Boy, What A Bunch of Boston Idiots
By Cam Giangrande
“Belichick shoulda traded Brady”
“Brady’s losing it”
“They shoulda never traded Jimmy G”
“Brady’s done, he’s been lousy the second half”
“Why’d Belichick do it?”
“He coulda gotten so much more for Jimmy G”
Those statements and hundreds of similar ones have been blistering the two Boston sports talk radio stations this past month. They have amped up over the last couple of weeks, especially now that ESPN broke a big story on the Patriots’ dynasty showing some cracks that may shake the foundation for good.
Stop Piling on Tom Brady!
An underlying theme is the supposition that Tom Brady has somehow lost it. Let’s analyze that statement. He led the team to a 13-3 record, another top seed, and first round bye heading into the playoffs. And, he’s the front–runner to win his third MVP award. Oh, and by the way; he’s done this without his top wide receiver, Julian Edelman, who’s been out all season with a knee injury.
After beginning the season 2-2, Brady finished the year going 11-1. The only loss was against the Miami Dolphins in Miami, where he’s never had great success. In fact, his career record in Miami was 7-8 before the loss this year. And what about his stats, were they down this year? His completion rating this season was 66.3% compared to his career number of 63.9%. He threw for over 4,500 yards. He threw 32 touchdowns to only eight interceptions. Comparing those numbers to his last two full seasons of 2014 and 2015, the stats are remarkably similar. In 2014, Brady completed 64.1% of his passes, with 4,109 passing yards; and had 33 touchdowns to nine interceptions. In 2015 he had 36 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He again completed over 64% of his passes, and had 4,770 passing yards. He’s the same player.
2005. 2007. 2017.
Another NFL passing title for Tom Brady 🏆 pic.twitter.com/hAanrjX0Ov
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 4, 2018
So why are Patriots fans losing their minds and turning on Brady? The genesis seems to be when Belichick traded Jimmy Garoppolo. People started the speculation as to the motives and reasons and now ESPN has created even more speculation. A conclusion emerged that Bob Kraft intervened and forced Belichick’s hand. If left to his own devices, Belichick would have traded Brady. He more or less said it when he drafted Garoppolo three years earlier. He said it’s always better to be a year early than a year late, especially at that position. He also referenced Brady’s age and contract status. It was obvious he was greasing the skids. And remember, at the time, the team hadn’t won a Super Bowl in nine years. But a funny thing happened on the way to Gillette Stadium…Brady has won two more Super Bowls, and became the GOAT. There is no doubt in my mind that if the Pats were stuck on three Super Bowls, Brady would have been traded; and Kraft would have had no problem signing off on it.
Belichick miscalculated. The extra Super Bowls didn’t change his view. Had he been able to do things his way, Brady would have still been gone. His miscalculation was that he didn’t realize Kraft would veto his decision.
Boston is Divided
Patriots fans have gone into two camps: the Belichick camp, and the Brady camp. By default, the Belichick camp is the Garoppolo camp. Adding fuel to the fire is that Garoppolo is 5-0 with the 49ers. Boston fans see a team that was 1-10, that won five in a row under Jimmy G. and opine how he should be a Patriot for the next decade. But let’s analyze those wins. Are they that impressive? During a five–week stretch from Week 2 to Week 6, they lost those five games by a combined 13 points, losing three games by a field goal, and two games by two points. After that stretch, the team was 0-6, and ostensibly done. This team wasn’t that far away. Let’s not put Garoppolo into the Hall of Fame yet.
Beyond the trade, the Belichick camp is citing Brady’s supposed second half dip, where his stats apparently dropped off a cliff… They specifically cite his last six games. That stretch began after coming off back–to–back road games in Denver and Mexico, (against the Raiders). He beat the Dolphins at home, throwing four touchdowns and sported a QB rating of 114.1. He then went on a three–game road trip, against the Bills, Dolphins, and Steelers. He managed to win two out of three of those games, and won the pivotal game against the Steelers to in essence, clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Let’s not forget, that the one loss against the Dolphins coincided with Rob Gronkowski’s one game suspension. Brady then came home and beat the Bills again; throwing two touchdown passes, completing 75% of his passes and boasted a 106.8 QB rating. The final game against the Dolphins can almost be thrown out because the conditions were so brutal, with a wind chill of below zero. They made a point to simply win and stay healthy. Gronk didn’t even play in the second half.
The only stat these Brady doubters can cling to is that his interceptions clicked up, throwing six during those six weeks. Again, for the season, he’s thrown only eight. Quarterbacks do throw interceptions from time to time. Brady’s curse is that these Doubting Thomases are comparing Brady against himself, and when the bar is set sooo high, any time there is any dip people predict the end. If Brady were 30, and not 40, nobody would be questioning anything.
Brady is still at the top of his game. And he’ll continue to lead this team for at least the next couple of seasons. If anything, Belichick will take his skills elsewhere after this season, possibly to the NY Giants. As Bill Parcells said years earlier, If they want you to make the meal, they should let you buy the groceries.
Patriots fans; you should be ashamed of yourselves. Enjoy this historic ride for as long as it lasts. You’ll never see it again. Once Brady’s gone, he’ll be gone forever. Thank Bob Kraft for ensuring forever will be at least be for a few more seasons.