I still maintain that Tom Brady is a better quarterback than Ben Roethlisberger. I compared these two over the summer, and showed that across the board in their careers Tom was, statwise, about 10% better.
Now that 2009 is over, I did the same exercise and compared only their first six full seasons (I discounted Tom’s first season completely since he only threw three passes).
You may find the following surprising when comparing the two:
-The top three seasons in Completion Percentage are all owned by Ben
-The top season in Touchdowns is owned by Ben
-The top season in Touchdown/attempt is owned by Ben
-The top season in Total Yards is owned by Ben
-The top four seasons in Yards/Attempt are owned by Ben
-The top three seasons in Passer Rating are owned by Ben
-Ben runs more, for more yardage, with a better Yards per Rush
Some not so surprising:
-The top season in Number of Completions is owned by Tom. Ben has the #2 season, but four of the next five are owned by Tom.
-The top four seasons in Number of Attempts is owned by Tom.-Ben has thrown the most Interceptions, and Tom has the season that had the Highest Number of Attempts per Interception
To further breakdown the numbers, in looking at their seasons head to head, the only category in which Tom’s best is better than Ben’s best is in the Interception/Attempt, when Tom posted a 43.9 passes per attempt (4th year) to Ben’s best of 42.2 (6th year). Tom throws more generally speaking, so his completions and total yards are consistently higher.
A huge plus for Brady is his “IronMan” status. Until last season…the guy just doesn’t miss games. You can put him down for 16 games a season. Ben 14.5 games a season, so that is 1-2 games a year that you have to rely on a backup to win. That is a minus in my book.
Their per game averages are pretty similar. Basically, you could count on Tom at this time for a 20-32, 227 yards with 1-2 TDs and 1 INT. With Ben, on average he would deliver a 17-27, 221 yard day with 1-2 TDs and 1 INT. Pretty similar, no? Take into account that Ben picks up a few rushing yards per game more than Tom, Ben comes out ahead.
Again, that’s a per game average, not a per season average. So, over the course of a season due to missed games, you could count on a 12-4 record from Tom and a 10-4 record from Ben. Three Super Bowls vs. Two Super Bowls. I could go so far as to say that if you take away Ben’s 2006 season, which was horrible following his accident and really skewed his numbers negatively, he’s ahead. But, I’m not taking that season away. You drive around like an idiot…you deserve what you get.
So, based on these numbers, honestly one would have a hard time arguing that Tom is better than Ben. So, why am I not arguing that? Two reasons, sacks and “upside”. First, addressing the “upside”, I just do not see any scenario, no matter the weapons, where Ben can put up a season like Tom did in 2007. Just no way.
Second, the sacks. For all the scrambling and playmaking that Ben does to put up these impressive numbers, he is sacked a helluva lot more than Tom is, and those yards at up. In his first six years, Ben has been sacked a staggering 242 times for 1,601 yards. Tom, on the other hand, has been sacked only 219 times IN HIS ENTIRE CAREER.
I began this exercise wondering how far beyond they were at comparable stages of their career, as I think Ben was every bit as deserving as Tom was to be in the Pro Bowl this year. In fact…I think he had a better year. So, I wanted to see how far behind Ben was vs. Tom at this stage, and my initial review showed that he is actually ahead. Then…I thought about the sacks, and this cannot be discounted. They can be drive killers, and it’s a big negative on Ben and his results.
So, in the end…Tom is better than Ben. I realize I typed up about 2,000 words to tell you what you already knew, LOL. But, I can guarantee you that many of you were not aware how close it really is. As I’ve said in the past, it’s closer than you think, but there can be no doubt in my mind. And, that is coming from a Steelers fan.
Good lucks in the playoffs, folks! I’ll be watching from the outside and silently stewing.