Liotta: Brady great in an era accustomed to him

I'm not giving in on this one because I’m convinced everybody is talking about the wrong thing. The pronouncements about Tom Brady being the greatest quarterback ever because he went 26-for-28 last week is totally off-base.

A quarterback’s completion percentage these days is next to meaningless.

Remember how the naysayers used to try and give Joe Montana grief by saying he was a product of Bill Walsh’s ingenious system? Well, compared with the majority of throws Brady made on Sunday, Montana was a gunslinger.

I’ve never seen so many throws that were so easy. The New England offense is set up for the QB to complete 75 percent of his passes. Sure, Brady did better than that, but I’m betting every retired NFL quarterback watching that game was saying, “I could make that pass. And that one. That one, too.”

With his offensive line giving him enough time, Brady was playing pitch-and-catch with his receivers and running backs, mostly around the line of scrimmage, and letting them do the work. It’s brilliant, and it works. And Brady is the best in the game at executing it.

Where Brady proved his greatness, just like every other great quarterback, came on his passes down the field. His first touchdown pass to Ben Watson was brilliance, and he made a bunch more just like it.

Praising Brady for completing the easy ones is wrong. Go back and look at the career completion percentages of Johnny Unitas (54.6), Dan Fouts (58.8), even Dan Marino (59.4). Brett Favre (61.4), Peyton Manning (64.2) and Brady (63.0) are throwing in a different era, one in which offensive coordinators look to get skilled players out in the open to utilize their athleticism.

Montana was ahead of his time, completing 63.2 percent during his career, and Brady looks like this year he’s taken quarterback play to the next level, completing 68.9 percent of his passes with 50 touchdown passes. </p>

Brady and Montana are the two greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game, because they made great throws at key moments. Because they won. Because they won the biggest games they could win. Not because of their completion percentages.

A million years from now, they’ll probably go toe-to-toe in heaven, and I’m taking Montana 51-49. Ifyou think I’m crazy, dig up the Niners’ highlight tapes from the Montana years. Nobody ever came up bigger when it mattered most.

RANDOM THOUGHTS: If Bud Selig metes out any disclipine against Peter Magowan or Brian Sabean regarding their treatment of Barry Bonds and Greg Anderson, it will be one of the all-time great injustices. As far as the standards Selig and Major League Baseball had in place at the time, they’re completely innocent of any wrongdoing. That says something for the standards.

You can probably tell I’m really pleased baseball is keeping Selig as its commissioner through 2012 — not.

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner.

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