Is This The End For Tom Brady? Statistics And Common Sense Say No
Bad time for Michigan fans, eh? Brady Hoke on the hot seat. Michael Phelps DUI. And now Tom Brady is off to his worst start, statistically, in his 14 seasons as a pro. In Monday's debacle vs. the Chiefs, Brady was just 14 of 23 for 159 yards and a touchdown, and is now averaging just 197 yards per game. He is completing 59 percent of his passes, and Pro Football Focus has him with a worse QB rating than EJ Manuel.
On Sunday he was benched in the fourth quarter in favor of rookie Jimmy Garroppolo, although the game was well out of hand by then.
How do we explain this? Of course we blame Mitt Romney. From the New York Times piece on Romney today by Mark Leibovich:
Recently [Romney] was taking an early-morning jog in Arkansas, where he was campaigning for the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Asa Hutchinson, when a woman accosted him. "You're John Kerry! You're John Kerry!" she yelled. He tried to correct her, but she wasn't buying it; she kept running alongside him. "I said 'I'm not John Kerry -- I'm Tom Brady,' " Romney recalled. At that, she left him alone.
And that's when you know you've hit rock bottom: When Mitt Romney claims he's you so that people will leave him alone. But will Tom Brady recover?
Bill Belichick for one seems to think that questions about replacing Brady as starter are smirkable.
It's actually a fair question, although unnecessary. As far as Brady is concerned, Belichick will go down with the ship, if that's in the cards. But while it's true that the end of his illustrious career may be in view, I don't think that it's over just yet. Brady is 37 -- that's old in quarterback years, but not dead. Roger Staubach led the NFL in passing at age 37, in 1979, with a 92.3 passer rating. Peyton Manning, of course, had that record-breaking season in 2013 at age 37.
Steve Young, Kurt Warner, Jeff Garcia and Rich Gannon all had combined QB ratings in the 90s at age 37 and older -- Warner took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. In 1998, John Elway was 10-2 as a starter and led the Broncos to a Super Bowl win at age 37. Brett Favre threw 112 TD passes after age 36, and Joe Montana was also hugely effective for the Chiefs at 37. Here's a chart on quarterbacks who did big things at age 37 and older.
And Brady himself said this just last season:
“You know, you don't have to suck when you get older. It's hard to explain this to people, but the commitment I make, in terms of keeping my body in shape and my nutrition right, should make me healthy," Brady told TheMMQB.com's Peter King recently. "I feel better today than when I was 25, and I know that's hard for people to believe, but I do. I work at it. Basically, I work all offseason to prepare my body to not get hurt. I can't help the team if I'm on the sidelines. I've got to be durable.”
That photo there to the left was sent to be recently by a friend -- it's Brady as a junior at Serra High in San Mateo. Back before he was anybody, before Giselle Bundchen or Michigan or owning a mansion with a moat. He was one of the hardest-working kids I ever knew (I coached him in basketball at Serra) -- someone who would work on his weaknesses more than his strengths, with a fiery desire to succeed.
He came from nowhere and will go out as a cinch for the Hall of Fame, but I believe that end isn't here just yet. The Patriots are 2-2, after all -- people are acting as if they're winless. The Colts, Chiefs, Panthers and 49ers are all also 2-2, and no one's really betting against any of those teams making the playoffs. It's become a national pastime to mock Brady, and that's fine. But don't doubt his ability to bounce back.
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