Greg Cosell posed an "intellectual challenge" on the NFL Films blog Wednesday morning.
Is Tom Brady a winner or isn't he?
Not so fast. The answer is not as simple as the question makes it seem. Hence, the challenge.
The discussion jumps off two points raised by Ross Tucker when he and Cosell last talked on Sirius XM's "The Morning Kickoff."
Tucker separated Brady's career into the following parts:
1. First five years as a starter. (He threw a grand total of three passes in his rookie season of 2000.) 2. His last five years not including 2008, when he tore his ACL in the opening game of the season.
Now for Cosell's investigation into what it means to be "a winner."
"Think back to his first Super Bowl victory against the St. Louis Rams. New England won that game with an Adam Vinatieri field goal on the final play. Two years later, Vinatieri essentially did the same thing against the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII. For the sake of discussion, lets say Vinatieri missed both of those kicks (each was more than 40 yards). Then the Rams and the Panthers, respectively, won the toss in overtime and the Patriots never got the ball back.
"Would Bradys performance have been any less impressive in those games? Obviously not. What would be different is our collective perception of his performance. He would not have been acclaimed a 'a winner.'"
Interesting idea. And the conclusion.
"My broader objective is to compel a re-thinking of the 'winner' concept," Cosell wrote. "When you drill down deeper, its really a term that has almost no meaning."
Well, we know he wasn't lying to call it a challenge.