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Tom Brady on a Historic Passing Streak

Tom Brady is unfairly called a system quarterback; instead he should be called "the best quarterback."

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is responsible for the most passing attempts in a single game against the Seahawks since the creation of the Legion of Boom in 2012, when he threw 58 times. This Super Bowl, he notched 50 attempts, the second most against the Seahawks over that time.

Some of his passes were absolutely outstanding. He dropped a dime to Rob Gronkowski for a touchdown. He stepped up and made tremendous throws to Julian Edelman to move the chains in the fourth quarter. But in reality, most of his throws were quick strikes- he held the ball for under 2 seconds- so his receivers never had a chance to move down the field.

Some might say this style of quick passing is easy (and throwing a swing pass to a wide open Shane Vereen isn't difficult, in a vacuum), but it's the absolute best way to attack this Seahawks defense. Their defense is susceptible to shifty receivers and quick passes into cleared zones. The game plan was brilliant, as was the execution.

We should all know by now that Tom Brady doesn't care about any stat other than team victories. He'll sacrifice his bottom line and hand the ball off to Jonas Gray if it will help the team. But perhaps we should also give some credit to his output.

According to the data-driven website FiveThirtyEight, Tom Brady "owns practically every stretch of the best consecutive...passing regular seasons in the Super Bowl era."

What the heck does that mean?

It means that his production in 2007 is the best single season of passing in the history of football.

It means that his 2010-2011 seasons are the best back-to-back seasons by a quarterback in the history of football.

It means that his 2009-2011 seasons are the best three-in-a-row by a quarterback in the history of football.

And so on, and so forth. Brady is the best mark for every streak up through 10 seasons in a row (and that's all the data that's provided). The data is based on seasonally adjusted yards per attempt- and some extra calculus factors in touchdowns, interceptions, the weather, and more.

It should be noted that Brady's so good that his cumulative five year streak from 2007-2011 includes his non-2008 season and he still blows the competition out of the water.

The article goes further to discuss cumulative career regular season value, where Brady ranks second behind Peyton Manning. This is due to Peyton's longer career; at his current pace, if Brady plays two seasons longer than Manning, he'll likely capture the cumulative title as well.

Neil Paine of FiveThirtyEight goes on to adjust the cumulative value by post-season production, which is weighted by the playoff round (eg: the math behind it means performing well in a Super Bowl is weighted 205x more than similar production in the regular season).

Brady falls to third place with the playoffs included- but Peyton falls to fifth. Joe Montana ascends to the top spot since his best playoff games have all come in the Super Bowl; his real stinkers have been in the opening rounds with less of a weight in the formula. Kurt Warner is in second place, and Warner holds some of the most impressive postseason statlines ever.

In fourth? Terry Bradshaw, as his four Super Bowl appearances definitely help bolster his weighted output.

But no matter how you slice it, Brady is one of the best all time and his consistency at the top, year over year, will be extremely difficult to best.