth since his loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. He fought through a lot of adversity after sitting out the entire 2008 NFL season with a knee injury, putting on a pair of great regular-season performances only to see his Patriots fall to the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets in consecutive postseasons.

This year, Brady has passed for a career high 5,235 yards, 39 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He would also get the playoff drought behind him defeating both the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens.

While Brady looked like his usual self against the Broncos throwing for six touchdowns, he would have his worst playoff performance ever against the Baltimore Ravens (two picks and zero touchdowns). It took a dropped touchdown pass and a botched Billy Cundiff field-goal attempt for the Patriots to sneak into the Super Bowl. 

His opponent and new rival Eli Manning on the other hand, is playing the best football of his career and has looked flawless in every game in the postseason. In the NFC Championship, Manning threw for two touchdowns against a 49ers defense that would hit him time and time again. Manning’s toughness alone currently gives him the edge over Brady.

With four days left until the biggest game of the season, Tom Brady has a lot of pressure to overcome. He has to play in a game against a devastating Giants' pass rush with his biggest asset, Rob Gronkowski limited with a high ankle sprain injury. If Brady losses this game for his team, there is a possibility that he will no longer be seen as the best quarterback in the NFL and his legacy as one of the greatest quarterbacks ever will be questioned.