It is Monet vs. Picasso, Augusta vs. Pebble Beach, Cadillac vs. BMW.

Who do you like more, Michael Jordan or Tom Brady? Who is the greatest champion in modern team sports history, MJ or TB12?

It’s an interesting debate and one that’s all the rage this week as Brady’s New England Patriots shoot for a sixth Super Bowl victory next Sunday in Minneapolis. If the Pats can beat the Philadelphia Eagles, Brady’s collection of championship rings will jump to a second hand.

That would tie him with Jordan, universally regarded as the greatest basketball player of them all. His Airness won six NBA championships during his legendary career with the Chicago Bulls. That’s significantly fewer than Bill Russell’s 11-of-13 run with the 1950s and ’60s Celtics, but while Big Russ remains the greatest winner in American sports, his era unfolded when you could literally stock half a team with Hall of Famers.

In these modern, expansionist times, stringing up championships is supposed to be hard. Brady and Jordan make it look easy.

Like Brady, Jordan is a cultural icon. Like Brady, Jordan has enjoyed a bit of success as a salesman/huckster for sporting goods and other items.

A statue of Jordan already stands inside the atrium of the United Center in Chicago. Some unknown sculptor will no doubt craft a Brady statue that will hold a place of prominence outside Gillette Stadium one day.

So who’s better? Who has had more of an impact on his sport – and American sports?

There is no one answer. It’s one of those sports-bar debates that will rage on forever, and not just in New England and Chicago. As a qualifier, this fight is focused on team sports only. Save a debate on the merits of Muhammad Ali, Michael Phelps, Carl Lewis and Jack Nicklaus for another day.

The pick here is Jordan, with the qualifier that the 40-year-old Brady says he’s not ready to pack up his cleats just yet.

Here’s why, and the difference is really unique to the two sports.

In basketball, a player such as Jordan can dominate on both ends of the court. Everyone can see Jordan swooping through the air, gliding to the hoop and slamming the ball home like few others in history. Everyone also recalls Jordan heating up with his jump shot and averaging 30-plus points during each of his six playoff title seasons.

But what only the true hoop heads also remember is Jordan remains one of the five greatest defensive players of all time. Jordan, Gary Payton, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett share the record for the most first-team All-Defensive selections with nine. That combination of explosive, graceful offense and shutdown defense is what makes Jordan the basketball GOAT – Greatest of all Time.

Brady is tied with retired linebacker/defensive end Charles Haley for the most Super Bowl victories, but make no mistake, the Pats’ quarterback is pro football’s unquestioned GOAT. He’s also on target to be the greatest football winner of all time.

To topple Jordan, Brady needs to do a few things. First, he’s going to have to win that sixth Super Bowl ring. He can’t let this opportunity in Minneapolis slip by.

With a sixth championship, he’ll have an important bargaining chip to bring to the table. While a great basketball player can leave a larger imprint on a team and a championship season, it’s harder to win it all in football. There are simply more variables, more men on the field, and a player such as Brady can’t help his team when it doesn’t have possession of the ball.

The other difference may just be this TB12 mumbo jumbo that’s becoming more believable by the day. Jordan’s career effectively ended when he left Chicago in 1998 with a final championship. He was 34 years old. He returned for two seasons (2002-03) with the Washington Wizards but was no longer championship-driven.

At 40, Brady is the favorite to win his third NFL MVP award. He could win a second straight Super Bowl at the age that Jordan already had settled into a life revolving around golf, cigars, gambling and selling sneakers.

If he maintains a diet of coconut tofu, kale stew and avocado ice cream, Brady thinks he can keep slinging touchdown passes and winning games. If that leads to more Patriots championship parades, he’ll indeed surpass Jordan and go down as the greatest team sports athlete ever.