Tom Brady came into Sunday’s matchup against the Los Angeles Rams with 200 wins as a starting quarterback, tying him with his recently retired contemporary, Peyton Manning, for most ever.
And with the New England Patriots hosting the Rams, it seemed a given that Brady would get his record-setting 201st. No one expected it would be quite as easy as it was, with the Patriots holding Los Angeles to just seven first downs and 162 yards of offense (nearly all of those coming in the second half) in a 26-10 win.
As the game ended, Brady accepted congratulations from his teammates and also members of the Rams’ roster and coaching staff; some fans in south end zone area brought signs that read “BRADY GOAT #201” to commemorate the occasion.
After the game, Brady was asked what the win meant to him.
“You know, I’m just grateful for all my teammates and my coaches, and my family and friends,” Brady said. “It’s been a lot of football over the years, so… It’s always been about winning and you know, I’ve been very fortunate to be on great teams. I’m actually very grateful.”
Safety and team co-captain Devin McCourty, who has been Brady’s teammate since 2010, said, “I’ve learned so much from him as a leader, and not always just from talking to him but just getting the opportunity to watch him, whether in captains’ meetings, his daily routine, on the field, off the field.
“I think at times you don’t really know the true worth of being around a guy like that and I think you see the bigger picture when you see a record like this – 201 wins, most ever by a quarterback, it really forces you to step back and really realize what the guy’s done in the NFL and I’m happy to be part of it.”
The 39-year-old Brady is in his 17th season, though he did not take over as the Patriots’ starting quarterback until the third game of his second year, after Drew Bledsoe suffered serious internal injuries after a hit from the Jets’ Mo Lewis the week before.
It’s well-documented, but Brady was the 199th pick in the 2000 draft, though the Patriots saw enough from him during training camp as a rookie (and their roster at the time was so thin) that they kept him on the 53-man as the fourth quarterback to start the season.
But by his second year, Brady entered the regular season as Bledsoe’s backup.
He led those 2001 Patriots to one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history just a few months later, when New England beat the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Fittingly, many of Brady’s teammates from that squad, including Bledsoe, were at Gillette Stadium on Sunday as they were celebrating the 15th anniversary of that memorable win.
Sunday’s win was Brady’s 179th of the regular season, to go with his NFL-record 22 postseason wins. His overall record is 201-61, an unheard-of winning percentage of .767.
For comparison, Manning was 200-92 (.685), and Brett Favre, third on the career wins list, was 199-123 (.618). In terms of win percentage, Brady’s boyhood idol, Joe Montana, comes closest to his gaudy number, at 133-54 (.711).
Favre tweeted congratulations after Brady set the record:
Huge congratulations to Tom Brady! 201 wins as an NFL QB is absolutely incredible. https://t.co/JbZENmzQza
— Brett Favre (@Favre4Official) December 4, 2016
The NFL’s twitter account posted a great graphic outlining how Brady got to his 201 wins. Incredibly, he has a perfect record against seven teams, racking up a 30-0 mark against the Jaguars, Lions, Falcons, Bears, Cowboys, Vikings and Buccaneers; he has a losing record against just one club, the Denver Broncos: