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On the surface, Tom Brady’s tweet Tuesday night seemed to be the perfect response to Tony Dungy. The former Colts head coach said Brady was the sixth-toughest quarterback he ever faced. So Brady posted a photo of an Indianapolis banner that read “AFC Finalist” from 2014, a year Brady’s Patriots knocked out the Colts.

One problem: Dungy wasn’t coaching anymore in 2014. That was a Chuck Pagano-led team. 

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Before delving further into the nuance of Brady’s tweet, here’s what Dungy said. It came during an appearance on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast, “Club Shay Shay.”

“Those mobile quarterbacks, that’s who I put ahead of Tom,” Dungy said. “Aaron Rodgers, John Elway, Steve Young, the guys who could move. Not saying Tom wasn’t great. He is great but that extra dimension meant something to me, so that’s why I would only put him at six.”

It’s definitely fair for Dungy, in the context of the word “toughest” to play against, to not list the six-time Super Bowl champion Brady as his No. 1. It’s also fair for Brady to get offended.

But while Brady got his comeback 75 percent right, he just picked the wrong year. It’s not like there wasn’t ammunition available for times that Brady’s Patriots beat Dungy’s Colts. Dungy was the Indianapolis head coach from 2002 to 2008. Brady ended the Colts’ season twice in that span, back-to-back in the playoffs after the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

There’s even an AFC finalist banner from that 2003 result, unearthed on Twitter by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. 

Maybe Brady didn’t want to go back to the ’00s because he knew after the 2006 season, it was Peyton Manning and the Colts who ended his season en route to a Super Bowl title. Instead, Brady unintentionally dunked on Pagano and Andrew Luck on Twitter on Tuesday night, and they didn’t even ask for it.

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December 23, 2020
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