Tom Brady’s career is about Super Bowls. Sure, he is top 10 all-time in passing yards, touchdowns and completions and has three MVPs to his name.
But with Brady, the discussion of his greatness has to begin with his propensity to not only get to the Super Bowl, but to win when he gets there. No NFL QB has ever been to as many Super Bowls as Brady (9) and no one has won as many (5).
So when talking about Brady’s legacy, Super Bowls have to be part of the conversation. But which performance was his best?
Fortunately for us, we have Opta on our side to rank all of Brady’s Super Bowl performances 1 through 8. They did a lot of work with this and did a great job on it.
We just have our own opinion here at Omnisport. Neither is right or wrong, but in the spirit of the controversial weekend we just went through in the NFL playoffs, here are Tom Brady’s best performances by the numbers, and by a differing opinion.
No. 1: Super Bowl 52 (@optajerry); Super Bowl 49 (Omnisport)
Yardage-wise and touchdown-to-interception ratio is hard to argue here. Brady was fantastic last season in the Super Bowl. He lit up a very good Eagles defense and did everything he could to earn his sixth title. That’s a perfectly justifiable reason for Opta to pick that game.
For us though, and especially when considering Tom Brady, winning matters. In Super Bowl 49, the Patriots faced probably the best defense, the Seahawks, of their nine Super Bowl runs. Despite that Brady completed 74 percent of his passes along with four touchdowns including one that resulted in a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. And yes, he threw two picks in the game, but his fumble in the final minutes last season all but sealed the win for the Eagles. Taking the win, and late fumble into account, we chose Super Bowl 49 as our winner.
No. 2: Super Bowl 51 (@optajerry); Super Bowl 38 (Omnisport)
Spoiler alert: We don’t have a ton of disagreement here. These two games simply flip-flop in our rankings.
But for Opta it’s easy to see why this is the pick. Brady led an epic comeback from down 28-3 and earned a record-setting fifth Super Bowl win. This one is iconic.
However, for us here at Omnisport, we went with the Panthers game in Super Bowl 38 for a couple of reasons. For one, this was the one game out of Brady’s first three wins he took on his own. He carried the Patriots to a win and matched Jake Delhomme punch for punch in an epic shootout of a game. This was Brady showing he could carry a team with his arm in a big spot if he had to and not to mention the fact this was simply a great game from start to finish.
No. 3 Super Bowl 38 (@optajerry); Super Bowl 51 (Omnisport)
Like we said, we have very little disagreement here. Brady was fantastic against the Panthers as he set up Adam Vinatieri for yet another epic game-winning field goal.
The only reason we had this game at third here at Omnisport is there was a reason the Patriots were down 28-3 in that game against the Falcons and Brady was part of that. Also, Kyle Shanahan gave that game away by not running the ball in the second half. That doesn’t change Brady leading the late comeback and his epic numbers though. We can’t take that away from him.
No. 4 Super Bowl 49 (@optajerry); Super Bowl 52 (Omnisport)
This one simply came down to the numbers for us. Brady’s numbers against the Seahawks weren’t as good as Opta’s top three so this sat in fourth place for them.
For us, Brady was so good last season, it’s undeniable. But, with Brady, the wins are what makes him what he is in the NFL pantheon. The Patriots lost Super Bowl 52. Hence the fourth-place ranking. We can’t deny the 505 passing yards and three touchdowns, though.
No. 5 Super Bowl 46 (@optajerry); Super Bowl 36 (Omnisport)
Did anyone remember Brady’s numbers were that respectable in New England’s loss to the Giants in Super Bowl 46? No? We certainly didn’t. The numbers aren’t bad at all. Brady just couldn’t lead his team to a win.
As for Omnisport’s No. 5 performance, Brady was pretty darn mediocre through the first 58:30 of this game. But this one made Tom Brady who he is. He led a drive in the final minute to help New England win its first ever Super Bowl. It’s hard to argue with that. The numbers are pretty average though.
No. 6 Super Bowl 42 (@optajerry); Super Bowl 39 (Omnisport)
In what will probably become unaffectionately known as the “ankle game” Brady was not himself in the Super Bowl after hurting his ankle in the AFC Championship game. He was even less mobile than normal and got sacked a whole bunch and his team lost. New England started the season 18-0. It finished it 18-1.
Super Bowl 39 against the Eagles was more about Philadelphia than New England. Brady did enough to win that one and posted respectable numbers, but what people remember are Terrell Owens fighting through a leg injury and Donovan McNabb posting a lackluster final drive. This one is pretty forgettable in the Brady list of Super Bowls.
No. 7 Super Bowl 39 (@optajerry); Super Bowl 46 (Omnisport)
Brady won. The Eagles were the story. The Patriots had three Super Bowls in four years. Not much to remember from this Super Bowl win according to Opta.
The future Hall of Famer would like to forget this one. He was healthy and the Patriots were the better team. Brady just couldn’t get the best of Eli Manning. And he couldn’t lead a late game-winning drive. This one was uncharacteristic for the Patriots and Brady.
No. 8 Super Bowl 36 (@optajerry); Super Bowl 46 (Omnisport)
Before Brady led the final drive to put Vinatieri in position to win Super Bowl 36, he was 11-of-19 passing for 92 yards. Not his best performance at all. The defense was the star of this game, however, the star that is Tom Brady was born in this one.
The Patriots were 18-0 coming into Super Bowl 46. They left 18-1. That’s about all you need to know as to why this was Brady’s worst performance. The 5.54 yards per pass attempt gives an even better indicator of his lackluster play.