Jim Harbaugh says Patriots' Tom Brady is best to ever play the game

ByMichael Rothstein ESPN logo
Thursday, February 2, 2017

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- To Jim Harbaugh, it's not even a question. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is not only the best quarterback in NFL history, he's the best player as well.

"He's already got it. That's the point. Tom Brady is the greatest football player to ever play," Harbaugh said after his Michigan Signing with the Stars event Wednesday. "If you can play that good, that consistently great year-after-year-after-year-after-year, game-after-game-after-game-after-game, nobody's ever done that.

"Nobody's ever done it like Tom Brady has. He's the best of all time."

Harbaugh, himself a Pro Bowl quarterback and a 14-year veteran, brought Brady up when he was asked what he thought about Super Bowl LI on Sunday between the Atlanta Falcons and the Patriots. The 39-year-old Brady is a four-time Super Bowl champion, three-time Super Bowl MVP, two-time NFL MVP and 12-time Pro Bowler.

Yet Harbaugh thinks Brady doesn't necessarily get as much credit as he deserves because other players have been brought up in conversation with him. While Harbaugh didn't mention any names, Peyton Manning was a longtime contemporary of Brady's and Aaron Rodgers has also entered the discussion, particularly during the latter half of this season.

"I don't think he gets the credit that's due to him," Harbaugh said. "People compare him to other people. He is the greatest football player of all time and he's not getting that [credit]. That's his due, and he doesn't quite get it the way he should.

"Can't wait to have an opportunity to see him play."

Brady, who like Harbaugh played college football at Michigan, returned to be an honorary captain at the school during his four-game suspension resulting from Deflategate at the start of this season. In February 2016, Brady also returned to the school to be part of Harbaugh's inaugural Signing of the Stars event.

He was not in attendance this year as he is in Houston preparing for the Super Bowl.

Harbaugh was asked, though, if he felt Brady could one day be his quarterbacks coach. Harbaugh said "that would be phenomenal" before taking it a step further.

"Head coach here someday," Harbaugh said. "Quarterback coach, coordinator, head coach."

So would Harbaugh step aside for him if it came to that? Harbaugh laughed for a second and smiled.

"For Tom Brady," Harbaugh said. "I will give him a deep long bow, shake hands and I'll coach the quarterbacks for him."

Brady said Wednesday in Houston that he doesn't envision himself prowling the sidelines as a coach once his playing days are over.

That doesn't, however, mean he won't help Harbaugh in other ways.

"I'd do anything to help Michigan. I don't know if I'll be a QB coach but words of wisdom for that QB group, I'd love to do that," Brady said. "I don't ever see myself in that light [coaching].

"I love the sport, I admire all the guys who played before me, I grew up a fan of Joe [Montana], Steve [Young], Dan Marino, Warren Moon. They paved the way for us. I'm a hell of a lot of older than most guys know and [Michigan's quarterbacks] look at me as I used to look at those guys."

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