If you ask ESPN analyst Michael Wilborn, Deshaun Watson – not Tom Brady – had the best championship performance in 2017.
While Brady was a key contributor to the New England Patriots’ wild 34-28 overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, Watson rallied the Clemson Tigers past a heavily favored Alabama Crimson Tide by a score of 35-31 in this year’s College Football Playoff National Championship game.
“The answer is Deshaun Watson,” Wilborn said on “Pardon the Interruption” on Wednesday. “Deshaun Watson was an incredibly heavy underdog who went up against Alabama. He beat Nick Saban, who you slurp on the PTI show. When? On the last play of the game. It was storybook. The answer is Deshaun Watson. Not even Brady did that.”
In the CFP title game, Watson completed 36 of 56 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns. He also collected another 43 yards along with a touchdown on the ground. Like Brady, Watson helped his team claw back from a sizeable deficit (14-0) in order to win the game, as Clemson didn’t hold a lead until there was only 4:38 left in regulation.
On the other hand, as Tony Kornheiser, the co-star of the show, pointed out, Brady set Super Bowl records in passing completions (43) and passing yards (466) while scoring two touchdowns of his own in a winning effort. He was named the game’s MVP, which is the fourth time Brady has won the award in his career – another NFL record.
Both performances were amazing in their own ways. For Watson, he was a major underdog who sent shock waves through the football world by beating a previously undefeated team that has won four National Championships since 2009. For Brady, he solidified his legacy as the best quarterback to ever play the game by leading his team to score 31 unanswered points after being down 28-3, which is the largest comeback in Super Bowl history.
Whether Watson or Brady had a more impressive championship performance this year is up for debate, but regardless of who you think did better, both signal callers did what it took to be champions – which is the only thing that matters in the end.