Tom Brady tossed his 274th touchdown pass on Sunday to move into 9th place ahead of his idol, Joe Montana. The inevitable debate is going to begin anew as to what Tom Brady needs, or doesn't need, to add to his resume in order to be the greatest quarterback ever.
Brady already has a resume that most aspiring young quarterbacks would drool over. Three Super Bowl rings along with two Super Bowl MVP's and two NFL MVP awards are more than some other Hall of Fame quarterbacks combined.
Still, when the debate rolls around, there are reservations about putting Tom Brady as the unquestioned top QB of all time.
Here is a look at some records, achievements and trophies that Brady may or may not need to acquire before he hangs them up in order to be the "Greatest Ever."
Tom Brady is already on track to eclipse Dan Marino's record of 5,084 passing yards in one season. That pace would smash Marino's record by almost 1,000 yards if Brady continues on it.
Does he need to hold this record to be the "Greatest Ever"? No.
Does anybody point out that Drew Brees is the only other player that has passed for over 5,000 yards in a season when speaking about his resume? No, they mention his Super Bowl.
The only thing that Brady would accomplish by breaking Marino's record is mercifully removing Marino from the "Greatest Ever" conversation.
Marino will then no longer have to hear the "Yeah, but no Super Bowl" comment immediately uttered after his name is mentioned because it will no longer need to be mentioned.
It's a good thing that Brady does not need to pass for over 500 career touchdowns in order to cement his legacy as the "Greatest Ever." Mainly because it seems unlikely for that to happen.
Brady would most likely have to continue playing into his 40's for that to become a reality, unless he strings together several 50 TD seasons to close out his career, which is not impossible but certainly improbable.
Does Tom Brady need to pass Brett Favre for most TD passes of all time? No.
The passing TD record is like the consecutive starts record and they both play into Favre's legacy of prolonged toughness. It helps keep Favre relevant in discussions of the "Greatest Ever," but his postseason resume holds him back.
With three Super Bowl victories, Tom Brady finds himself in a tie with Troy Aikman and one ring behind Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, who both have four.
Obviously, it is rare for Aikman and Bradshaw to enter the conversation for "Greatest Ever," which is sad because they both have achieved great things. However, their greatness might have been overshadowed by the overall greatness of their teams.
Does Tom Brady need at least five Super Bowl Victories to be the "Greatest Ever"? Yes.
Brady needs at least two more rings in order to give rise to the idea that he is in fact the "Greatest Ever." That is definitely not out of the question as the Patriots will have an excellent chance to earn a trip to the big game for years to come.
Still, just winning more Super Bowls may not be enough...
Tom Brady is only one Super Bowl MVP award behind Joe Montana, who has three on his shelves at home.
No other player has been as big a part of his team's Super Bowl performances than Montana, and it shows in his three landslide victories in MVP voting.
Does Tom Brady need to to win four Super Bowl MVP's to be the "Greatest Ever"? Yes.
Even if Brady were to eclipse all of the previous records and win the requisite five total Super Bowls, people would still point to the fact that Montana had more MVP victories. Brady needs to stand head and shoulders above his teammates and be the clear-cut star in order to gain the edge over Montana.
Regular season statistics aside, assume that Tom Brady ends his career with five Super Bowl victories and four Super Bowl MVP Awards.
Does that make him the "Greatest Ever"? No.
Sadly, there are still some things that the Montana camp can forever hold over Brady's head that Brady can do nothing to change.
First, Montana went his entire Super Bowl career without ever throwing an interception, which is something that Brady cannot say. That stat is somewhat unfair considering that Brady has far more attempts than Montana and would continue to add to that number making interceptions more likely. Still, those who support Montana will say it is a timeless testament to his unyielding accuracy.
Finally, much like Lebron James and his quest to eclipse Michael Jordan as the "Greatest Ever," Brady has a blemish on his record that will forever tarnish his legacy. Unlike the men they are chasing, both James and Brady have appeared in a championship and lost.
Brady may very well go on to win more trophies and set more records than Montana, but his loss to Eli Manning and the New York Giants will be the one misstep that keeps him from being the unquestioned "Greatest Ever."