Postseason Comparison: Tom Brady (Championship Era) vs. Drew Brees (Playoff Losses)

Posted on June 1, 2014 at 5:55 PM
When comparing the careers of Tom Brady and Drew Brees, it is clear that the latter has performed at a much higher level in the postseason, despite sporting a winning record that's just a sliver over .500 (6-5). The differential between regular season and postseason performance is evident with both quarterbacks. Brady's passer rating drops from 95.7 to 87.5 (-8.2) as Brees' spikes from 95.3 to 100.7 (+5.4)—leaving Brees with a clear advantage in sudden death games with his team's season on the line.

The anomaly found in Brees' postseason resumé is how well he performed in defeat. While his defensive supporting cast routinely gave up points at will—surrendering an average of 31.8 PPG in the five losses—Brees often remained productive, accurate and efficient while protecting the football. In totality, Brees' postseason resumé is ages ahead of Brady's from a performance standpoint, but further research indicates that Brees was as good, if not better, in defeat than Brady was while collecting rings.

Below are the postseason statistics for Tom Brady during his three Super Bowl championship seasons vs. Drew Brees during his playoff losses only.

Brady: 190 of 304 (62.5) for 1,951 yards, 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. 88.9 passer rating.
Brees: 161 of 257 (62.6) for 1,848 yards, 11 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. 92.0 passer rating.

The result: Brady, who was paired with elite caliber scoring defenses (6th in 2001, 1st in 2003, 2nd in 2004), went 9-0 and won three Super Bowls as Brees went 0-5 while performing on the field at a rate that virtually mirrored Brady's across the board. The similarities are striking, though the nature of team-sports yielded opposite results.

Unlike Brees, Brady has a long history of disappointing in January. When the Patriots have lost playoff games, Brady has often underperformed in big spots.

Below are the postseason statistics for Tom Brady during his playoff losses only vs. Drew Brees during his Super Bowl championship season.

Brady: 202 of 338 (59.8) for 2,165 yards, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. 77.1 passer rating.
Brees: 72 of 102 (70.6) for 732 yards, 8 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. 117.0 passer rating.

Brady's three Super Bowl runs often required little production to secure victories. Brees' Super Bowl run however, was driven by one of the most impressive postseason passing performances in NFL history. When losing, Brees' performed up to Brady's championship level—but when winning—he's reached heights foreign to Brady in his postseason playing career. Popular opinion may beg to differ, but common misconceptions do not change the reality of history—they can only alter the perception of it.

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