Pay no attention to those rumors that say Tom Brady is no longer an elite NFL quarterback.
Has Brady slipped from the pantheon of NFL quarterbacks? Just ask former Patriots center Dan Koppen, who joins Mike Giardi on SportsNet Central.
"No," says Koppen. "Simply said, no... His passion for the game is as strong as it ever was. I’ve never met anybody more competitive. From talking to him recently, his drive is still there.
"As long as his mental state is there, he’ll be there physically."
Brady led his team to the AFC Championship game last season despite losing several key players to a host of injuries (both season-ending and nagging), the arrest of Aaron Hernandez and an entirely new cast of receivers. No other quarterback could have done as much or more under the circumstances.
"He’s not going to make any excuses for his play or his team’s play," says Koppen.
Have the Patriots done Brady a disservice by constantly overhauling the roster and forcing their quarterback to break in a new set of receivers? Probably. But NFL teams can't exactly snap their fingers and make All-World receivers appear out of thing air.
"You’re not able to go out there and get those Randy Moss guys every year," says Koppen. "It just doesn’t happen. You don’t draft one, you can’t get them in free agency. There’s just not that many."
Brady's career has been marked by his remarkable ability to do more with less. It helps that he still has the same fire as when he entered the league as the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. No one out-competes Brady, and as long as that remains the case, Tom Terrific will continue to find himself in the playoffs with a chance to add to his legacy.