Before I give you the skinny on the Pats, I have to first set forth my qualification as a sports person. I was a member of two teams that went to championship games. At BC in my sophomore year my team won the intramural basketball championship: and while with the Third Marine Air Wing in Japan my team played in the championship flag football game. I was quarterback.
In high school I had a good arm but never as good as Mike Donato. I played tennis but never could beat my younger brother J; played football but wasn’t as good as my younger brother W; played basketball but always lost to younger brother N. Although with N it was difficult to tell since he always changed the rules as the games progressed.
As a fan you’d be hard pressed to consider me one. I can’t name anyone on the Red Sox, Bruins, or Celtics. I’m a somewhat college football fan and watch BC and others when I can. That is the same with the Patriots. But often on fall weekends get togethers, taking advantage of the greatest weather or going to grandkids games take greater priority.
Up to this year I found the Patriots somewhat boring. Their problem was they won too often and too easily with Bradey at quarterback. The games seemed scripted. They’d be close into the third quarter and then Brady, as if he had been in a Rip Van Winkle sleep, would wake up and grab victory out of the mouth of defeat.
Brady is the best quarterback who ever played the game. His coach is also one of the greatest. Together they stand head and shoulders over all other teams. Their record while together shows that: eight Super Bowl appearances; five Super Bowl Championships. They are expected to win and normally do.
The secret to their success is Belichick’s skill at defense and Brady’s uncanny accuracy in throwing the ball.
The Patriots have lost two straight games up to today. Most likely they will win the next two, especially at home in the stadium of the owner who oversees the referees, where the yellow flag which can determine the outcome of a game is used sparingly against our guys, which is only fair. Sort of reminds me of playing basketball with my brother N – others were held to more strict standards.
Watching Brady the last couple of games I was reminded of a conversation I had with Danny S who played in the NFL. He had been playing a few years. He told how recovering from the bumps and bruises which seemed more painful took longer each year. Once by Tuesday they’d be gone but then they seemed to be there on Fridays.
Brady is much older than Danny was when he hung up his spikes but Danny being a tackle would have taken thousand more hits. There are no 41-year-old linemen. But the principle is the same, as you age the pain increases and lingers longer.
You can see now that Brady still has his skills and given time in the pocket is a magician with the ball. But over the last few games you can also see he is thinking of hit avoidance. Can’t blame him, as my brother B told me when some younger guys were mouthing off at a game and I wanted to say something: “You can’t get into fights over 40.” Brady knows he can’t take the hits anymore so is unwilling to stand in the pocket that may spring a leak as long as he once would.
You notice now for the most part in critical situations he will almost always go to Edelman or Gronkowski. When the fats not on the fire he spreads it around. If we see it, people who are paid to see it also do.
The future of the Patriots now depends on giving Brady the confidence he will not be hit. That can be done and I expect it will be. With that assurance, and less reliance on his two favorites, I expect they’ll go on to the Super Bowl. All it will take is for Kraft to make known that the refs shouldn’t call holding penalties against his team.