By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – I would guess that Tom Brady doesn’t feel as if he’s underappreciated around here.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

But after watching him do his thing yet again Sunday, leading the Pats into the AFC Championship game for the seventh time in the last dozen years, I do wonder if everyone truly understands what we’re witnessing.

If the Patriots go on to win the Super Bowl again, or even if they don’t, I think Brady’s career should be compared with that of the greatest winner ever in team sports history, Bill Russell. Like Russell, Brady’s endurance, incomparable skill and intelligence, and knack for succeeding in clutch situations make him the clear MVP of his team.

Only once, thank goodness, have we seen him lose a season to injury, and the Pats didn’t make the playoffs.

I’m not a big advocate of parents using pro athletes as role models for children, but Pats fans have been safe in doing so with Brady. The photos we keep seeing of him out on the Esplanade with his kids and the dog are about as wholesome as it gets. And his success on and off the field reflects a work ethic and determination that you actually want your kids to know about.

For instance, it wasn’t always clear that Brady would be a star. He struggled to become the starter in college at Michigan, and was taken 199th in the NFL draft, a sixth-round pick.

He was initially considered the Pats’ fourth-string quarterback, but had worked his way up to backup by the time Drew Bledsoe got hurt.

We all know what happened since, and it’s been incredible. He now holds the record for wins in the playoffs by a quarterback, and could be padding that record for years to come. Another Super Bowl win ties him for the record, and makes our winter seem shorter.

Tom Brady has helped sell a ton of chicken wings over the past 11 winters, and that’s a good thing. But he’s also done it with class.

That might be an even better legacy than the Super Bowl titles.

OK, second-best legacy.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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