Tom Brady Still First-Ballot Hall of Famer Despite AFC Championship Loss

Mike Hoag@MikeHoagJrCorrespondent IIJanuary 20, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 20:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots walks off the field after a play against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2013 AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium on January 20, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Relax, New England. Tom Brady’s legacy isn’t in question after Sunday’s failure in the AFC Championship Game against Baltimore.

His 67-0 record at home when leading at halftime is over.

Brady, a three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, fell just short of sending his team to its sixth trip to the league’s biggest game during his incredible career.

The Pats won three titles with Brady under center and made two more trips to the Promised Land over a span of 12 years.

Bill Belichick, one of the best football minds in the game, has helped shape his team around Brady’s image. His signal-caller has delivered time and time again over the years for his boss and Patriots Nation.

Surely, this one isn’t solely on him.

Baltimore brought its A-game offensively in the second half with Aqib Talib sidelined, and the Pats couldn’t find an answer to slow the Ravens down.

Defensive lapse after defensive lapse allowed Joe Flacco and the Ravens to move down the field throughout the second half. They passed and ran the ball seemingly at will.

While it doesn’t excuse Brady’s poor performance, he did have some other things go against him.

Stevan Ridley fumbled and was knocked out of the game on the same vicious hit by Baltimore safety Bernard Pollard.

That couldn’t have come at a worse time, either. The Ravens had just gone up by eight points, and the fumble happened in Patriots territory, setting up Baltimore's next TD drive.

One bad playoff game isn’t enough to tarnish Brady’s impressive resume. After all, he was being praised as one of the best of all time after leading the Pats to a dominant 41-28 victory over the Houston Texans last week.

That win was his 18th career playoff win, setting the record for the most all-time by a quarterback.

No, Joe Montana didn’t have 18, he had 17. Neither did John Elway or Brett Favre. Joe Namath and Terry Bradshaw didn’t quite get there, either.

So while things may look dim now, Brady is 35 and still has multiple seasons left in order to build upon his legacy and ensure that the voters bring him to Canton early.

He won’t wait long, either. Brady is going to be enshrined as fast as possible and will go down as one of the best to have played the position, as well as the game.