One of the coolest parts of the NFL's 100-year anniversary celebration has been the unveiling of its "All-Time Team" consisting of the 100 greatest players in league history.
Several former Patriots players have made the list, including offensive lineman John Hannah and tight end Rob Gronkowski. The latest player to join that group is quarterback Tom Brady, who was joined by San Francisco 49ers legend Joe Montana as the first two players at the position to be honored. The remaining eight quarterbacks will be announced when the latest "NFL 100" episode airs Friday night on NFL Network.
Brady arguably is the best player in league history, and his six Super Bowl championships are more than anyone who's ever played pro football. He also holds many individual league records, and he could add a few more before retiring.
It was a guarantee that Brady would make the list, but it's still a huge thrill for him to be honored in that manner. Brady actually went to NFL Films over the offseason to tape the episode that will air Friday, and during his Monday morning appearance on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show", he talked about that trip and what it meant to be named one of the league's top 100 players.
“It was a fun day. I was in New York and flew down to the NFL Films studios when they were filming," Brady said. "It was actually the first segment, and we were the first people that were interviewed in the whole thing. It was fun. Cris (Collinsworth) was there, Rich Eisen, Coach Belichick (and I) got to reminisce a bit, and then had a few other quarterbacks, who I can’t name, come onto the set.
“It was really cool. Just very surreal for me to be part of that. It’s an incredible honor. I know 100 years in the NFL, you can’t name just 100 great players, there’s thousands and thousands. To even be considered as one of the greats to play, I would never have imagined that in my life. Very honored and very flattered and very humbled.”
Brady and Montana often are considered the two greatest quarterbacks in league history, and as someone who grew up as a 49ers fan in California, being named with the four-time Super Bowl winner was a really special moment for the Patriots QB.
"Yeah, that was pretty sweet. Joe (Montana) is someone I've always looked up to admired," Brady said. "As a kid, to be there watching him, nobody was a bigger Joe Montana fan than me. Then Steve Young came along, and you thought the San Francisco 49ers were blessed to have those two for a long time. Those were my two guys. I love them both. They really inspired me to play football. They inspired me to love the game. I'm sure like a lot of kids in New England who are under the age of 20, they've had a pretty cool time watching our team and its success. Hopefully, there will be a lot of good football players coming out of here in the next 20 years."
There's no doubt Brady has inspired tons of youth football players throughout New England over the last two decades, and it's one of many ways his impact on the region will persist long after he retires from the Patriots.