The actual GOAT

BY DAN

You may have noticed in the last few days that there’s been a bit of noise about Tom Brady being the greatest (athlete) of all time. They call it the GOAT, which in the esoteric tradition of English is simultaneously an animal, a food, an acronym and an athletic status. I’m pretty sure it’s use as a status dates back to LL Cool J’s album of the same name from the year 2000, but I might have been the only person to listen to that album, so who knows really.

It’s a standard for discussions that emerge from sports as notoriously insular as American Football to get carried away with their significance on the world stage. Only Canada can really argue they play a version of the game at a professional level. Every other country has got other interests. So when the NFL media shifted the discussion from whether Tom Brady was the greatest American footballer ever to whether he’s the greatest athlete ever I certainly noticed.

And to be fair Tom has an impressive resume. 7 Super Bowl wins for two franchises. All kinds of individual records and MVP awards. Which is nice, and sorta relevant to comparing him to other American footballers I guess. But it becomes less clear that he stands so bright when you compare him to other GOATs. And while his resume is impressive, I would argue someone we all know and love at the Canberra Raiders should be considered as greater.

Josh Papalii.

This guy

What’s that you say? Josh has never won a premiership, Dally-M or what not. These are mere details. Let’s instead look at all the ways Josh Papalii outstrips Brady.

Josh Papalii beat up Paul Gallen

Back in the 2012 semifinal against the Sharks, Josh Papalii stalked Paul Gallen like a particularly angry Cheetah. He put some brutal hits on him that day, terrifying the Sharks legend (leading to him practically begging the ref for protection) and inspiring the Milk to a famous victory. To my knowledge Brady has never so much as laid a finger on Gallen. Points to Papa.

Josh Papalii ran down Jamal Fogarty.

Josh Papalii weighs somewhere north of 115kgs. Yet on that famous day at the Gold Coast he found the pace to chase down the legitimately quick Jamal Fogarty. The big man was as fast as anyone that day. Tom Brady, by comparison, is notoriously slow.

Josh Papalii played for both Australia and Samoa

We often forget that Josh is a dual international. It was only 4 tests at the end of 2017, but Papalii did step out for Samoa. He’s also played 11 times for Australia since 2013. Brady hasn’t even played for one country. Another feather in Papa’s (likely very jaunty) cap.

Josh Papalii can throw

I can feel what you’re thinking. “Yes Dan, but could Josh ever nail a 9 route against a Tampa 2? Because Tom can.” And look it’s a fair question, to which I answer Josh can in fact throw and there’s photographic evidence. Here’s a rendering of the Papalii’s work extrapolated into the NFL environment by the scientific researchers over at the Green Machine Podcast.

Check mate Tom.

Josh Papalii ran over Damian Cook

You might remember when Josh Papalii ran over Damian Cook to seal the Canberra Raiders pathway to the NRL grand final, bringing joy to all the people of the world (except Bunnies fans), providing a roadmap to solving climate change and teaching us all to love again. If given the choice of tackling Papalii or Brady, I’m certain Cook would envelop Brady.

I rest my case. Science!!

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