A system quarterback is a quarterback who does extremely well under a specific offensive scheme and it is blatant the success Tom Brady has under Bill Belichick. Does that make him a system QB? Most people would say yes. And according to someone on Twitter, “Tom Brady is the most overrated QB ever, a product of the system and would be [Mark] Sanchez anywhere else.”
Cute response right? Well, I’m here to reverse that blasphemy. Fans do not realize that there is a lot more that goes into playing quarterback as there is a lot more than just being a significant other. There are intangibles, soft skills, and common sense only humans with horns have. (Goat reference).
For years, I’ve experienced Tom Brady shatter the hearts of non-patriots fans. And I mean glass-breaking, stone cold -theme music shattering. And you know why? The man is clutch. More clutch than takeout when your stove decides to stop working. And yes, he may be a part of the cliché “all-time clutch QBs” discussion, but with 2 minutes left on the clock down by a score, I’m taking Tom Terrific. Tom Brady will make sure he has that defense beat even before the ball is snapped! Matchups, schemes, blitzes, you name it! He’ll go through that checklist and will hike the ball with confidence only a freshman will have right before asking out a senior out to prom. And the funny thing is, after he completes it, the defense looks in disarray as if their minds have been read!! He reads defenses like they are a Dr. Seuss novel and plays them like a fiddle!
Now, for the Tom Brady haters, who will inevitably bring up the 2008-2009 season when Matt Cassel started as quarterback, let’s look at the numbers. Has anyone forgotten the season before when the Patriots were dubbed the 2nd greatest show on turf? Besides the fact the Patriots were undefeated in the regular season, the offense ranked first in total yards (6580), 1st downs (393), Points for (589), and had a total of 75 touchdowns all while having the least amount of turnovers (15) through the whole NFL!
Let’s look at the season after, when Tom Brady went down. The season when the Patriots played somewhat well and everyone thought to themselves “anyone can play QB for Bill Belichick.” Now, keep in mind, the team still had their star receivers Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Ben Watson in as TE and a slight change to the backfield with Laurence Maroney gone. The offense ranked 5th in total yards (5847), ranked 1st in 1st downs (356) ranked 8th in points for (410) and committed 21 turnovers. Not to mention, they didn’t make the playoffs that year! Numbers and results aren’t so pretty huh? It’s clear with Tom under center, that offense runs like a cheetah in open space. Don’t you think if Tom was such a system quarterback, Matt Cassel would have the same success?
Now in his 17th season, Tom Brady has seen so many different receivers that it is hard for anyone to call him a system QB! While being top of the depth chart for the first time in his career, Tom Brady led the Patriots to a Superbowl victory with David Givens and Deion Branch as receivers. Where are these receivers today? Are they HOF candidates? I don’t think so. Face it, that offense is an orchestra that frequently changes their tune but Tom Brady is such a maestro, any tune sounds good!
Let’s discuss an example of system QBs. Alex Smith. After leaving San Francisco and linking up with Andy Reid in Kansas City in 2013, he became a new man. Career-best numbers such as 498 rushing yards, and 3502 passing yards all came while playing under Andy Reid. Not to mention, it took Alex Smith 6 years to reach the playoffs once with San Francisco. He’s been to the playoffs for the past 3 years with the Chiefs! If that is not spelling out, I am a system QB, I don’t know what is.
I will agree, Bill Belichick is an outstanding coach and is the excuse for a majority of the Patriots success. But, do people call Eminem a system rapper because he works with Dr. Dre? No. Tom Brady will take advantage of any defense under any personnel any given day. Stats are clear, his ability to not turn the ball over unnecessarily is his grace, and his accuracy to put a pea through an oversized cheerio is what makes him fearful.
So what does it really mean to be a system QB? Is it a label that envious people use to try and expose a Quarterback that has beaten their team in the Superbowl? Or, is it something that Skip Bayless made up? Whatever it is, Tom Brady isn’t it.