In a little over 6 weeks, the entire nation will be focused on a little football game being played between the AFC and the NFC. The Super Bowl, which has the coolest name ever this year (XL), will no doubt make household names out of some athletes. One athlete that has rightfully become a superstar over that past few years has been Tom Brady. He’s quarterbacked his team to three Super Bowl victories while winning the MVP all three times. I have no doubts that he is in the upper echelon of QB’s in the NFL right now. As I have posted in the message boards over the past couple days, though, I do have a problem with him winning Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsman of the Year.” First of all, this is going ot look like a laundry list of complaints. I promise you that it is not such. As I said earlier, I view Tom Brady as an top-tier quarterback and I think he will eventually be a first-ballot hall-of-famer. With that being said, I do have some slight problems with his resume. First of all, I don’t like the fact that he’s referred to as the three-time Super Bowl MVP. Say what you want, but he did NOT deserve the Super Bowl MVP his first year. He had 145 yards passing and just one touchdown. He led the Pats to only 15 first downs. The Pats were forced to punt 8 times. The Pats “bend-but-not-break” defense kept them in the game giving up all kind of yards, but only gave up 17 points while scoring 7 on a Ty Law interception. Say what you want about kickers, but Adam Vinatieri is the MVP of this game. Without his leg, the game goes to overtime. I don’t even know if you can argue this. Plus, I’m still going to play this card… thanks to the “tuck rule,” the Pats were given a gift to even be in this game. You guys can say “a rule is a rule,” but the fact is the Raiders got hosed.

I also have a problem with his Super Bowl MVP last year. He had 236 yards passing and two touchdowns, but neither touchdown was more than four yards. Deion Branch, with his 11 receptions for 133 yards, would’ve been my MVP. Besides passes to Deion Branch, do you know how many times the Patriots converted 3rd down opportunties? One… a 9-yard Corey Dillon rush which was set up by a five yard pass to Deion Branch on second down.

He’s been compared to Joe Montana. I know why people make the comparisons, but I don’t think they are accurate. Brady has averaged 245 yards and two touchdowns in his three Super Bowls. Montana averaged 285.5 yards and 2.75 touchdowns in his four Super Bowls. He also had two rushing touchdowns. It’s been argued that Montana had better tools around him. In the Super Bowl games, though, he’s had a running backs with high games of 55, 65, 71, and 69. In two of his victories, he had the immortal Jerry Rice. In his first two Super Bowls, though, he had leading receivers with 77 yards and 52 yards.

All of this isn’t to say that Tom Brady can’t eventually become Montana-like. It’s not fair to label a player as being as good as Joe Montana when he hasn’t had the longevity of Montana. By all indications, Brady is well on his way. Unfortunately, though, football is a sport where longevity is never for certain. Many players have a string of fine seasons in a row only to fall completely off the map. A few years ago, Kurt Warner looked like a certain Hall-of-Famer. In the last four years, though, he’s thrown 20 touchdowns compared to 25 interceptions. He’s only lost 2 playoff games by a combined 6 points. I’m not saying Tom Brady is going to have a Kurt Warner-esque falling off, but until he proves his longevity, I’m not ready to name him in the same breath as Joe Montana. Montana is an eight-time Pro-Bowler. He’s ranked in the all-time top 10 in completions, passing yards, and passing TD’s. Tom Brady has been to a Pro Bowl twice and isn’t even halfway to being in the top 10 in completions. passing yards, or passing TDs. He’s 408 completions, 11499 yards, and 47 TDs out of being in 50th place for any of these categories. As a comparison, Peyton Manning, who is one year older is ranked 18th in all-time completions, 23rd in passing yards, and 14th in touchdowns.

I’ll leave you with this. Tedy Bruschi is the undeniable leader of the New England Patriots defense. The defense has been undeniably “won” more game for the Patriots than their offense. Tedy Bruschi had a stroke last year, came back, and is again the leader on a defense of a team that is really heating up as of late. If you are going to give the Sportsman of the Year award to a Patriot, how do you give it to Tom Brady over Tedy Bruschi.

If you’re out on your bike tonight, do wear white,