Some facts to chew on
Loyal consumers of the savory sausage of pigskin knowledge called the Cold, Hard Football Facts knew long ago that CBS Sportsline's Pete Prisco was a factless hack. His recent admission that he underestimated one of the most successful quarterbacks in the history of football back in 2003 merely proves it. In fact, this admission is little more than an attempt to make amends for the most embarrassing chapter in Prisco's long and undistinguished career of gridiron gaffes.
In retrospect, anyone with an ounce of dignity would look back on Prisco's 2003 list of the top 50 players in football with a certain sense of disgust. We suspect that Prisco dry heaved on his own bile of ignorance when he took another look at it. And, we suspect, it was this gag reflex that forced him to issue his recent mea culpa.
In 2003, Brady was one year removed from his first Super Bowl MVP award and the first walk-off, game-winning scoring drive in Super Bowl history. (Just to recap: Brady, in just his 17th NFL start, took over on his own 17 yard line with 81 seconds to play and no timeouts against one of the best defenses in football and calmly drove New England into field-goal position in one of the most pressure-packed moments in NFL history).
When Prisco spit up that 2003 list, Brady was also a mere few months removed from a 2002 season in which he led the entire NFL in touchdown passes (28). Yet Brady was nowhere to be found on Prisco's Top 50 list. However, the list did include quarterbacks Michael Vick, Drew Bledsoe, Kurt Warner and Kerry Collins.
How they ended up ahead of Brady is beyond the scope of reason and rationality. Put most simply, Prisco should be fired for piecing together that 2003 list. Here are some of the quarterbacking lowlights.
No. 11, Michael Vick
Vick had played just 23 NFL games and thrown for a mere 18 touchdowns in his career when Prisco pieced together this vomit-stain of a list in 2003. Yet in Prisco's parallel universe of pigskin, Vick was still good enough to earn honors as the 11th best player in the NFL. "Once he learns to be effective inside the pocket, he's going to be even more dangerous," wrote Prisco, admitting that Vick had yet to master the most basic NFL quarterbacking skill -- effectiveness in the pocket. We're still waiting. Vick went on to appear in just five games in 2003, completed but 50 percent of his passes and threw four touchdowns. Two years later, Vick has thrown just 36 TD passes in his four-year career and has never completed more than 57 percent of his passes in a season.
No. 27, Drew Bledsoe
Bledsoe earned the No. 27 spot on Prisco's 2003 list because he was "one of the more underrated passers in the league (and) is coming off one of his best seasons." Bledsoe responded with the typical mediocre season that has defined his career, playing all 16 games for Buffalo in 2003 while passing for just 2,860 yards and 11 TDs with 12 INTs. The Bills went 6-10. Following another mediocre performance in 2004, Buffalo cut Bledsoe in favor of an untested, second-year player in J.P. Losman.
No. 44, Kurt Warner
Warner was coming off an injury-riddled 2002 season in which he threw just three TDs and 11 INTs in seven games, while fumbling eight times. "But," wrote Prisco, "he is still one of the best passers in the NFL. Wait until this season. You'll see." Maybe we've just been looking in the wrong place, Petey. Two full seasons after appearing on Prisco's list as one of the top 50 players in football, Warner has appeared in just 12 NFL games, thrown seven TDs and 5 INTs. He has been adept in one category: Warner has fumbled the ball 18 times in those 12 games. Nice job, Prisco.
No. 48, Kerry Collins
Collins was No. 48 on the 2003 list because, wrote Prisco, "he has clearly become one of the better passers in the NFL." Collins responded to Prisco's praise in 2003 by throwing just 13 TDs and 16 INTs while leading the Giants to a nifty 4-12 mark. Over the past two seasons "one of the better passers in the NFL" has thrown just 34 TDs and 36 INTs while completing just 56.6 percent of his attempts.
Unranked, Tom Brady
The season following Prisco's snub, Brady, of course, went on to win his second Super Bowl MVP award, setting a Super Bowl record for completions in the process while leading his team to two scoring drives and 11 must-have points in the final three minutes of the biggest game of the season. The Patriots went 14-2 and set an all-time NFL record with a perfect 10-0 record against quality opponents. Brady also outplayed 2003 co-MVPs Manning (No. 7 on Prisco's 2003 list) and Steve McNair (No. 5) four times in head-to-head competition that season. The Patriots offense averaged 29.25 points in those four victories.
In two seasons since Prisco's inglorious career of ignorance bottomed out with this list, Brady has completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 7,312 yards with 51 TD passes and just 26 INTs while guiding New England to back-to-back Super Bowl titles, a record 21-game win streak (the second longest win streak in the history of professional North American sports) and an NFL-record 34 wins in two years. Along the way, he's become the winningest QB in modern NFL history and the winningest postseason QB in all of NFL history. He also boasts the seventh-best passer rating in NFL history.
So yeah, Prisco is right for once: He was wrong in 2003. Horribly wrong.
- Hockey Announcer Gone Wild: You Want To Party (Maybe) With This Guy
- Best Pass Defense Ever: Ronde Barber And The 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Reese Witherspoon Arrest Video: Hot, Bothered And Handcuffed
- Sam Adams In A Can, Just In Time For Summer Drinking Season
- Live From Radio City: Reporter Punks NFL Draft Fans
- The 5.0 Club: Best Rushing Teams in NFL History
- Sieves: The Worst Run Defenses In NFL History
- Monsters of the Midway: We Need The Chicago Bears More Than Ever
- Boston, Sports, Patriotism And Terror
- The 100 Stingiest Defenses In Football History
- NFL Crown Rule: Will It Dethrone Rushing King Adrian Peterson?
- Year Of The Offensive Tackle: Not Always The 'Safe' Draft Bet
- Draft Habits: NFL Teams Covet LBs, Duped By False Temptress WRs
- Big Tease: 2012 New England Patriots And NFL's History Of Offensive Failures
- Epic Fail: The Wide Receiver Draft Class Of 2012