Clarksville, TN – We all know only two quarterbacks in Super Bowl history have won four of them and New England Patriot’s Tom Brady would join Pittsburgh Steelers’ Terry Bradshaw and San Francisco 49ers’ Joe Montana in that exclusive club if they win Super Bowl XLVI over the New York Giants. (It can’t be forgotten that defensive end Charles Haley is the only man to win five Super Bowls.)
But if the Patriots lose, Brady falls to 3-2 in Super Bowl games and join another not so wanting group of quarterbacks to lose at least two Super Bowls — Roger Staubach, John Elway and Fran Tarkenton, who both lost three, and the only man to lose four Super Bowls, Jim Kelly.
To make it worse, it would be Brady’s second straight loss in a Super Bowl and to it would be to the same team led by the same quarterback in the New York Giants and Eli Manning.
There’s no questioning the Patriots are the first dynasty of the 21st Century. Their three of four victories in 2002 over the Rams — arguably the biggest upset in Super Bowl History — in 2004 over the Carolina Panthers and in 2005 over the Philadelphia Eagles already cemented that and this one just drives and the loss to the Giants in 2007 just drive a stake in it.
But losing streaks are losing streaks and for all the credit Brady and all quarterbacks get or leading teams to victory they get the equal and same treatment for not getting the ‘W’ and it would be fair to start questioning if Brady’s lost some of his mojo if it happens to the Patriots today.
Remember, John Elway wasn’t considered a great quarterback until the back-to-back wins in Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII, including his helicopter-spin touchdown run, changed that perception. His three losses in Super Bowl XXI, XXII and XXIV had put him in the Tarkenton/Kelly category.
And it took years for many folks reconcile that both Tarkenton’s and Kelly’s failure in one game, didn’t overshadow all they had done in their career’s.
So if Brady doesn’t win today does it mean his legacy is tarnished?
Does it mean that he gets knocked down a peg in the pantheon of quarterbacks, because everything he’s done up to now makes it hard to argue he isn’t one of the best ever to play under center?
The answer is yes … and no.
Yes, because while winning three Super Bowls is already great and awesome accomplishment, winning four puts him in the rarefied air only Bradshaw and Montana can breathe.
Yes, because losing to the same team with the same quarterback for the second time in the same event says there someone out there who’s got your number.
And yes, because we live in a ‘What have you done for me lately?’ world and he would be a quarterback with a two-game losing streak in the Super Bowl.
But the overall answer is no, because how arrogant are we to think it’s a failure to get to five Super Bowls and win three.