DB’s Weekly Take: Please cool it with the Brady vs. Jordan debate

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after their NFL Super Bowl 55 football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers defeated the Chiefs 31-9 to win the Super Bowl. Photo by Gregory Bull/AP Photo.

“Well that game kinda sucked” – Everyone after Super Bowl LV, probably. 

At least that’s what I said after the 31-9 stomping that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put on the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL’s main event of the year. Good thing I perfectly predicted that would be the case in last week’s column. I even included the link to prove it, but you don’t have to click it because I’m telling the truth. No seriously, please don’t click that link. 

Ok, if you clicked the link then you know that I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was predicting an offensive thriller between two of the league’s best quarterbacks, and what we got was the most lopsided Super Bowl since the Seahawks-Broncos 43-8 massacre in 2014. Oh well. Like Osgood Fielding said in “Some Like It Hot”: “Nobody’s perfect.” 

This Super Bowl will really only be remembered in history for one thing: Tom Brady winning his seventh ring and first as a Buccaneer instead of a Patriot. The game doesn’t really affect Brady’s legacy though. He was the greatest quarterback of all time before he won on Sunday, and he’s still the greatest quarterback of all time now, albeit with a slightly improved resume. But by winning a seventh ring, we all now have to be tortured by sports talk shows with a brutal debate that makes no sense. 

I can hear Molly Qerim on First Take now. “So Stephen A., with a seventh championship, has Tom Brady now officially eclipsed Michael Jordan?” 

Excuse me, what? Are we really trying to compare athletes of completely different sports now? Let’s debate whether Denzel Washington is better than Elton John next because that has just about as much correlation. I mean both are in the entertainment industry, right? 

Brady and Jordan are two of the most iconic athletes ever, considered by most to be the greatest of all time in their respective sports. But, the fact is that they played different sports. Basketball and football don’t overlap in any way except for the fact that they are both popular, competitive team sports. So, trying to compare two greats of different sports doesn’t make any sense to me because there’s nothing in common to compare. 

Who’s better at shooting a basketball? I’m going to go with my gut and say MJ. Who’s better at throwing a football? Probably Brady, I would assume. What about another sport like baseball? That’s interesting because both guys have some background in baseball. Jordan played in the minor leagues for a couple of seasons during his first “retirement” and Brady was drafted by the Montreal Expos out of high school. But it’s not really possible to answer that. How about golf? Both guys are known for being avid golfers. Maybe we need to televise a one-on-one golf match between the two of them to settle this “who is the better GOAT?” debate once and for all. 

In this Jan. 24, 2020, file photo, former basketball superstar Michael Jordan speaks during a news conference ahead of an NBA basketball game between the Charlotte Hornets and the Milwaukee Bucks in Paris. The Associated Press asked eight of the greatest current and former champions, including Jordan, from seven different sports to find out what impressed them most about Tom Brady. Photo by Thibault Camus/ AP Photo, File.

You see how silly this is getting? 

Look, I get it. Sports analysts need something to talk about. Debate shows like First Take and Undisputed need topics to argue about to keep their viewers, and there’s nobody to compare Tom Brady to in his sport anymore. His legacy has surpassed anyone who’s ever played the game of football, so you have to go outside of football to find a worthy comparison. Jordan is the easiest one because his six championships are considered a standard for greatness, and by winning his seventh Super Bowl, Brady has surpassed that (although he still needs one more to pass the true NBA postseason GOAT Robert Horry). 

But when you start comparing between sports, it’s a slippery slope because it depends on what sport someone feels is more difficult or what sport someone likes more. It doesn’t stop with just Brady and Jordan, either. There’s the impossible “Greatest Athlete Ever” debate that could include team sport athletes like Brady, Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Hank Aaron and Cristiano Ronaldo, but also individual sport athletes like Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps and Simone Biles. 

There is literally no correct answer to that question, as everyone has their own criteria and a lot of people, like myself, don’t even have an opinion on that topic. I try to just appreciate the greats for what they are and not discredit any of them by saying one is better than the others. 

I feel like I’m in the minority with that take, but I just don’t like comparing athletes of different sports because there’s no quantitative way to see how they measure up. Championships and records mean something different in every sport. It’s truly apples and oranges. 

I know these debates will continue to happen because people need to find something to argue about online, but let’s try not to get sucked into that rabbit hole because the Brady vs. Jordan debate is incredibly stupid and not worth our time. 

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