With the NFL’s top 100 well under way, we here at Real Sport thought we would give you our own version; The RS 100. Every writer here had the chance to vote for the 100 best players from the 2015 season. This ranking was done regardless of position value or salary cap cost. It was simply based on who had the best 2015 season. As a result you won’t see quality players like Jordy Nelson anywhere on our ranking as he didn’t play a single snap in the 2015 season.
Voting panel: Toby Durant, Remy Cabache, Cameron Tennyson, Rebecca Rennie, Daniel Hernandez, David Pruett, Ryan Tolster
Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots
(TD: #13, RC: #2, CT: #2, RR: #12, DH: #3, DP: #7, RT: #6)
At this point I shouldn’t need to list Tom Brady’s previous accomplishments. We all know them, we’re all aware of his place in footballing history, so let’s focus on 2015.
Brady was once again supreme at protecting the football. In 624 pass attempts he threw just 7 interceptions, with a league-leading 1.1 Interception percentage. He did that while also leading the league in passing touchdowns.
Brady’s most impressive games came early in the season as he and the Patriots lit the world on fire. Against Pittsburgh in week 1 he completed 78% of his passes for 288 yards and 4 touchdowns before adding 466 yards and 3 scores against Buffalo as New England went pass happy to counteract Buffalo’s stern run defense. That’s what Brady’s precision and supreme decision-making can do for the Patriots. Why keep running into the teeth of a great front seven when you can pick them apart with the pass?
Some of Brady’s brilliance was stunted by a huge number of offensive line injuries and the Patriots going super-vanilla late in the regular season, but when protected he was able to just pick apart defenses underneath with Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, or smashing them over the middle with Rob Gronkowski. Even with a top level receiver like Gronkowski on the field it’s easy to see the brilliance of Tom Brady on throws like this:
While Brady has often been described as a statue his movement in the pocket is second to none and his feel for pressure is incredible. His touchdown pass to Keshawn Martin against the Jaguars in week 3 was a perfect example of his ability to slide and create space within the pocket and then throw on the move as well.
What separates Brady from the majority of quarterbacks is his ability, both mentally and physically, to get rid of the ball at lightning speed. He can identify the mismatches and holes in the defense pre-snap and then has the fastest release in football to get the ball into the hands of his receivers. Brady averaged just 2.34 seconds from snap to release in 2015. In the 13 regular season wins it was an even faster 2.29 seconds. And against Kansas City in the playoffs it was a truly astonishing 2.19. Speed like that completely erases pass rushers from the game, it’s something that no other quarterback can do and it truly makes him special.
Oh yea, and he’s not a bad receiver…