For someone who considers them self to be a “literary journalist” and not a sports journalist, author Sean Glennon has surely opened up a can of worms with his third book Tom Brady vs. the NFL: The Case for Footballs GREATEST Quarterback. Glennon sets out to prove the fact that New England quarterback Tom Brady is the greatest of all time not by mowing down his readers with pages and pages of boring statistics but by telling relatable yet factual stories that confirm his argument.
This book initially began as a focus on the recurring Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning debate on who is the better quarterback. After researching the subject further, Glennon said he could not just focus on the two alone but “needed to see how they stacked up against other quarterbacks,” both past and present. He eventually came to the conclusion that Tom Brady is in fact the best to ever play and wanted to focus on him alone. Though he is an avid football fan that “happens to live in New England” and has previously written two books about the New England Patriots, Glennon did not want to write a biography on Brady as that had already been done by Charlie Pierce with his book Moving the Chains.
He was also not interested in writing a book based solely on scores and stats alone, believing that the stories that would engage the reader and convince them to hail number 12 as the greatest ever. Glennon ranked storytelling as the most important aspect of getting people to care about his argument. In order to provide a more objective viewpoint, he also included chapters of great retired “passers” that have graced the NFL such as Sammy Baugh, Terry Bradshaw, Steve Young, Joe Montana, John Elway, and Brett Favre, even though he “hates that guy.” A few chapters include recognition of current top passers such as Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and the Manning brothers. Glennon insisted that he “did not want to tear down the other guys but rather build them up and show how they made great contributions to the game.”
Mr. Glennon said that he struggled with comparing Brady to other quarterbacks all the while respecting the rich history of football. The biggest challenge is also the most obvious: Brady vs Montana. To help him over this hump, he asked for help from a man who “gets the game on a deep level…and how to convey football to most people.” This man is Pat Kirwan, NFL Senior Analyst and co-host of Sirius XM’s football program “Movin’ the Chains.” Glennon knew Kirwan would read his material and be honest about whether or not this book would prove Brady is the best of the best. Kirwan ultimately agreed with Glennon’s argument, and even wrote the foreword.
He is also not the only one making this argument. As football season gets into swing, it is not uncommon for Brady to be at the top of the hot topics list and much of the talk surrounds whether or not he is the best of all time. Polls, videos, op/ed sports columns and more are constantly being uploaded to the Internet. In July 2012, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said in an AOL piece that Brady was the best. In August 2012, NFL.com came out with an special feature article titled “Tom Brady-The greatest quarterback ever?”
Though this book was written without the cooperation of the New England Patriots or Tom Brady, Glennon is not worried about this fact affecting his sales. Like any other reporter of news, he went out and gathered facts, checked them, and is reporting them so the public can digest them and make the final decision for themselves.