BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady had an average performance in the Patriots’ loss in the AFC Championship Game, but when it comes to which quarterback NFL players want under center in pressure situations, it’s still TB12.
ESPN polled 320 NFL players and asked them which quarterback they’d want on their team with two minutes left and the Super Bowl on the line. Brady received 128 (40 percent) votes, far and away the most popular pick. Peyton Manning — who may end up in that situation on Sunday night — came in second with 86 votes (26.9 percent), and Aaron Rodgers was third with 10 percent.
The other two active QBs with multiple Super Bowl victories, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning, came in fifth and sixth, respectively. Drew Brees, with 6.6 percent of the vote, came in fourth.
Brady is tied for the NFL quarterback record with five Super Bowl appearances, though he and the Patriots have lost in their last two trips to the big game. In those losses — both to Eli Manning’s Giants — Brady completed 62.9 percent of his 89 passes for a combined 542 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. In the would-be undefeated season of 2007, Brady engineered a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to take a lead, a drive that chewed up more than five minutes and put the Patriots in position to win. Of course, a helmet catch and a Plaxico Burress touchdown changed history.
In Brady’s first three Super Bowl appearances, Brady completed 65.7 percent of his 108 passes for 735 yards, six touchdowns and one interception, earning two Super Bowl MVP Awards in the process. The wins over the Rams and Panthers were made possible by scoring drives led by Brady in tie games.
Brady’s dramatic comebacks highlighted the 2013 Patriots season, including a near-last-second touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins to beat the Saints, a 24-point comeback against Peyton Manning and the Broncos on national TV, and a pair of touchdown passes in the final two minutes to beat the Browns at Gillette Stadium.
Brady may be 36 years old, but he’s clearly built a resume that still inspires his peers. Patriots fans have to hope that is enough of a draw for some big-name wide receivers to sign with New England in the coming offseason, so that Brady may get a chance to win one more.