Honoring Heroes in Struggle for Racial Equality – Part Two

Honoring Heroes in Struggle for Racial Equality – Part Two

As our society works toward healing our wounds and getting back to normal while COVID-19 continues to devastate communities, I wanted to share the story of other brave Americans. These men and women fight/fought for racial equality and give/gave their lives to create change.

HOW TO INSPIRE REAL CHANGE

In our goal to produce change, we need hearts to change. Hearts change when we care enough about each other to discuss complex issues. Change can only result from being open-minded, empathetic, sympathetic, and willing to listen to others whose concerns are different than yours. Force, intimidation, threats, and violence only produce resentment. 

One primary concern is those who pander and placate to avoid criticism. Such people are toxic and the most detrimental to your interests. They will say the right thing to your face, be next to you in good times, but will disappear when you are most vulnerable.

USOC & IOC WARN ATHLETES ABOUT PROTESTING

USOC President Doug Roby wrote Brundage two months before the Olympics Opening Ceremony. Roby’s letter assured Brundage of the following.

 “anyone that participates or that attempts to participate in any demonstration as referred to will be immediately suspended as a member of our team and returned to his home at the earliest possible date.”

Letter from USOC President Doug Roby to IOC President Avery Brundage on August 8, 1968

THE FORGOTTEN MEDALIST & “I’LL STAND WITH YOU”

On October 16, 1968, Tommie Smith and John Carlos won the Gold and Bronze medals in the 200m sprint. The Silver Medal went to Australia’s Peter Norman

Norman grew up in poverty in Australia and raised under the influence of the Salvation Army. Norman had ingrained in him by the organization that all men were equal. Race, religion, ethnicity, social standing, served no purpose in honoring his beliefs that each individual demanded dignity and respect. 

Before standing on the podium, Carlos and Smith alerted Norman to their plans of making a gesture of support. 

“The two Americans had asked Norman if he believed in human rights. Norman said he did. They asked him if he believed in God, and he, who had been in the Salvation Army, said he believed strongly in God. “We knew that what we were going to do was far greater than any athletic feat, and he said, “I’ll stand with you” – remembers John Carlos – “I expected to see fear in Norman’s eyes, but instead we saw love.”

 Article by Riccardo Gazzaniga on September 24, 2015. 

ONE PAIR OF BLACK GLOVES

Norman suggested the two split the gloves shown raised on their hands as the United States Anthem played. Both Carlos and Smith intended to wear gloves, but Carlos left his behind. Norman asked if he could show his support by wearing the OPHR pin. 

1968 200 m Medalists, John Carlos, Tommie Smith and Peter Norman.

The USOC and IOC responded by taking away Smith’s and Carlos’ medals and barring them for life. Both men faced personal tragedies and vilified by the press. Norman faced similar consequences in Australia. The media and countrymen shunned him for most of his lifetime. Norman passed away in 2006. Both Smith and Carlos were pallbearers at his funeral. American Track & Field legends such as Michael Johnson stated he is “my hero.” 

For more on this historical event and the brave athletes involved, click here.

PROUD VOICES WHO INSPIRE BY EXAMPLE

A few years ago, NFL player Ben Watson expressed his thoughts after Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri. Watson first caught my attention with his effort to chase down Broncos’ DB Champ Bailey after an interception in the 2005 NFL playoffs. 

Fellow NFL Hall of Famer Ray Lewis is one of the most inspirational voices in society today. He and Deion Sanders provide hope every day through their example. Listen here how Lewis describes the pain a family goes through losing a loved one. Lewis also shares with his teammates how to stand tall after experiencing failure and how it will inspire others’ suffering similar circumstances. 

There is hope for those who experience pain, loss, and feel like tomorrow will be worse. One of the greatest actors in Hollywood is an excellent example of how to overcome adversity. 

“Without commitment, you’ll never start, but more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish. It’s not easy. If it were easy, there’d be no Kerry Washington. If it were easy, there’d be no Taraji Henson (corrects himself) P Henson; if it were easy, there’d be no Octavia Spencer. But Not only that, if it were easy, there’d be no Viola Davis.

If it were easy, there’d be no Mykelti Williamson, no Stephen McKinley Henderson, no Russell Hornsby, and if it were easy, there’d be no Denzel Washington.

So, keep working, keep striving, never give up, fall down seven times, get up eight. Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. So keep moving, keep growing, keep learning.”

Denzel Washington, 2017 NAACP Image Awards

LEARN & SHARE THE STORY OF HEROES OF THE PAST

Educate yourself on heroes of the past. Research the accomplishments and significance of Crispus Attucks, Booker T. Washington, Issac Murphy, Jack Johnson, Dr. Harry Edwards, Mary Ellen Pleasant, Bessie Coleman, Madam C.J. Walker, Jessie LeRoy Brown, and Josh Gibson. 

My thoughts are prayers are with you.

Honoring Heroes in Struggle for Racial Equality – Part One

Honoring Heroes in Struggle for Racial Equality – Part One

While most of the world continues to engage in rhetoric that will help address systemic racism, I urge everyone to educate themselves on why it matters so much.

In the late 1960s, Black America faced institutional racism everywhere. Freedom marches led by Martin Luther King Jr. forced the issue of society. His bravery and ability to use peaceful protests led to historical changes in civil rights. 

“Violence and hatred are the attributes of a sick society.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

An essential part of understanding each other is recognizing why there is grave concern among the African-American community. One cannot understand what fears, anxieties, and concerns another face without experiencing it. 

WHY IT’S ABOUT RESPECTING, NOT DISRESPECTING

I face daily challenges and fears being a cancer survivor. Due to the damage caused by chemotherapy and radiation, I suffer from Crohn’s disease and Lymphedema. I struggle with explaining to those who don’t face those issues, how it affects me. Others can’t understand my frustration since they don’t experience it. 

The same explanation goes for African-American’s who experience racism. Those who aren’t Black will never understand how that feels. However, we can empathize, listen, educate ourselves, and be sensitive when situations occur. Doing so creates trust and understanding by showing compassion and empathy.

While attending The Kings College as a Freshman, I engaged in a conversation with my RA who was Black. During our discussion, he proceeded to tell me “If I woke up Black, it would be my worst nightmare”. Initially, I was terribly offended, thinking he was calling me racist. However, he explained the anxieties and fears he faced because of his color and I would never understand how that feels. Despite occurring almost 27 years ago, I never forgot the emotion shown during his explanation.

DON’T TAKE MY WORD – CHALLENGE YOURSELF

In a time of such division, I wrote this article to help educate everyone on heroes that gave their life to represent equality, dignity and stand up for racial injustice. 

I encourage everyone to do their research and educate themselves. While everyone is entitled to an opinion, the ability to validate ideas with factual evidence helps challenge false propaganda. 

One cannot understand perspective without realizing the sacrifice that others made. All MLB players need to understand the circumstances which Jackie Robinson faced during the 1946 & 1947 seasons. While Serena Williams’ athleticism and strength led her to monumental heights in tennis, Althea Gibson broke the color barrier in TWO sports. 

ASSASSINATIONS, POLITICAL UNREST DOMINATE 1968

A few years after Gibson made her debuts in tennis and golf, Black athletes found themselves on the frontline as the United States prepared for the 1968 Olympics. African-Americans across the country faced unruly mobs looking to take their frustrations out due to backlash from the passing and enforcement of Civil Rights Acts. Lynch mobs, the KKK and other white supremacy groups operated without fear in many areas.

As 1968 progressed, the war in Vietnam escalated, and protests broke out on college campuses. On April 4, the nation lost Dr. King, assassinated on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. 

On June 5, Bobby Kennedy suffered the same fate, assassinated during his Presidential campaign at the Ambassador Hotel in California. Both events shattered hopes of those who fought for change. Read about how Rafer Johnson and Rosey Grier, two prominent athletes of that era, believed in Kennedy.

During the last week in August, the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago brought riots and violence into the living room of every American. Student protests, the ‘Yippie” Movement,  the death of a native-American shot by police, and reaction of Mayor Richard Daley, added fuel to an inferno. 

BLACK FREEDOM MOVEMENT INSPIRES “SPEED CITY”

Lee Evans, John Carlos and Tommie Smith ran track for San Jose State University. The Spartans track and field team earned the nickname “Speed City” under coach Bud Winter (SJS produced 43 world records and 49 American records between 1958 and 1979). Evans, the most vocal of the trio, and Smith found inspiration from the Black Freedom Movement and sought to expose injustices concerning amateur athletes. Unable to find housing close to campus due to his color, Evans noticed the only Black males living on campus were athletes. This lead to the creation of the USBA (United Black Students for Action).

DR. HARRY EDWARDS AND CREATION OF OPHR

Dr. Harry Edwards competed in the discus while receiving his Bachelor’s degree from San Jose State (1964). Edwards, who recently completed his Ph.D. in Sociology from Cornell, along with Ken Noel, helped organize a meeting that started the “Olympic Project for Human Rights” in October 1967 (the three already formed the USBA, which succeeded organizing protests concerning campus housing.). Their goal was to expose how the United States used Black athletes to project a lie both at home and internationally. Edwards later published “The Revolt of the Black Athlete” in 1969. 

Harry Edwards, lecturer at San Jose State University who called for a boycott of the Olympic Games in Mexico City by African Amercian athletes, talks with two African American athletes at the University. (Photo by © Ted Streshinsky/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

OPHR Founding Statement

“We must no longer allow this country to use … a few “Negroes” to point out to the world how much progress she has made in solving her racial problems when the oppression of Afro-Americans is greater than it ever was. We must no longer allow the Sports World to pat itself on the back as a citadel of racial justice when the racial injustices of the sports industry are infamously legendary…. [A]ny black person who allows himself to be used in the above matter…. is a traitor to his country because he allows racist whites the luxury of resting assured that those black people in the ghettos are there because that is where they want to be…. So we ask why should we run in Mexico only to crawl home?”

In addition to Evans, Smith, Carlos, and Edwards, UCLA basketball player Lew Alcindor, also spoke out. Alcindor took the shahada twice and converted to Islam in the Summer of 1968. He adopted the Arabic name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, though he did not begin using it publicly until 1971. 

The OPHR had five central demands:

• Restore Muhammad Ali’s title. 

Ali had been stripped of his title in June 1967 for his refusal to fight in Vietnam.

 Remove Avery Brundage as head of the International Olympic Committee

Brundage was a notorious white supremacist and antisemite, best remembered today for sealing the deal on Hitler hosting the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He once praised Hitler’s regime at a rally in Madison Square Garden. As head of the International Olympic Committee, he also opposed the entry of women as competitors. It’s hard to imagine someone as vile as Brundage could exist with such unswerving racial biases and prejudice. Still, his influence reached far and had severe consequences from those who dared challenge his authority.

• Disinvite South Africa and Rhodesia. 

This was a conscious effort to express internationalism with the black liberation struggles occurring in these two apartheid states.

• Boycott the New York Athletic Club 

At the time, the NYAC did not allow Puerto Ricans, Jewish, or African-Americans to be members. The OPHR organized a boycott of a track meet at MSG in February, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the NYAC.

• Hire More Black Coaches

CLEVELAND SUMMIT & MUHAMMAD ALI

Around the same time the OPHR started, other prominent African-American athletes led by Jim Brown and Bill Russell convened in Cleveland. The group discussed many concerns, including their thoughts on Muhammad Ali’s decision to avoid the draft.

VOTE TO BOYCOTT 1968 OLYMPIC GAMES

On November 23, 1967, the group voted to boycott the 1968 Olympic games. The OPHR faced strong objections from the media and other prominent voices in the U.S. at the time. In his autobiography, “The Struggle That Must Be,” Edwards obtained more than 2,000 documents via the Freedom of Information Act from the FBI, CIA, and U.S. Military Intelligence, which showed that law enforcement was investigating the group. Under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI used informants and undercover agents in Edwards’ classrooms, tracking his movements and attending his speeches. 

REVERSAL & INDIVIDUAL CHOICE TO PROTEST

Many athletes were not in favor of the boycott. Participating against the world’s greatest amateur athletes was too good an opportunity to pass up. The Olympic games were the perfect showcase to publicize their talents. The athletes chose to protest individually as some were not as comfortable as others. Despite compromising by withdrawing their demands, the athletes faced severe consequences if they participated in any form of protest. 

While many athletes participated, Jabbar chose not to. Instead, he decided to teach kids in New York City how to play basketball and why they should stay in school.

END OF PART ONE – CLICK HERE FOR PART TWO

DON’T WASTE PAIN! – USE IT TO THINK FOR YOURSELF

Don’t fall victim to promises of crooked politicians who look to exploit. They come around every election cycle, insisting they know what is best. Their biggest fear is using your ability to think for yourself. Don’t subscribe to any political ideology that insists you choose between two corrupt parties. 

Listen to ideas. Befriend those who think differently. Challenge yourself and others not to identify anyone based on one characteristic. Some of my best friends are individuals I vehemently disagree with on a variety of issues. However, I stand with them and defend their right to express their views. How else can we grow as a society? 

Don’t allow anyone to shape your future, control you, and tell you what to think. Such people are wolves in sheep’s clothing. 

2020 NY Yankees Preview

While most of the United States is preparing to introduce the business world back to society, my focus is on sports. Here is a preview of the 2020 New York Yankees.

2020 NEW YORK YANKEES

LAST YEAR: 103–59 1st in AL East. Lost in ALCS to Houston Astros, 4–2.

FIVE QUESTIONS PLAGUING THE YANKEES FOR 2020.

Can Aaron Judge & Giancarlo Stanton stay healthy?

While Stanton only played in 18 games last season, he averaged 130 games and 479 AB from 2011–18. While his calf strain is severe enough to see him on the Opening Day roster, history says he should recover and see significant playing time in 2020.

Judge’s situation is more alarming than Stanton’s. His rib strain requires rest. The team will re-evaluate his status in a few weeks. However, since his rookie season when he hit a then-record 52 HR (broken by Pete Alonso in 2019) the last two seasons, he averaged just 27 HR and 64 RBI.

A healthy Judge will make a huge difference in 2020.

Can Gerrit Cole lead the pitching staff?

While there is no doubt Cole is the free-agent prize of the offseason, will his success over the last few seasons continue in the Bronx?

Two things point to a big season for Cole in NY.

  1. He is an innings eater — Cole has thrown 200 or more innings in four of his last five seasons. Leading this staff, I project him to throw at least 210 innings.
  2. His strikeout total has increased significantly over the previous two seasons (avg. 13.1 K per 9), while his WHIP has evaporated (0.962).

One slight concern is for Cole is his inexperience at Yankee Stadium. He only has one career start during the regular season in the Bronx but did throw seven shutout innings in his only postseason appearance (Game 3 of 2019 ALCS).

Can they sustain injuries?

The Yankees lost an incredible 2,336 man-games to injury, 253 more than the second team on that list, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite that, the Yankees still won 101 games.

Can they expect the same contribution from role players?

A direct result of all those injuries saw contributions from unexpected players. Gio Urshela, Mike Tauchman, Cameron Maybin, and Mike Ford combined for a .880 OPS. Such results repeated in 2020 are unlikely.

Will they miss Didi Gregorius?

While Didi played in only 82 games last season, his presence took a lot of pressure off a position that replaced a Hall of Famer, which will be inducted into Cooperstown this season. Gregorius averaged 20 HR, 75 RBI, and .765 OPS the previous four seasons.

Didi also came to play when it mattered. Over the last three postseasons, only Aaron Judge has more hits (26 to 25) and RBI (17 to 16) than Gregorius among the Yankees.

Can Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar handle the pressure now that Didi is gone?

Yankees should continue to ring the bell

The Yankees led the majors in runs scored (943), and their 306 HR were one shy of the Minnesota Twins who set an MLB record in 2019. With the same cast of players returning, they should continue to post impressive offensive numbers.

Unequaled success in the wild-card era

Since the MLB went to the wild-card format in 1995, no team can equal the success of the Yankees in playing beyond the regular season. Last season saw the Yankees make their 21st postseason appearance over that span (next closest is Atlanta with 16). Their 12 LCS appearances and seven World Series appearances are also the most over that era.

PREDICTION: 100–62–1st in AL East.

A Closer Look at Don Shula’s Head Coaching Career

A Closer Look at Don Shula’s Head Coaching Career

On Monday, May 4, a flash went across my IPAD that read, “Don Shula, Hall of Fame NFL Coach, dies at 90”. Immediately my brain went into high gear, thinking of the best way to honor one of the greatest coaches ever.

Being an NFL historian as well as an overall sports historian and expert, my mind switched into autopilot, reviewing some of his most significant accomplishments.

Coach Shula’s playing career was not one that received much attention. The Cleveland Browns drafted him as a defensive back in the ninth round of the 1951 NFL draft. Shula played seven NFL seasons, recording 21 interceptions while playing for three different teams (Browns, Colts and Redskins).

Baltimore Colts & 1960s

In 1963 the Baltimore Colts made Shula the youngest Head Coach in NFL history at age 33. It did not take long for the young head coach to make his mark. In seven seasons with Baltimore, Shula won 75 percent of his games (71-23-4).

Despite that success, Shula’s reputation plummeted when the upstart New York Jets of the AFL defeated Shula’s heavily favored Colts (18.5 favorites), 16-7 in Super Bowl III.

Shula lasted one more season in Baltimore before being hired by the Miami Dolphins. Only in their fifth season as a franchise, the Dolphins won just 27 percent of their games (15-39-2) when Shula took over.

Most Regular Season Wins 
Head Coaches, NFL History 
  
Don Shula328
George Halas318
Bill Belichick273

For the next 26 seasons, Shula’s Dolphins achieved an unprecedented amount of success. The head coach won 66 percent of his regular-season games, including 16 seasons of ten or more wins, 12 AFC East titles, six AFC Championships, and two Super Bowl titles.

During his 33 years as head coach, Shula’s 328 regular-season wins and 347 wins overall are the most in NFL history. Only twice over that span did his teams suffer losing seasons (6-8 in 1976 and 6-10 in 1988). Shula’s 19 postseason wins rank third in NFL history behind Bill Belichick (31) and Tom Landry (20).

Most Postseason Wins 
Head Coaches, NFL History 
  
Bill Belichick31
Tom Landry20
Don Shula19

Shula is one of three head coaches in Super Bowl history to coach in three straight Super Bowls (VI-VIII), Marv Levy (XXV-XXVIII) and Bill Belichick (LI-LIII) are the other two. He is also one of four head coaches to lose four Super Bowls (Levy, Dan Reeves, and Bud Grant).

Miami Dolphins Perfect Season & the 1970s

The pinnacle of Shula’s coaching career took place in 1972 when the Dolphins became the only undefeated team in NFL history. After winning all 14 regular-season games, Miami defeated the Browns 20-14 in the divisional round at the Orange Bowl, and the Steelers 21-17 at Three Rivers Stadium to advance to the Super Bowl.

Shula suffered a 24-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl VI and hoped to face the same Cowboys team that dismantled them in Super Bowl VII. However, Tom Landry’s team lost 26-3 to George Allen and the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship Game, setting up the matchup. The Dolphins 14-7 victory, completed the only perfect season in NFL history.

The next season Shula joined Vince Lombardi as the only head coaches to win consecutive Super Bowls, defeating the Minnesota Vikings, 24-7.

Most Seasons 10+ Wins 
Head Coaches, NFL History 
  
Don Shula20
Bill Belichick19
Tom Landry16

Wood-Strock, Dan Marino & the 1980s

Despite winning 77 of 120 regular-season games from 1974-81, the Dolphins qualified for the postseason just four times, going winless in those contests.

During the 1982 strike-shortened season, Shula’s defense (nicknamed the Killer B’s due to six of the 11 starters surname starting with B) led Miami to a 7-2 record. Their offense was led by 24-year old David Woodley & 32-year old Don Strock (nicknamed Wood-Strock) at QB.

Since the regular season consisted of just nine games, the NFL changed the postseason requirements, as the top eight teams in each conference qualified. The Dolphins ranked second in the AFC, played all three of their games at home, defeating the Patriots, Chargers, and Jets to earn their fourth Super Bowl appearance under Shula.

Once again, their opponent was the Washington Redskins, but this time, Shula’s young team fell to Joe Gibbs and Super Bowl MVP John Riggins, 27-17.

The next season saw the Dolphins first-round draft pick Dan Marino make his NFL debut. Under Marino, Shula watched his young QB set NFL records for passing TD (48) and passing yards (5,084) in 1984, leading the Dolphins back to their fifth Super Bowl against Joe Montana and the 49ers. Once again, Shula’s team came up short in the biggest game, falling 38-16 in Super Bowl XIX.

The Road to Nowhere and Playoff Failures

During Marino’s rookie season of 1983, Miami suffered an upset loss to the Seattle Seahawks at the Orange Bowl in the AFC Divisional Round. While the team rebounded to finish 14-2 and reach the Super Bowl the next season, many anticipated a return in 1985.

During the 1988 season, the Dolphins hosted the undefeated Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football in Week 13. Sitting at 12-0, the Bears dominating defense led by defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan posed a threat to join Miami’s 1972 team as the only undefeated team in NFL history. However, Shula’s bunch embarrassed Chicago 38-24, ending their perfect season.

While everyone was anticipating a rematch in Super Bowl XX, Miami lost to the New England Patriots in AFC Championship Game. (Patriots were the first team ever to win THREE ROAD GAMES to advance to Super Bowl).

The loss was the Dolphins first against New England in Miami since November 30, 1969 (were both members of AFL). They were 15-0 all-time at home against the Patriots since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 before that loss.

The following season New England snapped their regular-season losing streak at Miami, defeating the Dolphins 34-27 on December 22. The loss eliminated Miami from postseason contention, occurring in their final game at the Orange Bowl.

Don Shula as Miami Head Coach  
NFL Playoff Games on Road  
 Round 
1995 at BuffaloWild CardL, 37-22
1994 at San DiegoDivisionalL, 22-21
1990 at BuffaloDivisionalL, 44-34
1979 at PittsburghDivisionalL, 34-14
1974 at OaklandDivisionalL, 28-26
1972 at PittsburghChampionshipW, 17-14
1971 at Kansas CityDivisionalW, 27-24
1970 at OaklandDivisionalL, 21-14

During Shula’s final nine seasons in Miami, the team won three postseason games, but in 1992 suffered their second AFC Championship Game loss at home (29-10 to division-rival Buffalo). Another contrast from his initial success in Miami, Shula, lost his final five road playoff games (last road playoff win came in the 1972 AFC Championship Game at Pittsburgh).

Shula was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1997. He and George Halas are the only NFL head coaches to record 300 wins.

Is Tom Brady the Greatest Athlete Ever?

Is Tom Brady the Greatest Athlete Ever?

As the sports world discusses how to get back to work, amidst COVID-19, the upcoming NFL season will see one of biggest free-agent signings in pro sports history. According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport , Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finalized a deal worth $30 million per year.

How will Brady fit in with his new surroundings is a discussion taking place around the league and that I will address in a later article. Having left New England and coach Bill Belichick, the only team and coach he has known in his 20 NFL seasons, I am very intrigued about how he will perform.

One thing that prognosticators can point to is his accomplishments. Any argument about whether Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL is moot at this point. He is. Bar none. The next discussion we need to have is this: Could Brady, historically, be the greatest player of all-time in any of the four major sports? In case you need to be reminded of his qualifications, here are some reasons why I am making that suggestion.

Brady owns 30 playoff wins in his career. Only three teams in the Super Bowl era have more playoff wins than he does: the Pittsburgh Steelers (36), Dallas Cowboys (35) and San Francisco 49ers (32).

Tom Brady  
Individual Playoff Records  
  Closest on List
Wins30<<Bill Romanowski (19)
TD Passes73Joe Montana (45)
Passing Yards11,388Peyton Manning (7,339)
GW Drives13John Elway (6)
4th-Quarter Comebacks9Joe Montana (5)
  << Among Players that weren’t teammates

He has 14 more postseason wins than the next quarterback on that list, Joe Montana. Brady has 13 game-winning drives in the postseason. Next on that list is John Elway with six. Brady has nine fourth-quarter comebacks in the postseason. Joe Montana is second with five. That isn’t just being better, that’s complete domination.

Brady has gone 219–64 during the regular season, good enough for a .777 winning percentage. That’s nearly 100 points higher than №2 on the list, Peyton Manning, who went 200–92 (.685 winning percentage). What about players in other sports? Who can we compare to Brady in that conversation? Here are a few names.

MLB — Babe Ruth

Due to batters and pitcher’s differences in deciphering their excellence, I decided to take a player who excelled in both. Babe Ruth is such a legendary name that people might forget that he played for 22 seasons. Ruth spent the majority of his four seasons pitching, not hitting, for the Boston Red Sox. Ruth averaged 20 wins with an ERA of 2.05 and WHIP of 1.08 from 1915–18 (ages 20–23).

Babe Ruth Career   
Season Average Pitching   
AgesWinsERAWHIP
20-23202.051.08

Upon his trade to the Yankees in 1920, Ruth played the outfield and no longer pitched, a process the Red Sox started the prior season. From 1919–34, Ruth provided offensive numbers never seen prior in MLB history. Over those 15 seasons (24–38), Ruth averaged a .351 BA, 44 HR, 134 RBI, 132 Runs & 1.201 OPS.

Babe Ruth Career Averages     
AgesBAHRRBIRunsOPS
24-380.351441341321.201
39-400.2711448460.953

While those numbers are staggering both pitching and batting, Ruth suffered a steep decline in his final two seasons. From 1934–35 (age 39–40), he averaged a .271 BA, 14 HR, 48 RBI, 46 Runs & .953 OPS. Ruth appeared in ten World Series and won seven championships from 1915–32.

NBA — Michael Jordan

One can make an argument for Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, etc. However, there is one GOAT in the NBA.

Jordan is at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to the greatest ever. His six NBA titles, six NBA Finals MVPs, scoring records, and legendary playoff performances are well known. However, Jordan did take nearly two seasons off in his prime that prevented him from possibly winning two more NBA titles. When he came back to the NBA the second time with the Washington Wizards at age 38, he was clearly a different player.

Michael Jordan -Season Average    
AgesPPGRPGAPGFG Pct.
27-3431.36.24.949.7
38-3921.25.94.443.1

Jordan averaged 21.2 PPG and shot 43 percent from the field with the Wizards from 2001–03 at age 38 and 39. From 1991–98, he averaged 30.3 PPG and shot 50 percent. Jordan won his NBA titles over eight years, starting at age 27 in 1991 and ending at 34 in 1998. Yes, Jordan could have won two more NBA titles if he didn’t leave the NBA to play baseball. But he did. Should’ve and could’ve doesn’t matter.

NHL — Wayne Gretzky

“The Great One” joined the NHL in 1979 and destroyed every conceivable scoring record there is. By himself, Gretzky finished with four seasons of over 200 points. No other player in NHL history has done that once. Gretzky is the all-time leader in points, goals, assists, short-handed goals, and hat tricks. He has 936 more points than anyone else in NHL history.

Gretzky won four Stanley Cups in his NHL career, but none after leaving the Edmonton Oilers. He won his first cup at age 23 and his last one at age 27. Despite his dominance, Gretzky started to decline at age 34. After averaging 54 goals and 164 points per season from 1979–94 (ages 19–33), he averaged just 18 goals and 80 points per season the last five years of his career (ages 34–39).

Wayne Gretzky – Season Averages    
AgesGoalsAssistsPointsStanley Cups
19-33541101644
34-381862800
     

My argument for Brady revolves around the consistency in which he has played. Starting with his first season in 2001 going through this season, he has stayed at a very high level.

Tom Brady Season Averages    
AgesWin Pct.Passing YdsTD/INTSuper Bowl W-L
24-300.7453,76625/133-0
30-390.8014,00231/72-1
40-420.754,33028/91-1

If you look at Brady by how he did in his 20s, 30s, and 40s, he is the only athlete to post better statistics in his 40s than his 20s.

Tom Brady Season Averages    
AgesWin Pct.Passing YdsTD/INTSuper Bowl W-L
24-360.7753,78027/103-2
37-420.7724,23730/83-1

Judging from the charts, Brady has improved with age, unlike Ruth, Jordan & Gretzky, who all slowed down significantly as they aged. Brady has yet to see that decline, which is remarkable. Along with his play staying dominant, Brady has also continued winning titles. Gretzky won his last title at 27, Jordan, at 34.

While all players had exceptional years in their prime, Brady is the only one to play beyond prime years and continue to post impressive numbers. Considering all those factors, Brady is historically the greatest player to play any of the four major sports.