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Sporting News writer Vinnie Iyer joins M&M to explain ranking Tom Brady last among playoff QBs

01.09.14 at 1:53 pm ET
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Sporting News NFL writer Vinnie Iyer, in an interview with WEEI’s Mut & Merloni show to discuss his breakdown of the eight playoff quarterbacks that ranked Patriots signal-caller Tom Brady in last place, suggested that he meant no disrespect to the three-time Super Bowl winner. Instead, he characterized Brady’s last-place ranking as a reflection of the outstanding caliber of quarterbacks who are still in the playoffs.

“I don’t think you’ve seen kind of the confluence of this type of talent ever at this stage. … One vs. eight, there’s not that much difference in my mind,” said Iyer. “I think a good comparison [to Brady] here is [Chargers quarterback] Philip Rivers. When you look all time and most seasons, Brady is better than Philip Rivers. But Philip Rivers has had an exceptional season this year. A lot of people rated him just behind [Peyton] Manning in terms of the season he’s having in that offense. When you look at the weapons around, I think that plays into it a little bit. I think the Patriots as a playoff team that can go all the way will probably have to lean a little more on the run in order to do so. I just looked at the big picture of this right now and not in the past and what the accomplishments are because of course Brady’s going to be the top guy in terms of that. But it’s just shocking to me at how much talent is out there and how confident these young guys are that they can play with the vets at this point.”

Among Iyer’s most controversial assessments was ranking Brady fifth among the playoff quarterbacks in terms of intangibles, behind Manning, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and Andrew Luck.

“I have the greatest respect for Tom Brady. He’s one of the greatest players of all time in what he’s done. I was just looking closely at this year, what I’ve seen develop, everything that’s gone around the team and how that team is suited to go in the playoffs. I just think, in this case, the other quarterbacks are in a little bit of a better situation,” said Iyer. “I think that’s a good point you bring up with these younger guys [relative to Brady in intangibles]. I just am a guy, this is the case with any players in the league, I tend to lean towards the younger players in terms of what they can handle. I’m not worried about their inexperience in these type of situations. Some guys prefer the older guys with experience. I get that. That’s fine. But for me, that difference between the one and five in terms of intangibles is not that much.”

Iyer said that he had no agenda in the rankings. He neither preordained Brady’s last-place finish in the rankings nor did he take any particular pleasure in seeing the Patriots quarterback occupying the eighth spot with 15 points in his system, behind (in order) Manning, Luck and Wilson (who tied for first with 28 points); Brees (22 points); Cam Newton (21 points); Rivers and Colin Kaepernick  (19 points).

“Is it an exact science? No. It’s just the way I saw it come together. I didn’t intentionally have Tom Brady last. It’s just the way it came together,” said Iyer. “It was just an exercise where I wanted to see how these quarterbacks stack up.”

Asked if he was “excited” about the idea that Brady ranking in last place might elicit a strong reaction, Iyer vehemently disputed the notion.

“That’s ridiculous. People just say trolling. No, this is just my opinion,” said Iyer. “Trolling is just a word you guys throw out. No, I wasn’t excited about it because I don’t like being name-called about all this stuff on Twitter. I wasn’t excited to have him at the end. It just happened that way. You guys try to view that, try to feed into it.

“Why would I be excited about that?” he added. “I didn’t do anything trying to get a reaction. … This is my opinion. It’s not based on trying to get attention from you guys. That’s not what it was all about. I just hate that word trolling, because I’ve never tried to do that with anything I write. I just put my opinion out there. I know that sometimes it’s different from what people want to hear. … I’m not trying to make anyone mad. I’m one of the bigger Tom Brady fans in the world, and I’m just as big a fan of some of these other quarterbacks just as much.”

To listen to the complete interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

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