clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Tom Brady has been a crunch-time magician since college

New, comments

Good morning! This is The Read Option, your daily college football newsletter. Sign up for this in your inbox!

Colorado v Michigan Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

As a part-time (and eventual full-time) starter at Michigan, Tom Brady earned the nickname “Comeback Kid,” a handle he’s both outgrown and maintained all the way through his fifth Super Bowl title, the most unbelievable comeback (and/or collapse) in football history. In 1999, Brady helped lead four Michigan comeback wins of varying difficulty, including over Alabama in the first-ever overtime BCS bowl after falling behind both 14-0 and 28-14.

That's continued, obnoxiously. The top five close-game (touchdown or less) NFL career win percentages by QBs with multiple Super Bowl rings, via an excellent post by Sports on Earth’s Matt Brown:

  • Brady: 69.2 percent (65-29)
  • Peyton Manning: 65.8 percent (77-40)
  • Roger Staubach: 61.2 percent (30-19)
  • Terry Bradshaw: 57.4 percent (35-26)
  • John Elway: 56.4 percent (66-51)

My colleagues Bud Elliott and Bill Connelly often discuss the theory that close games in football are basically coin flips, except when teams have exceptional talent at head coach, quarterback, or kicker. Then, it's similar to the difference that a top bullpen can make in a close baseball game. The Patriots have the best-ever head coach, probably the best-ever quarterback, and haven't exactly been hurting at kicker, either. And at Michigan, the Wolverines evidently had a better QB than anybody on earth realized at the time.

Since leaving Michigan, Brady has repeatedly praised his alma mater and showed his face in Ann Arbor, including at one of Jim Harbaugh's big recruiting productions. He ended his Super Bowl MVP presser, which furthered the Wolverines' all-time lead in those particular trophies, with a "Go Blue."

More college football

PREVIOUS: Super Bowl 51 really would've been improved by college's overtime rule.