The Magnificent Seven: Ranking Tom Brady's Super Bowl wins
Tom Brady has officially announced his retirement, and it will be a long while before anyone even goes close to matching his record in Super Bowls.
With Brady and Ben Roethlisberger off the scene after this season, it leaves Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Nick Foles, Joe Flacco, and Aaron Rodgers as the only active quarterbacks to have won the big game, with Matthew Stafford or Joe Burrow set to join the list on February 13.
Brady played his first Super Bowl way back in 2002, and what looks like being his last just 12 months ago, winning his first Vince Lombardi Trophy for Tampa Bay after taking 6 to New England.
But which of his unrivalled magnificent 7 wins was the best?
Here is my breakdown of each of Brady’s Super Bowl victories, ranked them from best to worst:
1. Super Bowl LI, February 5, 2017
New England 34, Atlanta 28
Vegas line: New England -3
43/62 passes completed
466 passing yards
QB rating 95.2
The most sensational of Tom Brady’s 7 Super Bowl wins came in 2017 at the expense of the Atlanta Falcons.
Trailing 28-3 with less than 3 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, statistical models gave Brady’s New England a 99.8% chance of losing. But they didn’t.
The former Michigan man threw touchdown passes to James White and Danny Amendola and marched them down the field again for White to score on the ground with less than a minute left, completing a 2-point conversion to Amendola which tied the game.
In the first overtime Super Bowl, Brady puffed his stats to 43 completed passes for 466 yards. White ran in the winning score as Brady claimed his 4th Super Bowl MVP award to go ahead of Joe Montana on the all-time list.
2. Super Bowl XXXVI, February 3, 2002
New England 20, St. Louis Rams 17
Vegas line: New England +14
16/27 passes completed
145 passing yards
QB rating 86.2
It’s hard to imagine now, but the first success of the Super Bowl-winning dynasty formed by New England head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady was a classic underdog victory.
With veteran Drew Bledsoe at quarterback, the Patriots had started the season at gigantic odds of +6000 and they were as big as +15000 for the Vince Lombardi Trophy after losing their first 2 games.
Bledsoe suffered a serious chest injury in Week 2 and was replaced by Brady, the unsung 199th pick in the 2000 draft, who had completed 1 pass for 6 yards in his rookie season.
The Patriots went 11-5 after a 3-4 start but they headed to the Super Bowl as 14-point underdogs against the slick Rams, whose awesome offense — led by QB Kurt Warner, receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, and running back Marshall Faulk — was known as The Greatest Show on Turf.
Brady’s statistics show that the workmanlike win was not really down to his passing heroics, but he demonstrated an icy big-match temperament, enabling Adam Vinatieri to kick the winning 48-yard field goal as time expired.
3. Super Bowl XXXVIII, February 1, 2004
New England 32, Carolina 29
Vegas line: New England -7
32/48 passes completed
354 passing yards
QB rating 100.5
The 2004 Super Bowl in Houston had everything – the notorious wardrobe malfunction by Janet Jackson at halftime, no points at all in the 1st or 3rd quarters, and then 37 of them in a crazy 4th quarter.
Brady threw 3 touchdown passes as New England relied on a battery of smaller receivers – Troy Brown, Deion Branch, and David Givens – although 1 of their scores was hauled in by linebacker Mike Vrabel, now head coach of the Tennessee Titans.
Brady had developed into much more than a game-manager by this time and his 32 completions were the most in Super Bowl history. In standard fashion, Brady got the team in position to win with a Vinatieri field goal as time expired.
— NFL (@NFL) September 28, 2019
4. Super Bowl XLIX, February 1, 2015
New England 28, Seattle 24
Vegas line: New England +1
37/50 passes completed
328 passing yards
QB rating 101.1
It may be hard to process now but Brady had to wait 10 years between his 3rd and 4th Super Bowl wins, including 2 defeats by the New York Giants, who were underdogs on both occasions.
But the Patriots staged what was then the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history to deny Seattle back-to-back victories.
Ten points behind with less than 8 minutes left, Brady threw TD passes to Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman to put the Patriots up by 4 points. But it appeared not to be enough when Seattle had 2nd and goal from the 1-yard line with 26 seconds left.
However, instead of asking running back Marshawn Lynch to run in the winning score, the Seahawks chose to pass and Russell Wilson’s attempt was intercepted by Malcolm Butler.
5. Super Bowl LV, February 7, 2021
Tampa Bay 31, Kansas City 9
Vegas line: Kansas City -3
21/29 passes completed
201 passing yards
QB rating 125.8
Finding the right place for Brady’s amazing 7th Super Bowl win was tricky. Your memory might suggest that the Buccaneers won last year’s finale because their defense terrorized an injury-ravaged offensive line of the Chiefs, while Kansas City committed too many penalties.
But statistically, it was one of Brady’s best. TB12 was back in the underdog role as the Bucs were only the 5th seeds in the NFC and favored by 3-points in their bid for back-to-back wins. Tampa Bay became the first team to play in a Super Bowl at their own stadium and they looked right at home.
Brady posted his 2nd-best completion percentage in a Super Bowl, his joint-best TD:INT ratio in the big game and his best ever Super Bowl QB rating of 125.8. He took the MVP award, but that was really a long-service honor for what had been a defense-led team effort, and the lack of drama in a real beatdown of a game prevents it placing higher in the list.
6. Super Bowl XXXIX, February 6, 2005
New England 24, Philadelphia 21
Vegas line: New England -7
23/33 passes completed
236 passing yards
QB rating 110.2
An efficient performance proved to be enough when Brady beat current Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s Philadelphia Eagles team in 2005.
Brady secured his 3rd Super Bowl win in 4 years in a game that was tied at 14-14 after 3 quarters.
He found Deion Branch 11 times for 133 yards but didn’t need to throw any completions further than 27 yards as the New England defense forced 4 turnovers.
No team has managed to win back-to-back Super Bowls since, with Reid’s Kansas City failing in their bid last season.
— Liam Martin (@LiamWBZ) January 22, 2018
7. Super Bowl LIII, February 3, 2019
New England 13, Los Angeles Rams 3
Vegas line: New England -2.5
21/35 passes completed
262 passing yards
QB rating 71.4
Brady reached his 3rd successive Super Bowl by winning his first playoff battle with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes in a thrilling 37-31 overtime victory.
The quarterback’s 6th Super Bowl triumph was a far less exciting contest, though, as the Rams were beaten 13-3 in a game featuring just 1 touchdown and which was level at 3-3 until Sony Michel (who plays in this year’s game with the Rams!) ran in the decisive score with just 7 minutes left.
With no TD passes thrown and an interception on his first pass of the game, it was no surprise that this became the 2nd of Brady’s Super Bowl wins for which he did not claim the MVP award. Instead, it went to wide receiver Julian Edelman, who was on the end of 10 of Brady’s 21 completed passes for 141 yards. Tight end Rob Gronkowski caught 6 balls for 87 yards but no other Patriots player had more than 2 catches.
New England set a slew of Super Bowl records, not least Brady surpassing former Dallas and San Francisco pass-rusher Charles Haley to take sole custody of the record for most Super Bowl wins by a player. But overall it was a contest that will live longer in the memory of NFL historians than most fans.