Monday, September 8, 2008

Why I'm Just Fine With Tom Brady's Knee Injury

Oh, the drama! The horrible, horrible drama!

Friends, Romans, countrymen.... I think it's high fucking time we stopped all this woe-be-us bullshit over Brady going down. Yes, it's a bad thing for the team to lose a great QB who ran the New England offensive system exceedingly well. Given the choice, I'd certainly rather have Brady behind center than Matt Casserole or Tim Ratty or I'm Not Phil Simms. But given the choice, I'd much rather have Walter Payton in the backfield than Antowain Smith -- AND WE WON A FUCKING SUPERBOWL WITH ANTOWAIN SMITH IN THE BACKFIELD. I'm a fan of the New England Patriots -- a TEAM, not an individual. And if you claim to be a fan, then you goddamn well know that putting the team above the individual has been the hallmark of this team's ascendance.

I'm sure that you, like I, drive your car to get to work every day, and drive it to the store to buy groceries, or porn, or whatever else you need. Say that one day someone cuts you off and you slam your car into a brick wall by the side of the road, breaking your front axle and totalling it. What will your response be? I'm guessing that you'd call your insurance company, look into renting a car while yours is being repaired, and GET ON WITH YOUR FUCKING LIFE. What you wouldn't do is sit there and conclude that the rest of your life is totally fucked, that you'll probably lose your job within minutes, and that you'll starve to death. SO WHY ARE YOU FUCKING TAKING THAT LINE WITH BRADY, PUSSIES?????

Injuries are a part of football. They happen. And when they do happen, you deal with them. I remember the last time the Patriots were "totally fucked" -- two games into the season, looking like crap, our all-star #1 draft pick QB with his spleen in tatters on the sideline rapidly bleeding to death (almost), and nobody to lead the shitty-looking team for the rest of the season but some shitty-looking 972nd round draft pick backup from Michigan who had demonstrated precisely zero skill in the 4 or so snaps he'd taken in NFL history.

And what happened then? Anyone? Anyone?

Yeah, we were TOTALLY fucked by that.

So get your self-pitying done and out of the way today, because there's no room for it. Brady's done, possibly for the year, possibly for a couple of months. Deal with it, because the Patriots will. And here's my list of ten reasons why you should move on and get over this "we're screwed" mindset:

The complete list of teams who have won a Super Bowl without Tom Brady as their QB:


So yeah, I think that empirical evidence shows that it's possible to win without Tom Brady.

A team won a Super Bowl -- and won it easily -- with this man as its quarterback:

Last time I checked, the Patriots still had one of the greatest wide receivers in football history, possibly the greatest active slot receiver in the NFL, a decent RB squad, and most of last year's All-Pro level offensive line intact. Given that level of supporting cast, even a relatively average NFL quarterback -- I'm looking RIGHT at you, Troy Aikman -- can have a great deal of success.

Last time I checked, we still had the best defensive line in football. See #2 above for what that can get you.

The Patriots are not the mid-to-late-'80 Broncos, running an offensive system that's based almost entirely around their QB's physical skills. John Elway's bullet-fast passes and extremely quick release meant that the Broncs ran a passing game composed of quick, short patterns that forced the defense to compress its pass coverage -- cheating the safeties in to cut off the short/intermediate passing lanes -- whereupon Elway would whip out the gun and throw a ball 77 yards in the air. A replacement QB couldn't just step into that system and succeed, because a replacement QB would not have Elway's unique physical gifts. The Patriots, to the contrary, run a system that's based around playcalling that seeks to keep the defense off balance, not a system based on Brady's unique gifts (mainly his vision and his patience). Brady's gifts help him to execute the system better than the average QB, but they are not essential to the implementation or execution of the system. And that is why a replacement -- Cassell, Rattay, Sims, Archie Manning -- could realistically step in and execute the Patriots system with a decent (if not Bradyesque spectacular) level of success. Certainly enough success to win 10-12 games.

If you are going to lose a QB to a season-ending injury, the BEST time to do it is in Game #1 or 2. Why? Because that gives you the entire season to tinker with your offensive scheme to better fit the replacement and his particular strengths/weaknesses. It is MUCH harder to deal with a similar loss late in the season, when your team has gotten more set in its current-year ways and expectations.

... unless it's 1990, and you're, say, Bill Parcells (or maybe one of his followers) and you have to replace your borderline-HOF Pro Bowl QB with this journeyman hack in December, for chrissake....

Yup, that was a catastrophic blow to the Gints. Totally blew their season.

This team plays infinitely better when it is written off as a hopeless underdog. (See, e.g., Games 3-19 of the 2001 season.) This team is now being written off as a hopeless underdog.

Because the team is being written off as a hopeless underdog, the mainstream media's story about the Pats is now "how can they win/be expected to win without Tom Brady?" Which means we probably won't have to hear anything else about 18-1 or Spygate for the remainder of the year.

But really, here's the most important thing to keep in mind:

I'm a fan of the New England Patriots team. And if they Patriots do win without Brady, then all those Patriot Haters out there -- all those many, many obnoxious, asshole haters -- will be left with ZERO FUCKING ARGUMENTS to use against the assertions that Belichick is the greatest coach in the NFL, and that the Patriots are the best organization in the NFL and a true football dynasty.

Just let that possibility roll off your mental tongue.... Silencing those assholes forever. Mmmm...... feels good, doesn't it?

Sure, the Pats could wind up 7-9 and miss the playoffs now that Brady's out. But guess what? The Pats could have gone 7-9 with Brady and missed the playoffs. IT'S FOOTBALL. WEIRD SHIT HAPPENS. That's why you play the games. The beauty of the Patriots system is that it puts every player in a position to excel if they work hard and do what they're told. That's how you get Pro Bowl performances out of guys like Stephen Neal, who didn't actually play football after high school (he was a wrestler). There is NO REASON that a substitute QB cannot succeed in this system -- even to the level that Brady had. Yes, Brady is a very talented quarterback who gives your team a great chance to win if he's behind center. But he's not the only guy who can win a football game for you. Thinking that Brady's loss is the end of the franchise makes you as bass-ackwards stupid as the Packer Cheeseheads who can't comprehend how anyone else but Brett Fah-vray could ever complete a pass in Green Bay. Even a player as great as Brady can be replaced.

Now get off that bridge and start sending positive thoughts in the direction of Daunte Culpepper.


futuremrsrickankiel said...

I mean, obviously the points about the Bledsoe parallels and our very solid offensive lineup had already occurred to me. And I'm not convinced the Patriots are doomed to a losing season from here on out -- I thought Cassel looked good yesterday, and I'd certainly rather have him than some washed-up free agent who doesn't know our playbook.

I think you're being overly dismissive of legitimate reactions to the Brady injury, though. (I also think you're unfairly pigeonholing those reactions to make them seem "bass-ackwards stupid.") Brady is, and has been, the absolute crux of the Patriots; the one constant (along with Belichick's excellent coaching) that's made us consistently dominant since 2001 despite many other personnel changes. It's a tremendous blow to the team, and it would be doing Brady a disservice to suggest that his absence will be a mere blip on the Patriots' radar screen.

Above and beyond that, the real tragedy is that Brady is a very gifted athlete who's just faced a major, major setback in his career. ACL surgery is a long a difficult road, and we may never see him play like he did last season again. And yes, that makes me really fucking sad, because it's been unbelievable as both a Pats fan and a football lover to watch that man run the field. It's a tragedy, and that's all there is to it.

Hazel Maes Landing Strip said...

If Matt Cassell leads the Patriots to a Super Bowl, I will take you to dinner Pimp, anywhere of your choice.

And I'll show you my tits.

Grimey said...

Um... Jeff George has never even sniffed a Super Bowl

futuremrsrickankiel said...

Yeah I think he just meant that George came in as a backup QB and led the Vikes to an unexpected dalliance with the playoffs...

A Pimp Named DaveR said...

@grimey: You're right. Wrong picture.


A Pimp Named DaveR said...


futuremrsrickankiel said...


futuremrsrickankiel said...

Haha the rest of my comment got cut off but I kind of love Trent Dilfer...

Anonymous said...

Hey Pimp, good try. No, I don't feel better, but good try!

Swain said...

Give us time!

We all need to deal with grief at our own pace. I'm currently at Stage 2, Anger. I am blaming my roommate who didn't buy a friend a Brady jersey for her birthday. Clearly if he had done that, then this wouldn't have happened.

You are clearly at Stage 5, Acceptance. Which is good. But now its up to you to help other people through this tragedy. We need to come together in this time of crisis.

If we just attack one another, the terrorists win.

Thugnificent, aka Hanging with Mr Dungy

GHABB,Y~! said...

@swain: I'm at Stage 4: Furiously masturbating in front of a mirror after realizing that I drafted Brees and Romo as the QBs in my two fantasy leagues. Oh Me, you're so fucking hot.

RunTheBuffet said...

It's exactly this 'tragedy' that will make the Pats rally around each other and get back to what makes the Patriots excellent: Troy Brown playing defense. It's a "YOU don't matter, WE matter" kind of team attitude that makes Belichick so brilliant. Even Brady doesn't matter...When you start to believe that, you'll remember that while he might end up with one less year worth of Hall of Fame stats, the Pats may end up with one more trophy in their case, and a lot fewer disbelievers.
(P.S. I'm an Eagles fan.)