In addition to his five Super Bowl rings, Brady seems to get better with age
Whether or not this coming season will be Tom Brady’s last, his career is arguably the best ever by a quarterback. His statistics, of course, are great, but his five Super Bowl rings and postseason play are unmatched.
What’s even more remarkable about Brady is that he seems to get better with age. That is why his list of greatest seasons as a passer has some championship years at the bottom, but such is the case for a 40-year-old who is playing some of his best football right now. You may agree or disagree with this ranking, but here is what I think are Tom Brady’s top 10 passing seasons.
(11-5, AFC East champs, beat St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI)
After starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury in the second game of the season, Brady took over and led the Patriots to 11 wins and an upset of the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Normally, a Super Bowl season would be higher on this list, but Brady only threw for 18 touchdowns next to 12 interceptions. The best was yet to come.
(12-4, AFC East champs, beat Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX)
The “Deflategate” scandal overshadowed an otherwise great season where Brady threw for 4,109 yards and 33 touchdowns and was named Super Bowl MVP for a third time.
(14-2, AFC East champs, beat Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII)
After a 2-2 start, Brady led the Patriots to 15 straight wins and won a shootout with Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme in the Super Bowl. As he did against the Rams two years earlier, Brady led a drive in the final seconds that culminated with a winning Adam Vinatieri field goal.
(14-2, AFC East champs, beat Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX)
The winning streak from 2003 extended to an NFL-record 21 consecutive games as the Patriots won their third Super Bowl in three years. Along the way, Brady threw for 3,692 yards and 28 touchdowns.
(12-4, AFC East champs, lost to Denver in AFC Championship Game)
Brady threw a career-high 402 completions and led New England to its fifth consecutive AFC Championship Game (that number has since been extended to seven). There, a two-point loss to Denver prevented what in hindsight could have been a Super Bowl three-peat.
(13-3, AFC East champs, lost to New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI)
Brady had his first and only 5,000-yard passing season of his career. His 5,235 yards are the third best for a single season in NFL history.
(13-3, AFC East champs, lost to Philadelphia in Super Bowl LII)
In the offseason, the 40-year-old Brady became the oldest player to grace the cover of the Madden video game franchise, but he did not succumb to its “curse.” Instead, he also became the oldest player to lead the league in passing yards and was named MVP for the third time in his career.
(14-2, AFC East champs, lost to New York Jets in Divisional Round)
Brady threw 36 touchdowns and only four interceptions and finished with a 111.0 passer rating, making him the first quarterback to have a rating over 110 in two different seasons.
(14-2, AFC East champs, beat Atlanta in Super Bowl LI)
After serving a four-game suspension because of the “Deflategate” scandal, Brady rejoined the team and had one of the finest seasons of his career. He threw 28 touchdowns next to two interceptions and crossed the 110 passer rating threshold for the third time in his career. Oh, and he also led the greatest comeback in NFL history to beat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI to earn his fifth ring.
(16-0, AFC East champs, lost to New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII)
New England acquired Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Donte Stallworth in the offseason and Brady showed what he could do with a top-flight receiving corps. He became the first quarterback to throw 50 touchdown passes in a year, leading the Patriots to the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history. Only an unbelievable catch by Giants wide receiver David Tyree kept Brady and New England from realizing perfection, but passing-wise, this season is his best.
-- Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.