In 2002, Brady was tied for 9th in QB rating with 85.7. Pennington was 1st with 104.2. However, the difference between 9th and 18th was 1.4 points total. 16th (which should be the league average) was 85.2....which is .5 behind Brady. So yes, he was technically "above average" by the slimmest of margins, but that's only because the majority of the league had an 84 or an 85 in passer rating.