In Terry Bradshaw’s book, when it comes to the best hip and knee replacement surgeon in the world, there’s only one good answer: Dr. Lowry Barnes.
The Little Rock-based orthopedic surgeon did such a good job on Bradshaw’s right knee in 2015 that Bradshaw returned to Arkansas for reconstructive surgeries with two other UAMS doctors, too.
While Dr. Barnes’ place among knee surgeons is clear to Bradshaw, Tom Brady’s all-time place among NFL quarterbacks is not.
The FOX NFL football analyst thinks Brady is great, but not the best ever.
“Easily in the last 20 years, he’s the best quarterback that we’ve had,” Bradshaw recently said on “The Zone” Buzz 103.7 FM. “People say, ‘Well, is he the best to ever play?’ No, it’s not fair to say that. Is he better than [Johnny] Unitas? Is he better than [Roger] Staubach? It’s a whole different era. It’s throw, throw, throw.”
And Brady has thrown with the best of them.
Better than the best of them, in most cases.
Brady has won six Super Bowls, the most of any quarterback in NFL history, and is among the top two most efficient quarterbacks ever. Brady has six seasons of throwing for 4,000 yards and fewer than 10 interceptions.
The only other quarterback to have more than two such seasons was the opponent that Brady defeated in the NFC Championship Game — Aaron Rodgers (Rodgers has eight seasons of more than 4,000 passing yards and less than 10 interceptions).
Bradshaw, who quarterbacked the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles in the 1970s, grants Brady is the best of the 21st century. In the spring 2020, before Brady put up great numbers in his first season at Tampa Bay, Bradshaw said he considered Brady’s G.O.A.T status to include the 1990s as well.
“He may be the best quarterback we’ve had in the last 30 years,” he told 93.7 The Fan.
Bradshaw added that Super Bowl rings matter, of course, but that’s not the biggest factor for who he would consider as the greatest of all time. Sheer individual talent matters more.
That’s why, at the time, he placed Joe Montana, Dan Fouts, Roger Staubach and Dan Marino above Brady.
Don’t get Bradshaw wrong.
He still thinks the world of Brady’s abilities.
“I marvel at how accurate he is. I say on TV all the time… ‘I love the way he steps and delivers with his shoulder and drives the football.'”
“For all the young people out there, watch how he throws the football. Watch Drew Brees. Watch those two — guys that step with their legs. And don’t watch Aaron Rodgers because he throws off balance pretty much all the time,” Bradshaw told “The Zone” co-hosts Justin Acri and Wess Moore.
From a sheer skills standpoint, Rodgers is one of the few quarterbacks who can rival, if not surpass, Brady. The other is Patrick Mahomes, the 25-year-old superstar who will lead the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs against Tampa Bay in Super Bowl LV.
In terms of pocket escapeability, highlight throws and accuracy, Mahomes already surpasses Brady. He has the most wins, most passing yards, most passing TDs and highest passer rating through 53 starts of any NFL quarterback in the Super Bowl era.
From a purely statistical perspective, Patrick Mahomes is on track to one day rival Brady for G.O.A.T. status a decade or more out. How many Super Bowl rings he collects will play a big part in his ability to surpass Brady.
So far, he has one. But getting No. 2 at the expense of the current G.O.A.T., even if Brady is 43 years old, could be a big plus down the line.
Sports talk show host Marcellus Wiley think the pressure is on Mahomes:
“I’m talking about a young man who is 25 years young with a better team, with a better coach, with a better organization. Better, better, better. He better not only play better, but he better win this game or else everyone’s going to look at him like, ‘Ooh, empty calories. Did you lose to the old man? You couldn’t knock the old man out of his rocking chair? You couldn’t knock the old man off the porch?'”
He continued: “The last time Patrick Mahomes felt bad about a playoff experience was at the hands of Tom Brady. Don’t let it happen again, because that will be the nail in the coffin of the premature G.O.A.T conversation that Patrick Mahomes is trying to enter into.”
Wiley’s co-host, Emmanuel Acho, thinks the pressure is actually on Brady, however. He says if Brady loses, he’s not just losing a single Super Bowl, but also giving a Super Bowl to his projected future rival for best-ever status. So it’s a bigger net loss, similar to how a pick-6 from the one-yard line is actually a two-touchdown swing.
“Tom Brady isn’t just playing for one [Super Bowl],” Acho said. “If he was playing against Aaron Rodgers, if he was playing against Ben Roethlisberger, that’s different.”
“He’s also playing to keep what will be his nemesis when it comes down to the greatest of all time from getting one as well. That’s an added level of pressure.”
The below is from a previous article about Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers:
Bradshaw had plenty of praise for Aaron Rodgers, too: “He doesn’t take a lot of gambles down the middle of the football field. Most of his stuff is to the outside, but he’s amazingly quick. Quickest release in the NFL.”
“He is just an amazingly gifted quarterback. Plus he has great athletic skills. His athletic skills far exceed Tom. Tom’s a great quarterback for the spot, but he can’t move a lick.”
Keith Jackson, a Little Rock native and former Green Bay star, agrees with Bradshaw. A few days earlier, he had shared his thoughts on the playoffs on the Buzz’s “Show with No Name.”
Brady “never could move. As you get older, you lose your mobility. He never had it. So you see guys who were really fast, they get out on the edge, just throw the ball, can’t do that anymore. So it takes away from their ability to play.”
“When you look at him, he’s a 5 flat, 5.2 [40 time] guy from the beginning. So nothing’s changed it. He just got to be able to be smarter, get the ball out. And I’m not a new England fan, but in a way I am a Tom Brady fan. How could you not be a fan of his?
Hear more from Jackson above: “Aaron Rodgers is a baad man” (8:20)
Bradshaw covers quite a bit of ground in his interview. He talks about the three Arkansas doctors who fixed him up (7:50), getting recruited by Jimmy Johnson to play at Louisiana Tech, and his never-dying dream to build a peanut butter empire (5:02):
NB: Bradshaw’s mention of getting 10% and the wink at 1:52 is hilarious.