To Tony Dungy, Tom Brady is No. 6 on list of modern QBs

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To Tony Dungy, Tom Brady is No. 6 on list of modern QBs

Tom Brady is gunning for his sixth Super Bowl title, which makes him the sixth-best quarterback of the modern era, according to ex-Colts coach Tony Dungy.

Huh? 

Dungy was part of a panel assembled by ESPN's Mike Sando to compile a "GOAT Index", i.e., a ranking of the best QBs since 1978.

Why '78? That's when the NFL changed rules to open up the passing game. 

The 10-member panel was made up of ex-head coaches Dungy, Pete Carroll, Mike Holmgren, Ray Rhodes, Wade Phillips, Mike Shanahan, Al Saunders and Norv Turner, along with ex-assistant Howard Mudd and former GM and executive Mike Reinfeldt. 

Nine members listed Brady at No. 1 or 2. Dungy had him sixth, in part because he owed TB12's success to his coach and in part because Brady isn't fleet of foot.

"I don't think Bill Belichick would be Bill Belichick without Tom Brady, and Brady would not have the same success without Belichick and the way they have put that team together," Dungy told Sando. "But the one common thread through 15 years was Brady. When they had him, they won big -- won championships. The quarterback has so much to do with it."

Dungy didn't have Peyton Manning, his QB when he coached the Colts from 2002-08, as No. 1. In fact, Dungy has previously admitted that Brady has had the better career than Manning. 

"The one No. 1 vote Manning received came from a panelist with no ties to him," Sando wrote, which rules out Dungy and Mudd, the ex-Colts offensive line coach. The running ability of John Elway, Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers helped put them in Dungy's top three.

Here's the consensus ranking of the panel:

1. Tom Brady
2. Peyton Manning
3. Joe Montana 
4. John Elway
5. Aaron Rodgers 
T-6. Dan Marino 
T-6. Brett Favre 
8. Steve Young 
9. Drew Brees 
10. Dan Fouts

All-Belichick team includes four current Patriots...and three Browns

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All-Belichick team includes four current Patriots...and three Browns

While some would argue that on paper, the current version of the Patriots might be Bill Belichick's all-time best team - or perhaps, the 18-1 Super Bowl runners up (ouch!) in 2008 - the NFL, via Gil Brandt, the longtime Cowboys personnel VP now a Sirius/XM Radio commentator, went ahead and put an All-Belichick Coached team together. Not on paper, but on video.

Obviously, Patriots dominate the list, but three Cleveland Browns managed to sneak in there. Four current Pats - Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and Matthew Slater- get the nod. Here's the list: 

OFFENSE
QB:
Tom Brady
RB: Corey Dillon 
WRs: Randy Moss, Julian Edelman, Wes Welker
TE: Rob Gronkowski
LT: Matt Light
RG: Logan Mankins
C: Dan Koppen
RG: Steve Neal
RT: Orlando Brown (Browns)

DEFENSE
DL: Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, Willie McGinest
LBs: Teddy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Chris Slade, Jerod Mayo
CB: Ty Law, Asante Samuel
Safeties: Rodney Harrison, Eric Turner (Browns)

SPECIALISTS
K: Adam Vinatieri
P: Tom Tupa (Browns)
ST: Matthew Slater
KR: Kevin Faulk


 

Bean: Of course 19-0 is in play for Patriots, and you shouldn't root against it

Bean: Of course 19-0 is in play for Patriots, and you shouldn't root against it

The talk of 19-0 isn’t stupid. 

To assume the Patriots will go 19-0? Sure, that’s stupid. But Julian Edelman’s recent quip that talk of a perfect season is nonsense should come as nothing more than an intelligent athlete declining to publicly set historic goals. 

The Patriots have three games on their schedule that should strike fans as potential losses right off the bat, one of which is before their bye and two of which are after it. The first is Week 7 against the Falcons at home, then there’s the Week 11 game against the Raiders in Mexico City and their Week 15 meeting with the Steelers in Pittsburgh. 

Without question, the Patriots are better than the Falcons, Raiders and Steelers. Since defeating two of them last postseason en route to a Super Bowl title, the Pats have made greater offseason improvements than any of them, with all due respect to 34-year-old Marshawn Lynch (made you look). 

So, in what isn’t exactly a shocking conclusion in any given year, the Patriots should be the better team in each of what should be an anticipated 19 games this season. They aren’t just the best team in the NFL, but they’re the best team in the NFL by a wide margin. 

This isn’t a “could this be the best Patriots team ever?” discussion, as the 2004 Pats will hold that distinction until otherwise is proven. Yet the 2007 team, one that was not perfect in its construction, was 35 seconds away from accomplishing that feat, even if it just barely escaped with victories against two non-playoff teams in the regular season. 

But assuming health (which is silly to assume) and no major surprises (which is silly to assume), yes, 19-0 is in play. Of course it is. 

In a season that saw a hobbled Rob Gronkowski manage just six starts, the Pats finished with the No. 4 passing offense, No. 4 overall offense and third-most points last season. To that they’ve added Brandin Cooks, Dwayne Allen (with the loss of Martellus Bennett), Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead and something called James O’Shaughnessy. 

Confusion awaits the team at cornerback in future seasons, but for this season’s purposes, it’s dandy. Because Stephon Gilmore was signed as an insurance policy for a potential Malcolm Butler departure that has yet to happen, all the team did was upgrade from Logan Ryan to Gilmore. The defense also kept Dont’a Hightower and took a flier on Kony Ealy for next to nothing. 

So while 19-0 isn’t mathematically likely, it certainly is plausible. To rule it out is to be no fun, but then there’s the faction of fans who don’t want the Pats to go for a perfect season, which redefines “no fun” altogether. 

With a perfect season comes a lot of hype, which is therefore accompanied by pressure not faced by other teams. Perhaps the mental aspect of attempting to run the table can in part explain why a team that starts off perfect eventually crash and burn, as the Chiefs did in 2003 (8-0 to start, 4-3 to end the season followed by a one-and-done in the playoffs), but here’s another explanation for that: It’s always hard for any team to win the Super Bowl.

Where that Chiefs team flamed out, the 2009 Colts (14-0 to start) went to the Super Bowl, losing to a Saints team that started off 13-0 before dropping its last three games. The 1998 Broncos also started 13-0 and won the Super Bowl.

So yes, Super Bowl XLII was like losing the worst game of Jenga ever, but it doesn't mean that the pursuit of a perfect season is some sort of death sentence. Think of it this way: People in Boston lose their minds at the smallest suggestion that Bill Belichick is imperfect, but they don’t believe he could motivate a team to block out its season’s accomplishments as the big games mount? 

And on the subject of Belichick, wouldn't you rather the Pats run the risk of going balls to the wall this season if it means potentially holding the distinction of the best NFL season ever? A Super Bowl title next season would tie the Pats with the Steelers with six apiece. But if they win it with a perfect season, there will be no argument of the greatest franchise ever. 

Winning the offseason doesn’t matter, but if you do it after you won the postseason, you’re in excellent standing. That’s where the Patriots find themselves, so they should get used to that 19-0 talk. It’s going to be in the back of everyone’s minds until that first loss, if it ever comes.