- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke passionately Monday about the statistics that mean the most to him, his remarks coming one week after media-generated buzz that he could be slipping from the ranks of the NFL's elite quarterbacks based in part on analytics.
"I think that people watch the games on TV because there is a scoreboard. I think that's what it is all about," he said. "If there was no scoreboard, then people wouldn't tune in and watch. There's only one stat that matters, and that's because the competition in the NFL is very high, extremely high on a daily basis.
"You can't sit here and compare one year to another year or compare this player to that player. I think winning games is the most important thing, certainly for this organization. When you come here, you learn that pretty quickly. Whatever matters to you as an individual, it's far distant to what the team goals are. And the team goals are one thing -- to score more points than the other team."
Brady's remarks came after an appearance at a community-based event at Gillette Stadium in which owner Robert Kraft presented $200,000 to New England-based nonprofit organizations. Brady wasn't specifically asked about a story posted on ESPN Insider last week that declared he no longer belonged on the Mount Rushmore of NFL quarterbacks, a piece that sparked a flurry of reaction over multiple days on local talk radio and various websites and publications.
But most of his nine-minute interview seemed to be dancing around the topic, and Brady, who turns 37 in August, embraced it.
"Hopefully I'm answering those questions a long time from now too, and you guys can just reprint the stories or whatever you want to write now," he said. "I want to do this for this team for as long as I possibly can. I love playing football for this team and for this organization. My goal is to continue to play at a high level, and there is nothing that really gets in the way of that."
Brady, who has quarterbacked the Patriots to victories in 148 of his 191 career regular-season starts, elaborated on what drives him at this stage of his career.
"I think some individuals compete against other guys and some compete against themselves," he said. "Even if you don't have someone you're competing against, if you're the type of person that competes against yourself, you're always going to get better because there is always competition.
"The guys I've been around that find ways to do that, find ways to motivate themselves, those are the best players. They don't have to wait for a Sunday in September to figure out if they're competitive. You figure that out in March. You figure that out in February, at the end of February when no one else is really working. The competition you have, and what's inside you, and how that is going to really help your team and build your team to be more competitive. That's all infectious."
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