By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — This just in: Tom Brady had a good year in 2018.
We’ll give you a moment to collect yourself.
Now that we’re here, we can share that the folks who run the NFL’s Twitter account compiled the 10 best throws of Brady’s 2018 season. It’s a decent compilation, and you can watch it below. (Well, by clicking on it below, watching it natively on Twitter’s site, and then coming back here to this story, because NFL footage can’t be played on outside websites, because, well, for reasons, OK?)
Far be it from moi to ever quibble with a list, but it must be noted …
No. 10 on the list wasn’t really a good pass at all. It was a great result — a 25-yard reception on a third-and-5 on a go-ahead drive late in the fourth quarter of the AFC title game. That was more about Rob Gronkowski rising up over Eric Berry than it was about a great pass, though Brady certainly gets credit for identifying man coverage, recognizing that his tight end was having himself a game, and giving one of the best players on earth a chance to make a play.
No. 3 was similar, though this one went to Josh Gordon. It was a play where Brady had 11 minutes to stand in the pocket, and he ultimately decided to heave up a deep wobbler toward the goal line to see what the new guy could do. Turns out, Gordon is better at catching passes than both of the Colts defenders in his area, leading to what looked like an easy touchdown. But as throws go? Not even close to Brady’s best.
No. 6 wasn’t remarkable, as it just showed Brady’s ability to keep looking downfield in the face of pressure before ultimately releasing an accurate pass over the middle through traffic while getting hauled to the turf. (OK, when you put it like that, it was pretty impressive. But visually, it’s still lacking.)
The rest of the list is pretty good. The sizzler to Cordarrelle Patterson in Miami (No. 2 on the list) was the best physical throw of the year. The absolute bullet to Julian Edelman against the Chargers (No. 7) was absolutely, positively dynamite. Hanging in there to take a hit before lobbing a rainbow to James White vs. Miami was pretty special. And the Super Bowl-winning pass to Gronkowski rightfully earned the top spot for its significance. But there are still plenty of throws that got overlooked.
And guess what? It’s the middle of February, and the internet’s got loads of bandwidth, so we’re plenty capable of sharing those throws.
Brady’s scramble and perfect pass to Phillip Dorsett against the Jets:
Or Brady’s third-and-10 completion to Gronkowski in overtime of the AFC Championship Game:
Or one of Brady’s other third-and-10 completions in that overtime, one of the two to Julian Edelman:
Ah, fine — we can’t exclude another humdinger to Edelman from that game, a 20-yarder over the middle that jump-started the last-minute come-from-behind drive to take a lead:
Or Brady’s ridiculous pass to James White (which did require a superhuman effort for the reception to be made), when he dodged pressure, stepped up, and put the ball where only White could catch it in order to convert a third-and-7 in that same game:
Or just your run-of-the-mill bullet to Edelman over the middle against the Jets:
Or this one:
Just kidding, that was Josh Allen. Man, he was so bad.
Or this one, which was dropped but might have been the hardest thrown ball of the year by Brady:
Or this one:
Oh wait, no, that was the Titans game. Boy was that a bad one. Some people thought that was the beginning of the end for ol’ Touchdown Tom. Turned out to just be a hiccup. He also managed to deliver this deep ball in that game:
Not bad for a washed-up geezer with a noodle arm, eh?
You could include this one. It was actually an incompletion, but it came on the opening drive, and it showed that even at an advanced age, Tom Brady is one tough mother:
Brady would end up throwing for 324 yards in that Monday night game against Buffalo, including this one to Gronkowski, which was really put in the perfect position for those giant Hamburger Helper mitts to make the snag up the left sideline:
And to reiterate, two that made the list deserve some extra attention. The fireball to Patterson in Miami:
And the absolute dart to Edelman from the divisional round:
It was fitting to end the season with a beautiful pass to Gronkowski — a perfect connection between two of the best to ever play the game:
Why is a story like this necessary? Well, it isn’t.
Frankly, the world will end at some point. If we’re lucky enough to not be around to have to witness the end of days, that will only be because we will have died beforehand. And if we are fortunate, perhaps we’ll get an advance warning in the days, weeks, and months before our deaths, time which we can use to reflect back on all of the seconds, minutes and hours spent on this earth. We’ll reflect fondly on the time spent with our loved ones. We’ll cherish the relationships we built over the years. We’ll ruminate on all of the heartaches as well as the joyous moments of our lives.
We’ll likely rue some of the time we wasted arguing about random sports guys.
Tom Brady is an outspoken opponent of Time. He made an entire documentary about the matter. And though he will one day lose the battle, he’s winning thus far.
No other quarterback in history has ever been able to even suit up and start 16 games at age 41; Brady just played 19 games. Though he didn’t light it up statistically, he still drove the train for a top-five offense, he still was ruthlessly efficient in the postseason, and he still led a game-winning drive to capture his sixth — SIXTH! — Super Bowl ring.
In and of itself, doing all of that was quite the accomplishment. Doing it in the face of many loudmouth voices in the national media who were openly rooting for his demise and/or confidently claiming that his arm was weaker than a wet noodle? That was just the cherry on top.
And — this has been said before but bears repeating — nobody’s ever done this before. Nobody’s ever played like that at age 41. Certainly, nobody’s ever won a Super Bowl at age 41. Nobody’s even lasted a whole season at 41.
Peyton Manning couldn’t even wear a uniform at age 41. Or age 40. And that was after being unable to throw a spiral at age 39. Brett Favre’s age 41 season came to a crashing end on a violent sack, in a year when he had his worst-ever passer rating and threw 19 interceptions to just 11 touchdowns. Warren Moon at 41 wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t great, either. Vinny Testaverde led the league in interceptions when he was 41.
What we just witnessed simply does not happen. Ever. America and the football-viewing public at large doesn’t really want to spend much time soaking that in, because, well, everybody’s kind of sick of Tom Brady and the Patriots. That does happen.
Was he the best quarterback in the league in 2018? Were these throws the only great throws in all of the NFL in 2018? Was 2018 Tom Brady even close to as good as 2017 Tom Brady or 2016 Tom Brady? No, certainly not, and not really. But that hardly matters. While so many people were busy writing Tom Brady’s football obituary, he went out and did the impossible — something nobody’s ever been able to do. Ever.
Perhaps in good time, maybe 10, 15 years down the road, this will all be put into proper perspective. For now? For now we can all sit back and say, “Hey. Those were some pretty good throws by the football throwing man. How ’bout that?”