By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- Would it shock you if I told you that there are still plenty of people out there trying to tear down Tom Brady? And some of them actually get paid to write about football full-time? And they're mostly stat guys who continue to cherry-pick whatever fits their clear anti-Brady agenda?
Look, I'm not saying I've never used stats to support an argument and ignored others that didn't support it. But to do it in an attempt to discount what Brady has done over the course of his five-time Super Bowl-winning career - and especially to smear what he pulled off in the fourth quarter and overtime of Super Bowl LI - shows that this particular practice is just getting to clinical levels.
That is what is happening with Football Outsiders' Scott Kacsmar.
As a writer for the advanced football analytics site since 2013, Kacsmar (along with the rest of the staff) has delivered often insightful numbers and outside-the-box analysis using stats that you don't normally see pop up on your TV screen during an NFL broadcast. But Kacsmar's dark underbelly is his highly active Twitter account, where he has long had a bizarre obsession with attempting to poke holes in Brady's performance and ultimate legacy as a quarterback.
Kacsmar is on record putting Brady in his top-5 all-time ... at No. 5, behind Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas, and Dan Marino. So he's not saying Brady sucks, but for the most part, he's one of those guys who just ignores winning. He's the human embodiment of a hilarious article from The Onion two years ago: "Resilient Tom Brady Critics Already Looking Ahead To Next Season".
On Monday night, Kacsmar took his infatuation with discrediting Brady to incredible new levels with an hours-long Twitter rant that was just a tour de force of anti-Brady-ism. He checked all the boxes.
The intro came just before 7 p.m., when he pointed out that Brady has benefitted from playing in the annual "Tomato Can" playoff game.
He used No. 1 seeds to imply that Manning is better.
He pointed out one of the times Brady got lucky in a playoff win, because he's apparently the only one who's ever had good fortune in playoff wins.
He not only denied that Brady is the greatest of all time ... he knows Brady isn't the G.O.A.T. and anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid.
He pulled a stat from the heavens to imply that Peyton is the only QB who's unlucky.
He used the ol' "Best coach/best team" argument to imply that other QBs with better physical tools would have had even better careers.
He argued that Peyton was a good playoff QB and Brady wasn't.
He implied that he's going to write an entire Football Outsiders article about why Brady actually isn't mentally tough.
He credited the Patriots' Super Bowl comeback entirely to the Falcons not scoring ...
... And to the Falcons' defense being bad.
He brought up Brady and Belichick's Patriots never scoring in the first quarter of their seven Super Bowls, for some reason.
He actually argued that Brady isn't the G.O.A.T. because he wasn't great enough in his Super Bowls.
For one of his final tricks, Kacsmar admitted that he legitimately believes that the balance of Brady's entire career has been based on luck and that Peyton's entire career has been unlucky.
But the real coup de grace, the tweet that got Kacsmar the most attention of them all throughout this midnight meltdown, was a tweet that implied that Brady isn't a skilled quarterback because of ...
Yards per attempt.
Yards. Per. Attempt.
If you're struggling to find a reason why yards per attempt would matter at all in any football argument, let alone why it would discredit Brady's accomplishments, you're not alone. It's essentially a useless stat, especially when you average it out over a sprawling sample size of hundreds of pass attempts.
And his YPA argument essentially collapses on itself instantaneously, because he's trying to say that QBs with low YPA's are supposed to lose. So wins and losses do matter, then, don't they Scott?
Ultimately, all you need to know about Kacsmar is that he's from Pittsburgh and is an admitted Peyton Manning fan who once wrote for Colts Authority. So the reasons he would go this far to discredit Brady are obvious.
People like Kacsmar have spent the last three seasons acting like they didn't happen. If Brady ended his career with "only" the three early-career Super Bowls in an era before he truly dominated as a QB, then you could have a sturdy argument as to why Brady isn't really the G.O.A.T.. To do it now, especially by trying to poke all the same holes that ultimately don't matter, is downright silly and embarrassing.
The best part is if Scott reads this (he doesn't need to), or if this gets tweeted at him (it might not), he'd probably respond almost immediately and fervently. He and his ilk are not only steadfast in their anti-Brady-ism, they spend hours arguing with everyone disagreeing them and treating them like they're mental midgets who don't think on his level. And the more he responds, the more thin-skinned he appears.
If there's one thing I learned quickly in my young career writing about sports, it's not to be thin-skinned - or at least not show to it. Perhaps I've already done that by writing about a writer who criticizes Brady to begin with, but ... at some point you just need to draw the proverbial line in the sand. The fact that this sort of talk is still surrounding Brady is just mind-numbing.
I don't know what else Brady needs to do to prove his greatness to these people, but they seem pretty set in their ways - so the answer is probably nothing. And the answer actually should be nothing, because the debate is already over.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS, CBS Radio, or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @Dolloff985 and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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