Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Believe the Hype 

Last night we witnessed artistry at its finest. Instead of a painter wielding his brush on a canvas, it was a quarterback carving up a Jet's defense for sixty minutes and further sculpting his legacy in the process.

Arguably the two "coolest" quarterbacks faced off last night with heavy-weight fight expectations that proved to be a knockout from Brady's first nine yard pass to Wes Welker. The Jets defense reminded me of when I used to play mortal combat with my friend Oren. He would usually win. Right before his victory, Oren would play with me as my character stood there head spinning, waiting and hoping to be finished off. Last night was a flawless victory as the Patriots beat the Jets in every aspect of the game.

Many teams go through blowout losses like this and are able to rebound and come out strong the next week. I think the Jets are still a good team, but not a Superbowl team. I don't know if I learned anything new about the Jets as much as my feelings were re-affirmed and validated. Mark Sanchez is not Broadway Joe. Sanchez is a second year player and last night it showed. The bright lights of Gillette stadium and the best quarterback in the game were too much. Sanchez will grow and learn from this, but as soon as the game got out of hand early he pressed. The three interceptions were out of panic, not lack of his ability to find his own players. His face stayed calm, but his play was frantic and flustered. He quickly realized that playing the Patriots at their house is very different.

The biggest advantage the Patriots had was their ten days to prepare. In another article I went into why the NFL is a coaching league. Coach Bill Belichick, the best in the business showed why he is a genius last night. Belichick is king of the details and the NFL is a game of inches and minute details that mean the difference between winning and losing. Brady said he sat with Belichick for two hours during their time off and learned the jets defense through his eyes.

After last nights win, Brady and Belichick have won 107 games together trailing only Dan Marino and Coach Don Shula. What's their secret to success? They are cerebrally on the same wavelength. In football, they are the same person. Brady is the absolute extension of his coach on and off the field. This was most evident to me during each of their press conferences yesterday. Brady: "They're a good team. We made some plays, but we may see them again". Belichick: "The Jets are a good football team. I'm sure we haven't heard the last from them."

It's like the best friends that finish each other's sentences. No duo is the NFL is better and they bring the best out in one another.

The Patriots are a different kind of team with a different breed of players. They treat their team as an army and their playbook as a top secret mission guarded at Fort Knox. If you are a Patriot, you become an extension of the coach, a solider to the captain.

Danny Woodhead, cut by the Jets is now a big part of the Patriots offense and showed up much bigger then his 5'8 frame last night. He could have played the "I told you so card and trash-talked the jets for letting him go". Instead, he put on the hard hat and went to work. His play did the talking with 4 receptions and 104 yards. After, he was continuously asked by Steve Young if it was nice to stick it to the team that cut him. His answer over and over was he's just doing his job and going to work everyday. These are the Patriots. Last night we saw that trash talking and comical press conferences don't win and don't get you prepared. Talk less, study more and with the extra time off the Patriots showed what they do with it. With extra time to prepare this season the Jets are 0-3, and the Patriots are 3-0. It's that simple.

It's time to talk Tom

We live in a society where greatness is always appreciated more after the fact. We can't see greatness as it unfolds before our eyes, but looking back we can't believe we had the honor to witness it. This is how I feel about whats happening with Tom Brady right now. When we look back thirty years from now, I have no doubt that the sports community with acknowledge Brady as one of the best quarterbacks of all time.

Most fans of the game and analysts still put him behind Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas, John Elway, and of course Joe Montana. At this point, I understand why he's still behind Joe Montana. But, if Brady gets Superbowl ring number four this season and another Superbowl MVP award and he's having an MVP season, doesn't he has to go in the discussion?

I know there a lot of haters out there: he's too good looking, he's married to the super model of super models, he wears uggs. Numbers don't lie. Three Superbowl victories, two Superbowl MVP's. The patriots are (10-2) and Brady is playing lights out with two rookie tight ends, no Randy Moss, past-his-prime Deion Branch, and Danny Woodhead. Are you kidding me? Woodhead was released from the Jets like yesterday!

Brady maximizes the talent around him. Randy Moss as great as he is was elevated by Tom Brady. Now he's rooting somewhere in Tennessee. Brady doesn't need a star receiver to be successful. He won those three Superbowl's without Moss and virtually no running game. Peyton Manning has had pro-bowlers and hall of famers on offense, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne. Tom Brady won three Superbowl's throwing to Troy Brown and Deion Branch. There's no comparison. Peyton Manning has always been a much better player and winner in the regular season than the playoffs. Brady has been the winner in the big moments: playoff time.

Manning is 9-9 in the playoffs, Brady is 14-4. The best part about Brady are his intangibles. Yelling at players on the sideline for missing an offensive opportunity up 24-3 last night and always playing as if he has something to prove. Brady being the 199th pick in the NFL draft has stuck with him. He uses that fire to attack all the teams that doubted him. It's that chip on his shoulder that never leaves him which makes him great.

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