Tommy Grady Adds to Historic Career
Photo Credit: Albany Empire
In their sophomore season, the Albany Empire captured their first Arena Football League championship.
Their team was lead by none other than quarterback Tommy Grady.
While Tom Brady may be the NFL’s best ever, the 34-year old quarterback solidified himself as arguably the greatest to ever play sideline-less football.
After a short stint with the Miami Dolphins in 2009, the Utah alum took his talents to the Arena game debuting in Oklahoma City, before he returned to Utah to play for the Blaze.
As a member of the Blaze, Grady led the league in passing touchdowns and set numerous records.
- AFL record 142 touchdown passes, season (2012)
- AFL record 5,870 passing yards, season (2012)
- AFL record 507 passing completions, season (2012)
- AFL record 743 passing attempts, season (2012)
- AFL record 12 touchdown passes, game (2012)
The Huntington Beach native was also named AFL MVP that season.
Grady made his National Arena League debut with the Jacksonville Sharks in 2015 and won a ring with the team in 2017.
He bounced from the NAL back to the AFL in 2018 –– hitting the ground running as the Empire’s franchise quarterback.
Grady earned his second AFL MVP award and was voted First Team All-Arena for the second time in his career.
Grady’s play has affected other signal callers including Massachusetts Pirates quarterback and 2018 NAL MVP Sean Brackett.
“Tommy is without a doubt one of the best quarterbacks in arena football history,” Brackett said. “The championship cements his case. He’s been a staple in the best offenses in arena history. He has all the individual accolades you can receive. Just a great player, great teammate, and great guy all around. Very happy for him.”
Brackett was not the only quarterback to learn from Grady. Now NAL champion Mike Fafaul voiced how much Grady helped him in his short time in Albany.
“Having the opportunity to play behind him last year has without question shaped my game to what it is now as it has many other guys before me,” Fafaul said. “He plays the game so effortlessly, it’s really fun to watch. Really happy he was finally able to get his first ring and I’m sure there will be more to come.”
It was not just the younger quarterbacks that had nothing but great things to say. J.J. Raterink, arguably one of the greatest in his own right, put Grady on the arena football Mt. Rushmore with him.
“He is certainly in the discussion as one of the best to ever do it,” Raterink said. “If you look across his whole body of work, Tommy has been consistently at the top of every statistical category and anytime you’re playing him, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re gonna be facing a lot of points especially as an offense.”
Raterink doubled down on Grady and his legacy, even using the infamous G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) label.
“Tommy will be in the discussion as one of the best and most talented quarterbacks and should be,” Raterink said. “I try and stay away from the cliche ‘G.O.A.T.’ and there’s a lot of great quarterbacks but for me if you lump them all together, Tommy is certainly in that discussion.”
Grady himself is grateful for the praise bestowed upon him by up and coming quarterbacks, but ultimately deflected it.
“It’s an honor for them to say that I am the greatest of all time,” Grady said. “But ultimately, there are so many great quarterbacks out there.”
Grady was named Arena Bowl 32’s Most Valuable Player, but chalked it up once again to the play of the team around him.
“It’s crazy to think for some people that you look back at most championship teams, it’s not just the quarterback,” Grady said. “It’s not just one player, there have been years where I’ve had great numbers but without the best players and coaches (around you), it’s pretty hard to win.”
Grady may be still playing, but he still has made a lasting impact on the quarterbacks that play today that look to line up under center and emulate his consistency.
“I personally learned a great deal from Tommy on and off the field,” Brackett said. “I always will cheer him on and was very happy to see him get the ring.”