Monday, January 20, 2014

The Answer

The question has been: is Brady the reason for Belichick's success, Belichick for Brady's, or do the two share it equally?

I love Tom Brady, and you can't win consistently in the NFL without a seriously good QB, but the Patriots' success is more Bill's than Tom's. Today's game is Exhibit A. The top players for the Patiriots one year ago would have been, in approximate order, Brady, Gronkowski, Wilfork, Welker, Talib,Vollmer, Mankins, Hernandez, Mayo.

Those were pretty much missing today, and Brady had what would be a C- game for him (which is admittedly, a B- game for almost anyone else), and yet the Patriots still had some chance until late in the fourth quarter.  Manning, an exceptionally good QB, aided by great recievers and a wonderful D-line, played at a B- to A+ level the whole game, and yet any of three (four?) badly-thrown long passes by Brady would have kept the Patriots in it. Belichick is indeed a jerk at times, and I doubt I'd like him as a pal. Still, I think he is the central cog.

Because of film, information, training, and PED's, today's game is far superior to the Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, George Halas eras.  Joe Namath, Ron Jaworski, and Roger Staubach have all acknowledged that today's quarterbacks complete passes in games that they could not complete in practice.  It just is.  Sammy Baugh or Johnny U would have done even better in this era of more advantages, but the cold facts are that they didn't do as well as QB's today. Montana was great, but Rice was an enormous uncredited asset. (uncredited in the quarterback discussion, that is.) Today you saw the two best QB's to date in NFL history. NE fans hate Manning, but I don't.  I love his game.

BTW, people up here get torqued off at the fans around the country who keep focusing on Spygate as the big CHEATERS issue, even though it was the coverup more than the crime that caused the $500,000 fine.  I'm not so bothered.  Like a defense attorney who tries on a ridiculous argument defending a clearly guilty client - well, he has to say something. He can't just capitulate and say "your honor, my client deserves 25 years to life for this."  People who hate New England have to give some kind of reason, even a dumb one. If you say "that was years ago, and small potatoes" they aren't going to just reverse field and say "Oh, you're right, I like them now."


Michael said...

On the facebook page of someone who lives here but is from somewhere else, he referred to the Patriots as the "evil empire". I commented that anyone who has a perspective on the Patriots entire history laughs to think of that perception of a team that was a laughingstock for years. Even when they made the Super Bowl, it was a mismatch. I used to look longingly at the Shula, Landry et al and long for the day when we had a dominant team for a period of time. We have had that. Will Belichek and Brady exit together? Will that be the end of the era? I can only say that I am glad to have had the football equivalent of Auerbach/Russell and will enjoy the competitive teams as long as they continue, but know it will end.

Jeff said...

I suspect that a lot of folks judge teams based on a combination of how jerk-ish their players/staff are + how obnoxious their fan base is. Brady comes across as a bit of a snob, Belichik comes across as generally disdainful of everything, and NE sports fans can be extremely annoying (Sox more than Pats more than Celtics more than Bruins). I'm about 50-50 on this year's Superbowl because Manning is charming, while Broncos fans are annoying, Wilson is charming, but Sherman is...not, and Pete Carrol is basically a used car salesman, but Seahawk fans are about as pleasant as sports fans can be.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I have significant agreement.

I would hate Belichick if he were someone else's coach. I think Brady is more aloof than snob, and in his way, shares his coach's obsessiveness. Even we don't warm up to him, just admire him.

Are NE fans worse than other areas? Before 2001, the only time I heard that was during the Bird Celtics era, when a lot of American got upset because the Celtics were whiter than others, and conclusions were leapt to because of that. (Still are. Read Chuck Klosterman.) A jealousy hatred, combined with a need to feel morally superior.

Since 2001, Boston teams have enjoyed ridiculous success, and it can't last. That puts our fans out in front of the country while they are beating your team. I'd hate us too. Bruins fans are actually the drunkest and stupidest, but no one cared until 3 years ago.

We do have lots of jerks - but more than Philly? NYC?

Jeff said...

Philly's fans are the worst, from my experience. I grew up a NY sports fan, so I'm not objective, but I will say that certain NY ethnic groups are way worse as fans than others. Winning definitely brings out the worse in certain fan bases, and resentment from fans that never win, and the worst of the NE fans are entitled to a ridiculous level (kind of like Yankees fans were back in the 90s/early 00s), but Philly (and from what I've heard, L.A.) fans are violent, angry, gloating, and belligerent without much of a history of success.