Tony Dungy coached the Indianapolis Colts during the height of the team's rivalry with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. He is apparently far less enamored with Brady than most NFL experts.
This morning, ESPN's Mike Sando published a post on the 10 best NFL quarterbacks of the last 40 years.
To assemble the top 10, he polled a pretty impressive group of Super Bowl-winning coaches and executives: Pete Carroll, Tony Dungy, Mike Holmgren, Howard Mudd, Wade Phillips, Mike Reinfeldt, Ray Rhodes, Mike Shanahan, Al Saunders and Norv Turner.
Tom Brady, winner of five Super Bowls, four Super Bowl MVP awards, and two NFL MVP awards, came out on top. It shouldn't come as a major surprise. However, not everyone polled thought Brady was the best quarterback of the last four decades. Or even in the top five. Brady appeared in the top two of nine out of ten ballots.
CBS Boston's Michael Hurley pieced things together, and figured out that Dungy ranked Brady sixth, behind John Elway, Steve Young, Aaron Rodgers, Dan Marino, and Peyton Manning.
Sando explained that Dungy listed John Elway, Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers as his top three, and Sando also wrote that Brady’s lowest rank was sixth.
So if Dungy is the only person on the panel who didn’t include Brady in the top two, then it stands to reason that Tony Dungy believes that Tom Brady is the sixth-best quarterback to play in the NFL since 1978.
Dungy didn't outright explain his decision to put Brady sixth, but based on his blurb about the Patriot QB, it sounds like he thinks Bill Belichick is responsible for much of Brady's success (and vice-versa).
It can be tough to separate the great quarterback from the great coach. We have seen this in every era: Otto Graham and Paul Brown, Bart Starr and Vince Lombardi, Johnny Unitas and Don Shula/Weeb Ewbank, Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll, Joe Montana/Steve Young and Bill Walsh. 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. 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.
Sando also explained that Dungy did his ranking based on if he was hypothetically gameplanning against each player, hence the favoritism towards mobile QBs like Elway, Young, and Rodgers.
Dungy has certainly earned his right to give an opinion, but it is extremely hard argue that Brady higher than sixth on the all-time list.