First, let me mention that at no point will I admit that Tom Brady is a Hall of Fame lock and potentially the greatest of all time. Oh, dang. The purpose is to try and determine just how "clutch" Tom Brady is, as he is considered to be, with Montana, one of the most clutch quarterbacks the game has ever seen.
Notable stats (playoffs)
3+ TD games (4)
300 yard games (4)
Games with multiple INT (5 or 24%)
Games without INT (10 or 48%)
Games with YPA of 8.5 or greater (4)
QB Rating: 87.6
Eli Manning (playoffs)
3+ TD games (2)
300 yard games (2)
Games with multiple INT (2 or 20%)
Games without INT (5 or 50%)
Games with YPA of 8.5 or greater (3)
QB Rating: 87.5
Peyton Manning (playoffs)
3+ TD games (5)
300 yard games (8)
Games with multiple INT (5 or 26%)
Games without INT (8 or 42%)
Games with YPA of 8.5 or greater (5)QB Rating: 88.4
I'd say all three of them have a body of work relative to one another. Tom Brady has "cleaner" stats than Peyton Manning, but YPA is a big indicator of what is asked of him as a quarterback, and his is lower than Peyton's or Eli's. Tom Brady also has the rings.
But what wins championships? Is it Uggs endorsing, record-breaking quarterbacks? Or is it defense?
New England's defense, during Tom Brady's tenure, has had some ups and downs. However, t hasn't had many downs in the postseason.
In Brady's first playoff run (culminating with a Super Bowl), the Patriots defense allowed over 400 total yards just once in three games (to "The Greatest show on Turf") but forced three turnovers in that game.
Average points allowed: 16
Average yards allowed: 321
Average points allowed: 19
Average yards allowed: 326
Average points allowed: 17
Average yards allowed: 344
Average points allowed: 15
Average yards allowed: 289
Average points allowed: 25
Average yards allowed: 385
Average points allowed: 16
Average yards allowed: 333
Now, up to this point, we see that the Patriots allowed more than 20 points per game (on average) in just one postseason run in six appearances. in 17 playoff games, the Patriots forced 40 turnovers (average of 2.4 per game). Tom Brady has tossed 36 touchdown passes in his entire postseason career (21 games). In fact, a startling six (or 17%) of those came against the Broncos a few weeks ago.
Over the next three playoff appearances (including this most recent run), the production isn't what it used to be, but still isn't completely terrible:
Average points allowed: 23
Average yards allowed: 308
To put it all in perspective, the Colts (during Peyton Manning era) forced 34 turnovers in 19 games, allowing 328 yards per game over that stretch. The Patriots forced 44 turnovers in 21 games, allowing 330 yards per game.
Points allowed per game is pretty comparable:
Colts: 21 ppg
Patriots: 19 ppg
The biggest difference has been that the evil genius has devised ways to get more turnovers.
What does it mean? That Tommy Terrific, despite getting all of the accolades as a postseason magician, is on par with his counterpart(s) on the stat sheet.
To put it in greater perspective even still:
Joe Montana (playoffs)
3+ TD games (9)
300 yard games (6)
Games with multiple INT (5 or 22%)
Games without INT (9 or 39%)
Games with YPA of 8.5 or greater (9)
So, far and away Montana has been the better postseason quarterback. If Eli can continue to get into the playoffs and build his resume, I think he might be able to considered up there with Montana as one of the truly great clutch quarterbacks. Brady is and will be one of the greatest to play the position, but people do tend to forget just how good the Patriots were defensively over the years.