Tom Brady is the greatest athlete among mortals. But Michael Jordan never seemed a mere mortal.

He could fly. He had the hangtime of a kite (not Greg!). He could contort his body like a 4-foot-10 Olympic gymnast.

The 6-foot-6 Jordan could rip your heart out like an overgrown Dahmer.

By the time he had clearly eclipsed Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, nobody ever said another NBA superstar may be better than MJ.

But we’ve heard for years Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning may be better than Brady.

MJ still has the Patriots’ legendary QB for the titles (6-5) and he was the NBA finals MVP all six times as the Chicago Bulls three-peated twice (1991-93, 1996-98).

Brady has won three Super Bowl MVPs and remember the winning QB wins it virtually every time. Joe Flacco, Mark Rypien, Doug Williams and old friend Nick Foles all have one, for Pete’s sake.

Jordan was a freak athlete, a freak competitor, and by far the greatest clutch athlete America has ever seen. He was also a leader non-pareil.

Even getting the likes of Dennis Rodman on board. No small feat as last we looked, Dennis was chumming around with another, uh, noted leader: North Korea’s despicable dictator Kim Jong-un.

And don’t forget, he could shut down the world’s greatest scorers, too. Nine times he was an All-NBA first-team defender.

A truly great NBA player does everything: run, jump, dribble, pass, shoot, defend, play 45 minutes with all the pressure on his shoulders.

The talent around Brady hasn’t always been elite, but MJ won titles with ham and eggers starting alongside him like Steve Kerr, Luc Longley, Bill Cartwright, John Paxson and B.J. Armstrong.

Brady’s otherworldly abilities are brains, passing accuracy, longevity and pocket presence. But he’s painfully slow, doesn’t run, isn’t strong, doesn’t tackle, etc. The specialization of football makes it difficult to put anyone on MJ’s level.

Go back to Jordan’s era. It was shameful the way the officiating was. Players were brutalized and it was called “tough defense.”

The Bad Boys of Detroit won titles due to their thuggish defense. These days, Rick Mahorn and Co. would foul out in 10 minutes. The Jordan Rules must have been by co-authored the Marquis de Sade and Pistons coach Chuck Daly.

These days with the cracking down on Jordan Rules-type defenses, Jordan’s 33.4 points-per-game average in 179 career playoff average would be above 40.0 ppg.

Brady and the NFL, meanwhile, are the exact opposite. Passing numbers are through the roof with the formerly historic 4,000-yard season now commonplace.

No matter how you slice it. Brady is as good as it gets. But he’s not Michael Jordan.

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E-mail Michael at mmuldoon@eagletribune.com.

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