Rating the all-time GOATs: The place Tom Brady lands amongst best gamers in all Four main North American sports activities

If there has been any debate about whether Tom Brady was the greatest player in NFL history, it seems to have been resolved. No player in the 101-year history of the National Football League has as many championships as Brady – who holds the record at seven. Brady also has five Super Bowl MVPs – the most in NFL history – and holds numerous league records that cement him as the greatest of all time.

Brady has entered a stratosphere of elite athletes, well beyond the NFL. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who won the Super Bowl, put Brady in the conversation of the biggest winners of all time (we’re only going to cover the four major North American sports here) Michael Jordan (NBA), Yogi Berra (MLB) connect. and Bill Russell (NBA). Where does Brady belong to the goats in the other major North American sports? We will rank winning championships and individual MVP honors as the two main drivers of success.

This list is the elite of the elite, so buckle up if we break new ground.

9. Gordie Howe (1946-1971, 1979-1980)

  • Championships: 4th
  • Conn Smythe (Postseason MVPs): 0 (award only started in 1965)
  • Hart Memorial (League MVPs): 6th

Howe, nicknamed “Mr Hockey”, had all of the NHL records before Gretzky showed up. He led the league in goals five times, assisted three times and showed six times. His 801 goals are the second most common in NHL history and his 1,850 points are the fourth.

Like Wayne Gretzky, Howe has four titles – but all of them were in the “Original Six” era with the Detroit Red Wings. Howe won four titles in five seasons and competed in eleven Stanley Cup Finals. He is the oldest player (52 years, 10 days) to play in an NHL game.

8. Mickey Mantle (1951-1968)

  • Championships: 7th
  • World Series MVPs: 0 (World Series MVP didn’t start until 1955)
  • League MVPs: 3

Mantle was another catalyst of that Yankees dynasty in the 1950s, who distinguished himself as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Mantle’s 18 home runs are the most common in World Series history as he has played in 12 of them.

Mantle led the American League four times in home runs, five times in runs and six times in OPS – in 1956 he also won the AL triple crown. He finished his career with 536 home runs and 1,509 RBI while hitting .298 for his career.

7. Joe DiMaggio (1936-1942, 1946-1951)

  • Championships: 9
  • World Series MVPs: 0 (World Series MVP didn’t start until 1955)
  • League MVPs: 3

Missing three years of its heyday in World War II, DiMaggio is still one of the greatest players in baseball history. His nine World Series are second best after Berra – they won four in a row from 1936 to 1939 to start his career and three in a row from 1949 to 1951 to finish it.

DiMaggio was still the owner of the MLB record series with 56 hits (1941), finishing the race averaging 0.325, 361 home runs and 1,537 RBI. He led the American League twice in home runs and RBI and sits alongside Berra and Mantle as the only MLB player with seven World Series and three MVPs.

6. Yogi Berra (1946-1963, 1965)

  • Championships: 10
  • World Series MVPs: 0 (World Series MVP didn’t start until 1955)
  • League MVPs: 3

Berra, MLB’s gold standard with its championships, won a World Series ring for each finger. Berra has been in 14 World Series, with his New York Yankees teams winning 10 of them (in fact, he caught the only perfect game in postseason history).

Berra is a career of .285 with 358 home runs and 1,430 RBI and one of the greatest catchers in baseball history. Berra is linked to Roy Campanella for the most catcher MVPs in MLB history – and most in American League history.

5. Wayne Gretzky (1979-1999)

  • Championships: 4th
  • Conn Smythe (Postseason MVPs): 2
  • Hart Memorial (League MVPs): 9

Here the list got more and more difficult, especially since Gretzky is still the all-time NHL points leader if you take away his 894 goals. No player in the major North American sports can claim the individual records like Gretzky.

Gretzky is “the big one” for a reason. While he only has four Stanley Cup titles, he holds every NHL record. Gretzky has the most goals (894), assists (1,963) and points (2,857) in NHL history – he won a record of nine Hart trophies as a league MVP. He leads the NHL in assists per game (1.32) and points per game (1.92) – with the most hat tricks (50), equally strong goals (617) and shorthanded goals (73).

Gretzky led the NHL 11 times in points, assisted 16 times (13 consecutive seasons) and scored five goals. He has 81 goals and 171 assists in 120 playoff games, the catalyst behind the Edmonton Oilers dynasty of the 1980s. Gretzky won four titles in five years with the Oilers and appeared in a total of six Stanley Cup finals – probably more if he didn’t spend the entire second half of his career outside of Edmonton.

4. Bill Russell (1956-1969)

  • Championships: 11
  • NBA Finals MVPs: 0 (NBA Finals MVP didn’t start until 1969)
  • League MVPs: 5

Russell has the most championships of any athlete in the four major North American sports and has won 11 championships in 12 NBA finals. He has made the NBA final in all but one of his 13 league seasons!

Russell led the NBA five times in rebounds per game, averaging 22.5 rebounds per game in his career. Russell ranks second in NBA history in rebounds (21,620) and rebounds per game (22.5) – while earning the reputation of being arguably the greatest defensive player in league history. His five MVP awards are linked to Michael Jordan for the second most popular in NBA history.

The Wilt Chamberlin debate will rage forever, but Russell’s championships got him into the GOAT talk. It’s hard to imagine a player reaching 12 NBA finals, especially a player who wins eight in a row.

3. Tom Brady (since 2000)

  • Championships: 7th
  • Super Bowl MVPs: 5
  • League MVPs: 3

Brady is the greatest winner the NFL has ever seen – and the greatest quarterback. His 581 touchdowns are the most common in NFL history, while his 79,204 yards is second. He has the most Super Bowl MVPs in NFL history while being the only NFL player with seven championships.

What Brady has accomplished after he was 37 is a career in the Hall of Fame itself, proving that longevity in the NFL cemented his GOAT status. No disrespect to Jerry Rice or Jim Brown, but Brady is the greatest player in league history.

With everything Brady has accomplished, it’s still hard to get him past the two titans of North American sport. Brady is right about all of the NFL records he has set and can even break them if he continues this breakneck pace throughout his 40s.

2. Babe Ruth (1914-1935)

  • Championships: 7th
  • World Series MVPs: 0 (World Series MVP didn’t start until 1955)
  • League MVPs: 0 (the current iteration of MVP didn’t start until 1931)

Ruth isn’t just one of the greatest baseball players of all time – he’s one of the greatest athletes of all time. If there had been the current version of the MVP award in the 1920s, Ruth would have won every year. He led the American League in eight runs, twelve times in home runs (twice over 35 years of age), five times in the RBI and eleven times. Ruth finished his career with 714 home runs and 2,214 RBI. He is fourth of all times in runs achieved (2,174), third in home runs and second in RBI. He holds the all-time record in percent (0.690) and OPS (1.164).

Ruth played in 10 World Series (won seven of them) and had a career of .326 batting average with 15 home runs in the World Series. He also had a ridiculous 0.87 ERA in the World Series (Dead Ball era). Ruth makes it to the Hall of Fame as a pitcher, scoring 94 wins in 140 starts and an ERA of 2.28 – most of them in the dead ball era.

There’s a baseball goat and it’s Ruth – no matter what time he played. Like Brady, Ruth was larger than life.

1. Michael Jordan (1984-1993, 1995-1998, 2002-2003)

  • Championships: 6th
  • NBA Finals MVPs: 6th
  • League MVPs: 5

Jordan is the greatest player in NBA history (sorry LeBron James fans). The Chicago Bulls have six championships in eight seasons the closest to the NBA due to Jordan’s dominance, which the Boston Celtics did under Russell in the 1960s (Jordan retired for 18 months or the Bulls may have won eight times in a row ). Jordan averaged 33.6 points per game in the finals and won six NBA Finals MVPs in six trips – the most in NBA history. The Bulls never played 7 in the final thanks to Jordan’s dominance.

Jordan’s five MVP awards are tied to Russell for the second most popular in NBA history (only behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). He is a 10-time top scorer (he has won for nine consecutive seasons) and has led the league three times per game. Jordan was eleven times All-NBA selection and nine times All-NBA Defensive Team selection and was once Defensive Player of the Year.

Jordan averaged 30.1 points per game – the first in NBA history – and his 32,292 points is the fifth in NBA history. His 2.3 steals per game are fourth in NBA history and his 2,514 steals are third on the all-time list. In some eyes there may be some debate about the NBA’s goat, but Jordan’s playoff resume (33.4 points per game in the playoffs) and his win in the final separate him from the pack. We use that for Brady, right?

To close that segment, let’s take a look at where Brady ranks among the top “winners” in the four major North American sports. The graph below excludes Russell, Ruth, Berra, and DiMaggio because the four main sports did not receive championship round MVP awards while playing.

The reason Mantle is included in this graphic is because a championship round MVP got most of his career.

title

7th

6th

4th

7th

Final MVPs

5

6th

2

0

Regular Season MVPs

3

5

9

3

Seasons

21st

fifteen

20th

18th

Since he was 35, Brady has won four titles, three Super Bowl MVPs, and one regular season MVP in nine seasons. Jordan, Gretzky and Mantle have none in eight combined seasons – so Brady can make himself the “winner of the winners” for athletes at the age of 35.

Brady, Berra, DiMaggio and Russell are the only athletes to have won seven championships and three regular season MVP awards in the four major North American sports. With that, they have taken their place in an elite fraternity that may never be surpassed by any other athlete (remember the other three on this list played in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

Brady is in a class of his own and should be recognized for his incredible achievement. There may not be another NFL player winning like Brady again.

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