Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady clinched the No. 7 ranking on the NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2021 list as voted by fellow NFL players despite leading his team to its first Super Bowl title since 2002 with a 31-9 triumph over the then-defending champion Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. Several days after, ESPN released its own ranking of NFL Top 100 players, where the 44-year-old Brady was placed at No. 20 and the 6th-best quarterback in the league, behind Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers (No. 3), Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks (No.

4), Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills (No. 9) and Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys (No. 12).

The list was met with various reactions, including one from ESPN’s own Buccaneers beat reporter Jenna Laine, who commented “even for a guy who just turned 44, Brady won't be happy about that, and it is all the motivation he needs to go for an eighth ring.” The crew of ESPN’s First Take also had issues with the list, with analyst Booger McFarland saying Brady should have been ranked third behind Mahomes and Rodgers. “I’m just talking about what I just saw this past season and what I think I’m gonna see this season,” said McFarland, adding that the Buccaneers are heavily favored to win the Super Bowl in the upcoming season is because of Brady.

“Whoever came up with his list needs to go back and figure it out because at the very, very worst, he’s third behind Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers,” added McFarland, per transcription of the show’s YouTube video.

Douglas says Brady is having a good year

Former NFL wide receiver and now ESPN analyst Harry Douglas, for his part, said during the show that whoever put Brady at No.

6 is outright crazy. Douglas also predicted that Brady would have a good year because the Buccaneers have brought back all of their 22 starters – 11 on offense. Earlier, Fox Sports analyst Skip Bayless predicted that Brady will have his greatest year and he would capture the Most Valuable Player trophy in the upcoming season.

NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky also declared that Brady will have a monster second season with the Buccaneers, who are aiming to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowl rings since the 2003-04 New England Patriots.

Brady to square off with Patriots’ Mac Jones

Brady will face rookie quarterback Mac Jones when the former makes his much-awaited return to Gillette Stadium when the Buccaneers visit the Patriots in Week 4. This after the Patriots cut veteran Cam Newton and went with Jones as their starting quarterback, per Chase Goodbread of NFL.com. Jones had a better showing than Newton in the preseason, throwing for 389 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions in 107 snaps. Newton, for his part, played only 39 snaps for 162 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.