This week’s Pick-Six takes a look at Brady’s greatest moments over his illustrious career under center for the Patriots, including six Super Bowl wins and numerous record-breaking performances.
6. The “Tuck Rule” Game
This one obviously has to be on the list, and could arguably be even higher given its importance in Patriots, and NFL, history. In Brady’s first season as starter, he and his Patriots found themselves down 13-3 to the Oakland Raiders in the fourth quarter of the AFC Divisional round of the playoffs. Brady, ready to begin one of his many playoff comebacks, ran in a touchdown in the snow to bring New England within three. The Patriots got the ball back, and Brady began driving down the field, looking to tie or win the game. However, with 1:43 left in the game, cornerback Charles Woodson came in on Brady, causing Brady to drop the ball, and the Raiders recovered the ball. Oakland prepared to run the clock out, but the referees ruled with the infamous “Tuck Rule” that Brady didn’t fumble, but rather threw an incompletion. The drive continued, and Brady led the team for a game-tying field goal in regulation, and game-winner in overtime to keep the dream alive.
5. The return to form against Cincinnatiin 2014
Just one week after everyone in the sports media world proclaimed that his career was dead and over, Brady came back stronger than ever against the Bengals in Week 5 of the 2014 season. “Brady” chants filled Gillette Stadium as the quarterback led drive after drive with ease over Cincinnati’s defense, and led the team to a 43-17 rout of the Bengals. The win propelled the team back into title contention, and proved that Brady’s success was almost never-ending.
4. The record-breaking game against the New York Giants in 2007
In Brady’s best regular season statistically, this one game against the New York Giants is played over and over for the records broken. Both Brady and wide receiver Randy Moss were on the hunt for history, with Brady looking for the single-season record for touchdown passes, and Moss looking for that same record for receptions. On one pass, the New England Patriots’ stars combined for a 65-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of the 38-35 win. The pass gave Brady 50 touchdowns and Moss 23 to officially break each of the records. While Peyton Manning broke Brady’s record a few seasons later, the MVP 2007 season still stands out as Brady’s best year.
3. The Super Bowl LI comeback against the Falcons
This one has to be on the list, although it wasn’t as much of a dominant performance from Brady that got the team to the finish line in this comeback as it was an improbable collection of luck.
Nonetheless, this game is and always will be a part of Brady’s legacy, and helped to propel him further into legend status with his fifth Super Bowl win of his career. If you really wanted to, you could fill this list with just Super Bowl wins, which you can’t say about any other quarterback in NFL history.
2. The Super Bowl MVP performance in Super Bowl XLIX
Super Bowl XLIX is arguably the most entertaining Super Bowl of all-time, especially after all the drama the Patriots provided going into the game, and during the fourth quarter. After all the Deflategate theater had come to a halt for a brief few hours, the Patriots and Seahawks played some of the best football I’ve ever seen, all coming down to a 24-14 lead for Seattle in the fourth quarter. Brady worked his magic, leading two touchdown drives, including one touchdown with a little over two minutes left in regulation. The Seahawks threatened, but Malcolm Butler’s goal-line heroics saved the day for New England for a 28-24 win. Brady threw a Super Bowl-record 37 completions on 50 attempts for 328 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions, and was awarded the Super Bowl MVP for his performance, which will go down as one of the best games and comebacks of his career.
1. The first Super Bowl comeback vs. Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI
Of course, for the number one moment, you have to feature the first Super Bowl win. Brady’s drive late in the fourth quarter against “The Greatest Show On Turf” will go down as one of the all-time moments in NFL history. Facing off against Kurt Warner and the Rams, New England held a 17-3 lead in the third quarter, but faltered late in the game. Warner tied the game with a 26-yard touchdown pass with 1:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, and many expected Brady and the Patriots to run the clock out and go to overtime. However, Brady and Bill Belichick decided to go all out for the win, and, with no timeouts, drove down the field in 1:30 to set up kicker Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning 48-yard field goal. Brady went 16 for 27 with 145 yards and a touchdown, and was named Super Bowl MVP to cap off his greatest career moment.