In recent sporting events, Tom Brady has just won his seventh Super Bowl in his career at age 43. After leaving his football home, the New England Patriots, Brady won the Super Bowl after just one season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That left sports communities debating a hot topic, who is the GOAT of GOATs in sports? Is it LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady? Some might even say it could be Tiger Woods or Babe Ruth. Here are the resumes for the top contenders.
Let’s start chronologically. Babe Ruth is a historic icon of the game of baseball. He was the jack of all trades for an athlete and was a trailblazer for baseball greats.
Ruth came into the league in 1914 at the age of 19. Two years later in 1916, he led the MLB in ERA (1.75 ERA) and shutouts (9). From 1918-1921, he led the league in home runs slugging percentage, and on-base + slugging.
In 1921, Ruth hit 59 home runs that season, while no other player eclipsed over 30. He broke the record for home runs in 1919, with 29 home runs, until he broke it twice in the next two seasons.
Career-wise, Ruth is one of the best hitters of all time. He hit a career 714 home runs and 2,214 RBI’s in 2,503 career games. Ruth has a career .342 batting average, .474 on-base percentage, and .690 slugging percentage. The Bambino leads the MLB in career slugging percentage and on-base + slugging percentage.
Ruth also pitched a career 2.28 ERA with a 94-46 record as a pitcher. He pitched a career 1,221.1 innings pitched. In 1916, he pitched over 323 innings and gave up zero home runs.
Ruth is a statistical monster and changed the game of baseball. He led the Yankees to four world series titles and seven American League pennants. Is he the GOAT of GOATs? He’s certainly up there, considering his peak lasted for close to 20 years. But, you could make the argument that having to compete against only 16 teams in the majors helped his statistics and ability to make consistent runs at the World Series.
Tiger Woods is the unanimous GOAT of golf.
Woods is the definition of career achievements. Woods has won 15 major championships in his career, second all-time to Jack Nicklaus. In total, Woods has 110 professional wins in his career. He has the lowest career scoring average in history and holds the record for the win percentage at 22.9%.
Tiger is also one of the most clutch performers of all time. He is 14-1 in his career when entering the final round of a major with at least the share of a lead. He is also 11-1 all-time in playoff rounds.
The best Tiger Woods statistic is this – from 1997-2013, 72 golfers played over 100 rounds in the majors; Phil Mickelson had the third-best overall score with +128, Steve Flesch with +125 in second, and then Tiger Woods in the first place, with a total score of -126 under par. A difference of 251 strokes.
Tiger Woods is easily the best player to ever play golf. Not only has he had the best peak (the first player to ever win four majors in a row, known as “Tiger Slam”) but his longevity is unmatched. He is 45 years old and still contends for major championships. He won the Masters in 2019 at the age of 43 years old.
Is he the GOAT of GOATs? Not quite I don’t think. His longevity is based on the fact that golf is not a very physically taxing sport (although he may argue differently because of his injuries). His sport also does not require a team around him, but only his own personal success.
Michael Jordan, arguably the best basketball player of all time, set a new precedent in basketball for winning in the 1990s. Jordan won six finals in six appearances in the 1990s and is the best scorer of all time.
Jordan averaged a career 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. He won the scoring title 10 times in his career, the MVP five times in his career, was rookie of the year, and defensive player of the year in the 1987-1988 season.
Jordan is arguably the best basketball player of all time, but is he the GOAT of GOATS? No, because the argument is strong for LeBron James to be the best basketball player of all time. The GOAT of GOATs has to be the unanimous GOAT of their sport as a benchmark, and Jordan is not that.
LeBron James, like Jordan, is considered the best basketball player of all time. James is arguably the best well-rounded player in NBA history because of his scoring, passing, rebounding, IQ, and defensive abilities.
James averages a career 27 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game. Just last season, LeBron recorded the most assists per game with 10.2 assists per game. LeBron is also an excellent defender, having a 1.8 career defensive box plus/minus and recording six all-defensive teams.
James is a four-time NBA champion, four-time MVP, a former rookie of the year, and 16x All-NBA player.
Like Jordan, James could not be the GOAT of GOATs, yet. James still has time to prove his worth as the best GOAT. He has shown the sports world what it’s like to be age 36 and still be in your prime. But, the argument can be made that LeBron is not even the best basketball player of all time, ruining his GOAT of GOATs status.
Tom Brady just won his seventh Super Bowl in his 10th trip there in his career. Brady is the most dominant athlete in his position, which is the hardest position in all sports – quarterback.
Tom Brady has some of the most impressive career stats for an athlete. He ranks second in career passing yards, first in passing touchdowns, and second in fourth-quarter comebacks. Brady is the best passer to exist in the NFL.
Brady has the longevity of Tiger Woods and the extended prime of LeBron James, in the most physical of sports. Just last season, Brady threw for the second-most touchdowns of his career and the fourth-most yards in a season at age 43.
Brady also leads in most playoff passing statistics, like career playoff passing yards and touchdowns. He has been to the playoffs 50% of seasons in his career and has won the Super Bowl 35% of the time. Brady has played in 18% of all Super Bowls played in NFL history.
Is Brady the GOAT of GOATs? Yes.
There are a couple of reasons why Brady is the GOAT of GOATs. He is the most dominant player in the hardest position in sports. Brady is the most winning athlete, in a sport that doesn’t require winning to be notably great (hence Dan Marino, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers). Third, Brady has proven his effect to make any team great, after going to the Buccaneers and winning a Super Bowl in his first season there.