After beating the Kansas City Chiefs to win his seventh Super Bowl ring, Tom Brady once again finds himself the focus of several sports debates. Is Brady the greatest athlete of all time? Is the most accomplished champion? And is he the tallest player in the history of the National Football League?
That last question, the most divisive of the many Brady-focused discussions, is difficult to answer. Let’s break it down from a couple of angles:
The NFL’s website lists Brady as six feet, four inches tall. That’s consistent with his numbers at the Combine in 2000, where he officially measured in at 76.4 inches. You probably never thought of Brady as being that soaring – taller than Terrell Owens! – because, unlike so many of his peers, Brady’s an old-school throwback who never lets himself become bigger than the team. You’re only as tall as the shortest guy on the roster, after all.
Still, 6’4 is taller than many Pro Football Hall of Famers, including, but not limited to, Jerome Bettis, Kurt Warner, and Tony Dungy. Not too shabby, Tom!
Pro Football Reference, however, lists several NFL players above 6’4. Orlando Pace and Julius Peppers tower all the way to 6’7, for instance, as does legendary car dealership inflatable Brock Osweiler. Both Manning brothers and Philip Rivers show up as 6’5 on their respective stat sheets. In total, the PFR database calculates that 3,049 current or former pro footballers played while taller than Brady.
Sure, that could end the debate right there. The geeks with their precious “analytics” will tell you Touchdown Tom wasn’t even the tallest Brady on the 2007 Patriots, insisting that tight end Kyle Brady was listed at 6’6. If there’s one thing we all know, it’s that football is nothing without the fans – so let’s see if they agree with the number crunchers in their ivory IT towers.
Is Tom Brady the tallest football player ever?— Ryan Nanni (@celebrityhottub) February 7, 2021
Over 2000 football fans voted in the Banner Society Fans First Ultimate Fan Poll and, while the margin might be close, the result is beyond dispute: In the clear eyes and full hearts of America, Tom Brady is the tallest NFL player ever.
And maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but I think the voice of the fan should be heard.
Those might be volunteer nurses or firefighters or troops voting Yes in that poll. Given all that they sacrifice to keep the rest of us safe, it seems like we owe them an opportunity to voice their opinion about Tom Brady’s place in vertical history, rather than just shutting them down because the so-called “experts” disagree.
How many of these databases and statisticians even watch the games, anyway? We know computers are never perfect, so what if they’re wrong here and the fans – who live and breathe this game – are right?
SO WHICH SIDE WINS?
Since height is ultimately a subjective measure, there’s really no way to say for sure whether Tom Brady’s the tallest player in NFL history, not without building a time machine, getting every pro football player ever to line up, making sure they’re not scooching up their heels to get a little bit more height, and then sorting them all. That would be the only fair way to answer the question definitively.
Until then, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.