Pro Football Focus completed their PFF50 last week, which is a list of the top-50 players of the league. Sure enough, Bucs quarterback Tom Brady made the top-10.
PFF ranked Brady as the seventh-best overall player in the NFL and the second-best quarterback in the NFL, behind Patrick Mahomes.
Brady and Jerry Rice are seemingly the only football players who have ever managed to thoroughly evade Father Time. At 43 years of age, Brady posted a PFF grade of 93.3 last season, including the playoffs.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion did this in his first season with a completely new team and brand new offensive scheme for the first time in two decades, with no preseason to work through the issues that would usually present. Brady is still as good as any quarterback in the game; the only question is how long he can keep defying time.
Eat your heart out, Chris Simms.
But in all seriousness, it’s easy to see why Brady is ranked so high. Even aside from PFF’s reasoning.
There’s the obvious point about his accolades. No one else in the NFL is -or was- even close to accomplishing what Brady has. He can still make every type of throw there is to make in this league and he can do it when asked. Just look at this throw to Scotty Miller in the NFC Championship game last year:
.@TomBrady + @MillerTime___10 at the buzzer. 🎯 pic.twitter.com/JC8UvLK3wf
— NFL (@NFL) June 23, 2021
But then there are also the numbers that back everything up. In his first year with the Bucs, Brady threw for the second-most touchdowns, the third-most yards, and the sixth-best ANY/A in a single season of his career.
The advanced numbers are there, too. Per PFF, Brady finished fifth in the big-time throw rate, he had the lowest turnover-worthy play rate, and he was the ninth-highest rated quarterback among quarterbacks with at least 326 dropbacks in 2020. This is all while playing in the Bucs vertical offensive scheme, where Brady had the second-highest average depth of target at 9.6 yards per attempt.
The Bucs really benefited from Brady’s play when they ran play action. Brady threw the fifth-most touchdowns (13) and had the second-highest grade (93.6) among quarterbacks with at least 67 dropbacks. His 12.3% big-time throw rate absolutely crushed Lamar Jackson‘s 8.6% rate, which is considered second-best in the NFL. Once again, Brady did this with one of the league’s highest ADOT rates. He finished third, just behind Joe Flacco and Mike Glennon (huh?!).
Per Football Outsiders, Brady finished third in DYAR and fourth in overall DVOA. Per Sports Info Solutions, his 0.13 EPA/dropback was good for ninth-best among quarterbacks with at least 186 attempts.
And just like PFF explains, Brady did all of this in his first year with the Bucs. With a limited offseason. Oh yea. And Brady led the Bucs to their second Super bowl in franchise history.
That puts the exclamation point on everything. PFF’s ranking is a fair one and well-deserved. Now it’s time for the Bucs and Brady to do it again in 2021.
You can check out the entire PFF 50, here.