Tom Brady will play in a record seventh Super Bowl as a quarterback of the New England Patriots on February 5, with a chance to win his fifth championship ring. Brady delivered another masterful performance Sunday to coast past the Steelers in the AFC Championship game, and stats suggest that Brady is clearly the greatest quarterback in postseason history.
On Tuesday's episode of "Undisputed," panelists Skip Bayless, Shannon Sharpe and Cris Carter debated whether his legacy as an undeniably great quarterback has fully recovered from the Deflategate controversy that eventually cost him the first four games of the season.
Cris Carter: Brady's legacy as a Hall of Famer hasn't been affected at all
Cris Carter: "Based on the question, you’re asking me how much has [his legacy] been tainted … so you’re saying that it has been tainted. And I don’t necessarily agree with that.
"… I think Tom Brady, what he has done throughout his career -- yes, people would like to say things, but last year they enshrined Brett Favre in the Hall of Fame. And Brett Favre had some things in his resume that weren’t necessarily the most flattering things. Did that taint his legacy? No! He was a first-ballot Hall of Famer. All the former players accepted him, accepted his accolades on the field, and obviously accepted his personality and the other things he was involved in.
"I don’t think this affects Tom Brady’s legacy as much as we thought at the beginning, and looking at the way Tom is playing, going to an unprecedented seventh Super Bowl for a quarterback, an opportunity to win five Super Bowls -- more than any other quarterback -- and tying Charles Haley for having the most Super Bowl rings … no. Because I think that the most important opinion [is from] the players that have played the game, compared to the media and the court of public opinion."
Geoff BurkeUSA TODAY Sports
Shannon Sharpe: Spygate and Deflategate left permanent marks on Brady's resume
Shannon Sharpe: "I disagree vehemently. It’s on his resume. And because he has two incidents that are going to be on his resume: Spygate and Deflategate. And you’re not going to be able to mention …. when you say Joe Montana, what do you say? When you say Terry Bradshaw?
"Now I believe he benefited more from Spygate than Deflategate, I just think, like Watergate, the cover-up was worse than the crime. They could have handled it differently.
"How high up this goes on his resume -- Spygate, Deflategate -- is gonna [come down to] your location and your love and infatuation for the Patriots and Tom Brady. But to say this is not going to be on his resume, that’s 1,000 percent false."
James LangJames Lang-USA TODAY Sports
Cris Carter: Deflategate doesn't change what Brady accomplished before it happened
Skip Bayless: "Wait a second, do you think he cheated and lied about it?"
Cris Carter: "Do I think he cheated? I think he distorted the truth. I think he was evasive to the NFL. That’s a fact. That’s a fact that he was evasive as far as what the facts were and cooperating with the NFL."
Skip Bayless: "And you don’t hold that, in the back of your mind, in your subconscious, against him. As a Hall of Famer, you don’t hold that somewhat against him that he did at least play fast and loose with the rules."
Cris Carter: "No. No. I don’t hold that against him as far as being a Hall of Famer, that’s going to taint his career. No. People can say that he got an advantage, yeah there might be a slight advantage. Does that lead to his great career? Absolutely not."
James LangUSA TODAY Sports
Skip Bayless: A large portion of the public has already made its mind up on Brady
Skip: "The bottom line here is: The people who did not like Tom Brady, I’m talking about fans, now. Those who didn’t like Tom Brady to begin with, they fully believe that he cheated and he lied about cheating. And it’s over. In their heart of hearts, they’ll never let that go. You can’t un-convince them of that.
"My final conclusion on this is there’s only one way for Tom Brady -- whose legacy has been indelibly tainted in the court of public opinion -- to fight back. And that’s to go win this Super Bowl, maybe be the MVP of this Super Bowl. Because winning that many Super Bowls, five Super Bowls, can create some … amnesia among the public."