No, it really might be a GOAT

Does it Quack?

On the day of Super Bowl LV before the game got under way, I noted this about Tom Brady. This was, admittedly, based on not much more than a gut feeling I got about his performance over his career, as well as my perceptions of him throughout his time in the NFL. But I needed to know - exactly how good had Brady been during that five years when he could have been “retired” and waiting to get voted into the HOF? What did he do with himself instead of putting on the production of the triumphant Hall of Famer returning to play for one more ring? What did he do actually playing football in those five years?

Brady v. The League

If you look at the more vital passing statistics including attempts (Att), completions (Cmp), passing yards (Yds), touchdowns (TD), and interceptions (Int), it becomes pretty clear how Brady spent his time. His averages for the five seasons between 2015-2019 outpaced what the NFL averaged in each of those seasons in 4 out of 5 of those categories. Brady’s averages over that span, against the league:

  • Rank 3rd in Attempts
  • Rank 1st in Completions
  • Rank 1st in Yards
  • Rank 1st in Touchdowns
  • Rank 1st in Interceptions

Party Years Att Cmp Yds TD Int
BRADY Avg. 2015-2019 564.00 365.20 4262.6 29.800 7.2000
BRADY Avg. 2000-2014 477.87 303.40 3550.5 26.133 9.5333
League Avg. 2019 557.91 354.09 4028.5 24.906 12.8125
League Avg. 2018 552.22 358.19 4070.8 26.469 13.0938
League Avg. 2017 546.50 339.25 3833.8 23.156 13.4375
League Avg. 2016 571.72 360.19 4089.5 24.562 12.9688
League Avg. 2015 571.81 360.22 4146.5 26.312 13.6250

Brady v. The Players

So good old #12’s performance over those years was essentially a clinic for the league, on average. But how does he stack up against individual players? By looking at how his stats rank, as a percentile, against all other QBs gives a pretty good idea that he was generally at least above average.1 Indeed, most of his stats put him in at least near the 65th percentile. So while not always in a spot to win, place, or show, you would have been wise to grab him for your fantasy league nonetheless.

T. BRADY 2015-2019 61 63 51 96 67 75
T. Brady 2020 86 88 57 85 99 45
T. Brady 2019 87 68 20 58 50 70
T. Brady 2018 63 69 58 72 66 56
T. Brady 2017 69 77 63 81 77 72
T. Brady 2016 25 32 74 40 60 99
T. Brady 2015 91 89 47 89 93 83

Incidentally, he also won a couple of Super Bowls in that span for good measure…and then, with another career year this past season, with a different team, in a different conference, he won another.

  1. By taking every QB in the NFL with at least 14 pass attempts per game and compiling their seasons stats, I then ranked them by percentile, with numbers closest to 100 being the league leaders in that stat category. So this table provides how each of Brady’s seasons (2015-2019; and 2020 added for context) and his average performance, each compare, in terms of his percentile rankings, against the seasons of every other QB’s season totals during every season (excluding 2020).↩︎