Monday Morning Quarterbacking – Crap I Think of While Mowing the Lawn #27


(other than This Lawn Looks Like Crap)



Interesting, if not always deep, thoughts often pop into my head while I’m doing battle with my lawn. And yes, I do battle with a non-gas, non-electric, old-fashioned push mower. An actual reel mower. And my mind tends to think of some semi-interesting crap while I push along.

Welcome to Volume 27 of Crap I Think of While Mowing the Lawn (or is it while walking and driving through slush) in which I look back on Super Bowl commercials (yawn), Katy Perry (fine to look at, okay to listen to, and not worth much more commentary), the game itself (amazing) and the obligatory all-time ranking of its winning quarterback.



Super Bowl 49 (I’m too lazy to honor the Roman Numeral convention) is now over, and while my team did not win (My only real team is the Philadelphia Eagles, although I’ve rooted hard for the Green Bay Packers as a secondary team the last 5 or so years) for the “xlix-th” year in a row, I was rooting for the Evil Empire, er, New England Patriots, to win last night, and they did…in heroic and quasi-fluky fashion.

Here are a few, or so, observations from about 20 hours later on a slushy, dismal Monday afternoon.


I pride myself on being a nuanced and sensibly balanced thinker and writer who is not given to saying and writing things like, “Man, the Super Bowl commercials all sucked.” The truth is that while I wouldn’t mind raving over the commercials, none of them wowed me this year, or even moved me in any way all that much. Every year, I read and hear people’s lists and takes on the commercials they loved and hated. And almost every year, I hardly even notice them, and those that I do watch don’t impress me too much.

There were just five of us watching the game at my house this year, although Benny (my six-and-a-half-year-old boy), my wife and my friend’s wife really weren’t watching.  Yes, there was some talking (football and otherwise), and some good food, but hardly anything even approaching wild party status. But, I simply didn’t take in the commercials, and the only commercial that kind of made us feel anything (and a little bit warm in this case) was the Budweiser dog/horse one. It was a nice little manufactured moment, but nothing all that terrific. However…


…was great. Without looking at a list of all of the Super Bowls, and there have been several others that also came down to the last play (or so), this had to be one of the five best Super Bowls I’ve seen. Perhaps, top three. There are definitely things about both teams I don’t like, but they were the top seeds in their respective conferences for a reason or two, and either team would have been worthy of taking home the Lombardi Trophy.

I am a big fan of both franchise quarterbacks, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady. Wilson, unlike many of his teammates, is pure class, and is very hard to root against. It’s a little easier to not wish as much success to head coach Pete Carroll, running back Marshawn Lynch (awesome running back, but his off-the-field act has worn not only thin, but puny) and cornerback Richard Sherman (same with his act, but a truly great player who has done some admirable things off the field).

It’s probably even easier to root against the Pats, and their somewhat diabolical hoody-attired Svengali, Bill Belichick. At the same time, I’ve always liked Tom Brady, his raging desire to win, his all-around game, and what seems to be a fairly classy personality. His game has always moved my sports needle more than that of his greatest positional rival, Peyton Manning.

So, Where Does Brady Now Rank?

Sometimes, even in this very space, I get caught up in ranking greatest (often, all-time greatest) songs, movies and athletes. It’s an impossible task, but it’s also a task that I find almost impossible to refrain from undertaking. With Brady now the only quarterback not named Joe Montana or Terry Bradshaw to have led his team to four Super Bowl victories (and now surpassing John Elway by starting in six Super Bowls), has he climbed to the top?  My best answer? I don’t know, but I am starting to think that way.

If I were starting a mythical team for a 10-15-year run, and I had my choice of any quarterbacks of the last 45 or so years (so that I actually watched them play near their prime) to lead it, who would I pick? On just sheer talent, I’m still intrigued by John Elway, who was big and tough, had better than average mobility, and possessed as strong an arm (if not the most accurate one) as I’ve ever seen. The homer in me would love to rewrite history around Randall Cunningham. And like everyone else, I’ve seen Joe Montana get it done repeatedly in crunch time, and Tom Brady is also a great performer in the clutch.

I was a big fan of Steve Young’s all-around game, wished Roger Staubach didn’t bring his brilliance to the Dallas Cowboys, and still think that Aaron Rodgers has the best combination of skills, toughness and smarts that I have seen in an NFL quarterback. Hey, on one good leg down the stretch including the playoffs, he brought his team to within a historic collapse (by his coach ad a variety of players) of getting to the Super Bowl. It says here, if he were healthy, that they would’ve beaten the Pats.

Having written all of this, I’d take a healthy Rodgers at the helm of my mythical team, but he’s not there yet with some of the others in terms of career achievements. In career efficiency, he tops the list.

If anyone else takes Montana, or Elway, or Brady (possibly even Marino), I wouldn’t complain too much. As far as all-time accomplishments, while there is some luck involved as to who your teammates and coaches are, the choice (within my lifetime) would most likely come down to Montana, Elway and Brady. Putting aside passer rating and volume stats, the first numbers that jump out at me are outlined here; all numbers were pulled from


Regular Season W/L record

# of seasons as starter

Playoff Appearances

Playoff Record

Super Bowl Record




















So, you make the call.  If you saw Elway play, he was the best “jock” out there, authored some memorable comebacks and elevated some less than spectacular teams to the Super Bowl. He was remarkably durable, and most people would pick him in a mythical pickup game based on his skills. Still, he has 12 fewer wins, and 35 more losses, than Brady, and he wasn’t as consistent as Montana or Brady in his career.

Montana was 4-0 in the Super Bowl, but is 4-0 better than Brady’s 4-2? Of course, it is percentage-wise, but the fact is that Brady has a slightly better playoff winning percentage, and his regular season winning percentage was so much better that Joe Cool would have had to play 43 games – and won all of them – to match Brady’s record. In 12 years as a starter, Montana won four championships and made it to the ultimate game those four times. In 13 years, Brady has also won four, and made it to the ultimate game six times.

As far as supporting casts go, both Brady and Montana had all-time great, genius head coaches, although Montana had a slight advantage in that Bill Walsh’s system and the offensive talent he amassed around his quarterback was consistently superior to what Brady had to work with.

As a final note, I would say that one can easily make a case that Tom Brady has been the greatest quarterback of the Super Bowl era, which is, essentially, the last 50 years. In fact, I probably just made that case, even if I would be fine with Montana or Elway leading my team, and would still take a prime, healthy Aaron Rodgers over any of them.



Two Book Crossover 11.13

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