With the upcoming season only a few short days away, the topic of fantasy football has become quite popular.
As too are the quarterback prospects for this 2009 season.
If you follow fantasy football, no doubt you may have seen Tom Brady ranked highly on most lists.
But is that high ranking really justified.
While it has become quite unpopular for almost anyone to offer any criticism in Mr. Brady's direction, I prefer to take the logical approach.
Many people expect Tom Brady to be one of the most productive quarterbacks in the entire league this upcoming season.
He is expected not only to make a healthy recovery from a devastating knee injury but he is also expected to return to 2007-esque form.
But which Tom Brady are we to expect?
The Tom Brady of 2007 or the Tom Brady of 2001 to 2006?
If we are talking about the Tom Brady of 2007, we are talking about virtually the most productive season in NFL history (if we are speaking totals and not production per-game).
Tom Brady 2007
398 of 578 (68.9) for 4,806 yards, 50 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
Quarterback Rating: 117.2
But then we have the Tom Brady who took the field for over 85-percent of his career.
How productive was he?
Tom Brady 2001-2006
316 of 510 (61.9) for 3,593 yards, 24.5 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Quarterback Rating: 88.5
The differential in production is staggering.
In 2007, Tom Brady produced 1,213 yards and 25.5 touchdowns more than his career average. His touchdown production more than doubled and his interception rate decreased by more than 38-percent.
The result was a quarterback rating 28.7 points higher than the Tom Brady who took the field for the majority of his career.
To put that into perspective, the differential between his 2007 quarterback rating and the rating he maintained for the rest of his entire career equates to the same differential between the career quarterback ratings of Joe Montana and Rick Mirer (92.3 to 63.6).
So which version of Tom Brady are we more likely to see, the Tom Brady of one single spectacular season or the Tom Brady we all knew during his Super Bowl winning seasons?
Logically, we all know that throwing to Randy Moss and Wes Welker is a lot easier than throwing to Troy Brown and David Patten. So I'm not saying that the circumstances are identical either.
What I am saying is that the level that Tom Brady played in 2007 was the exception to his career, not the rule.
The fact is however is that he is playing with an offense exceptionally similar to that 2007 squad.
But yet again, people tend to forget how well Brady played when we last saw him in 2007.
His final two games were also drastically different than the Tom Brady we saw during the majority of that 2007 season.
Tom Brady (AFC Championship & Super Bowl XLII)
51 of 81 (62.9) for 469 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Quarterback Rating: 75.6
The quarterback so widely known as "Mr. Clutch" did not seem to reflect that moniker during the last real action he had on the football field.
Now he is almost two years removed from regular competition and we expect to see the Tom Brady that took the field during the very small minority of his career, even despite the fact that he is playing with a surgically repaired knee?
I'm not saying that Tom Brady will not do well this season, I'm just saying that people should take a closer look at number of things before they so quickly jump to these lofty expectations on account of what in reality was, a very small percentage of his career.