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ESPN surveyed 50 NFL insiders: Patriots’ Tom Brady is the #1 quarterback for the 5th straight year

Of course he’s the best.

NFL: Super Bowl LI-Winning Team Press Conference Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For each of the past five years, ESPN has surveyed 50 different NFL insiders to get their opinion on each of the starting quarterbacks around the league. And according to this year’s survey, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is tied with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the #1 spot on the list.

For the fifth-straight year.

They survey requires each interviewee to place a quarterback in one of five different tiers, ranging from a quarterback that can carry his team every single week to a quarterback that probably should be a back-up. Every single response placed Brady in the first tier.

Here’s why:

“It looks like [Brady] is getting better,” an offensive coordinator said. “He is such a quick decision-maker, he is so accurate, they keep expanding what they are doing, the burden is on him, they don’t play good defense anymore. He carries that team.”

“The thing that is cool about Brady and people on the outside don’t understand about the NFL is, it is the person he is,” a general manager added. “It is the leadership he brings to that building. He makes everybody excited about working there, playing on Sundays. Is he an a--h--- sometimes? We all are. But he exudes success and confidence. That is so hard to find in a quarterback.”

“Bill Belichick is an outstanding coach,” a defensive coordinator noted. “If that guy [Brady] is not quarterbacking, then he is like the rest of us, trying to get our s--- together. Brady is just a special dude. The guy understands going back to college that he has to compete for everything all the time. That is what makes him great.”

We can talk about how the Patriots “don’t play good defense anymore,” and how that in spite of their top 10 finishes in points allowed under defensive coordinator Matt Patricia they’ve failed to rank in the top 10 of defensive DVOA since 2006. That certainly suggests that Brady is carrying this team, especially when the offense has ranked inside the top 6 under Brady every season since 2004.

But all we really need to talk about is how Brady won the NFL MVP award in 2017 while simultaneously applying for his AARP Membership Card. He’s the best player in the league at the most important position and he’s getting better every year. He’s a deserving #1, yet again.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is third behind Brady and Rodgers, followed by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

The Patriots clearly have the best quarterback situation in the AFC East, with Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill coming in second in the division, but a laughable 27th overall. New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown ranks 30th and Buffalo Bills quarterback A.J. McCarron ranks 32nd, in last place. It’s likely that both McCown and McCarron are replaced by their teams’ respective first round quarterbacks at some point this season.