Tag Archives: tom brady

The Show Must Go On

On Monday afternoon, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick announced that MVP quarterback Tom Brady would undergo season-ending knee surgery as a result of a low hit delivered by Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard.

While this comes as a devastating blow, given New England’s hopes of riding into the Super Bowl on Brady’s shoulders, little positive light has been shed on the grim situation. Almost instantaneously, thoughts of now-starter Matt Cassel leading the Pats to the big game have been written off.

Though it would be naive to expect Cassel–who hasn’t started a game since high school–to step in and do what the best quarterback of the modern era has done three times, it would be more than naive to expect anyone but Tom Brady to be Tom Brady.

I’m not saying that Matt Cassel and the Patriots are going to win the Super Bowl, but I’m not saying they aren’t either. If anything, the New England Patriots, without Tom Brady, are an above-average football team in a weak conference. Whether spoiled fans accustomed to winning choose to believe it or not, the Patriots are still alive.

And while the thought of an inexperienced Cassel leading the team to a Super Bowl victory is far from conceivable to most, it serves function as a harsh lesson to spoiled Patriots fans.

Prior to Sunday, the thought of losing Tom Brady was always seen as something that could happen, but in ‘reality’, wouldn’t.

It’s time to wake up.

The focus of the 2008 season has conjured a whole new meaning. The concepts of completing the task at hand, believing in one another, and discovering the true meaning of the word ‘team’, are at the summit of the proverbial mountain and will truly test the mettle of every player for the next 15 weeks.

The season should not be written off, because even if the Patriots only go on to win a meager 8 games as predicted, essentially, they will have strengthened a bond that appeared to break rather than bend in Week 1.

If you ask me, battling through an 8-win season without the league’s MVP is a far greater accomplishment than coasting into the Super Bowl with him and failing to come out on top.

Advertisements

Giants do it all

I still can’t believe it.

I wanted to see the Giants win the Super Bowl but I don’t think I ever gave them a fighting chance against the “unbeatable” Patriots.

After this game I heard a lot of people say that the Pats blew it. It was theirs for the taking and they did something wrong or didn’t do enough.

But that could not be further from the truth. This win goes to the Giants. They won it.

Everywhere from Eli to the defensive line the team stepped up in a huge way and took it right to the undefeated Patriots.

Before the game most were saying that for the Giants to have a chance they would have get to Tom Brady, control the tempo, and most of all, limit mistakes when it mattered most.

The defensive pressure the Giants put on the Patriots was unreal. They hit Brady and the Pats offensive line all night long.

The stats say the Giants had five sacks but they hit Brady over and over and over again. And unlike teams during the regular season who were able to do this for part of the game, NY were unrelenting in coming after the quarterback for 60 minutes.

Tom Brady is an amazing quarterback and will go down as one of the best in history, but not even he can lead a team when he is on his back half the time.

The next thing the Giants had to do was limit mistakes and not turn the ball over.

Eli was credited with one pick, it was really not his fault as much as Steve Smith’s. When it mattered most, at the end of the game, Eli controlled the ball.

The Pats have one of the most explosive offense in NFL history but the Giants controlled the ball for so much of the game (over 19 minutes in the first half including a record 9 minutes in the first quarter) that Brady and the Pats never had the time to blow the scoring open.

Throughout the season the Pats broke teams with a late score and then their cool defense would take advantage of a quarterback who was forcing it and they would seal the victory with a pick. To tell you the truth thats what I thought was going to happen on the last drive.

But instead Eli did what so few quarterbacks can. He lead his team the length of the field for a game winning touchdown against one of the most vaunted defenses in the most important game of his life.

And throughout the whole drive he looked cool, collected and most of all determined.

The determination came through most of all when Eli should have been sacked twice but somehow got free and rifled a ball 30 yards down the field that David Tyree somehow reeled in.

The whole season the Pats made the other team make mistakes and capitalized on those mistakes to win close games (they didn’t have many but showed real resilience in the few that they did).

But in this game the Giants took it right to the Patriots on both the offensive and defensive ends of the field and earned this victory and the distinction of Super Bowl Champions.

Hockey and The Boot

Big news on campus? Well, how about two great weekends in a row for the men’s hockey team –– right now it looks like they’re finding the right track, and the back of the net.

At home two weeks ago, the Cats played great in a 2-2 draw with Northeastern, which they followed up with an invigorating 5-2 win over the Huskies the next night.

Oh yeah, Northeastern was ranked #9 at the time.

At UMass this past weekend, Vermont went out Friday night and outgunned the Minutemen 5-4. Saturday night was not quite as high-scoring, but the boys from Burlington still notched a point in Hockey East with a 2-2 tie.

Oh yeah, UMass was ranked #14.

This sets up a HUGE homestand this weekend: Friday night the Cats get always-tough UNH, who sit atop the Hockey East standings, and Sunday they get UMass-Lowell, who are also in the top-20 as of January 27, 2008.

A win against UNH this Friday night could bring even more life to what appears to be a hockey team on the rise.

Anything less will be just that, but the potential exists for a surging, momentum-laden Hockey East campaign the likes of which we have yet to really see out of the Cats.

***

Big news elsewhere? Brady says “bye-bye” to The Boot!

I admit it’s a ridiculous story in almost every sense. The scrutiny placed on the peculiar footwear chosen by the Patriots quarterback last week is silly but also somewhat warranted when you take into account that Brady is the leader of the only 18-0 NFL team ever.

The golden boy of perfection’s team was photographed wearing a protective boot on his foot –– as we all know now –– while walking into his gf Gisele Bundchen’s New York City home. Later that day, though, he was seen sans Boot.

Brady went unseen by the media after that, although it was discovered that he did suffer a minor high ankle sprain in the AFC championship game.

But now, no Boot! Whew!

An article on ESPN.com Sunday chronicled nearly every wing-tipped step Brady took at the Patriots pre-Super Bowl send-off. No sign of a limp!

And, really, it’s a perfect story to follow the Tony Romo- Jessica Simpson-T.O.-Dallas Cowboys drama of the week before.

Let’s blame Jessica for Tony’s team losing and then let’s blame Tony for the Cowboys’ loss and then let’s cry about it at the press conference (T.O., I’m winking at you from behind my big sunglasses).

Now we all get to wait for the Super Bowl to be over before we can really decide which QB’s lady-friend provided the best pre-game care.

A Brady win, and Gisele looks even prettier in the eyes of the media –– more wholesome, maybe? –– But a Brady loss and you had better expect some questions.

BootGate update

In a shocking turn of events Thursday, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick declined to comment on the status of his starting quarterback Tom Brady’s right ankle! A move that appears as totally out of character for the Patriots coach, his simple declaration, “I don’t have any comment on it,” makes it look like he and his staff are guarding their collective hand (and ankles) quite closely.

Belichick gave a hint of things to come, saying that the pre-Super Bowl injury report would be released next Wednesday and he would be pleased to share information at that time.

Eerie foreshadowing or simply the party line?  Time will tell, but no Patriot offered a definitive comment in any direction, generally sticking to the same “I don’t know, it’s not me, I’m not Tom Brady” bit. Sounds like a concerted effort to stick to the plan.

Brady’s supermodel girlfriend, Gisele Bundchen, was not available for comment –– it’s widely believed that she was remaining to be attractive at an unspecified location. Brady was walking into Bundchen’s New York apartment when the widely-distributed photographs of the Boot were taken.

Das Boot!!!

THE NOW-FAMOUS TOM BRADY ANKLE BOOT (and questionable floral arrangement):

OK, we have two ways and two ways only to think about this little situation, which our girl Cindy B. has since dubbed BootGate:

1) The Boot is all part of Belichick’s masterplan –– the closest thing to Predestination that exists in the football world –– and merely a ploy to distract his opponents and the media from what is actually going down over the nxt two weeks. Considering that Brady didn’t bother wearing the boot when he went out later that night with his girlfriend, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, this makes sense and makes one think the ankle isn’t too big of a hindrance. [MOST LIKELY]

2) Brady was put up to the Boot by Gisele. He probably lost a bet or something or … well I won’t bother going there. More likely than that, Brady could be attempting to make a new fashion statement. Considering Peyton Manning gets the funny commercials and Brady gets the pretty boy commercials –– along with the attention of supermodels –– this is an interesting idea. [LESS LIKELY]

The Boot is not really a big deal. Brady said he “tweaked it.” It is what it is. Don’t read anything more into it than that.

TREATS! The Looper’s Top Videos of 2007

It’s been a while but your faithful Looper is back! And bearing gifts for thee, two days late and many dollars short… But, for your viewing pleasure, here are my picks for some of the best sports-related online video clips of 2007.

My sleigh got bogged down somewhere around Hubbardton, Vermont, but here, at last, are some holiday treats: the top 5 videos of 2007 and some very honorable mentions.

By all means, enjoy…

HONORABLE MENTION

  • The Landlord –– Will Ferrell and possibly the funniest toddler ever team up for what might be the most viewed –– though not sports related –– video of the year.
  • March Madness –– UVM’s Marqus Blakely provides possibly the best dunk Patrick Gym has ever seen.
  • Dude, are you OK? –– Vermont Cynic editor Connor Boals runs into a tree with his mountain bike.
  • 15 laterals later… –– The Play of the Year, Trinity University pulls off possibly the crazies game winning play ever.
  • He’s only 13 –– A young Canadian with some INCREDIBLE hockey skills, makes you feel like you were a waste at age 13, right?
  • Dominik Hasek stacks the pads –– Hasek come out of the goal to block a shot and sends Marian Gaborik flying.

THE TOP 5 OF 2007

5. Mississippi Braves manager loses it… “Grenade!” … and by grenade I mean rosin bag.

4. Pete Lenes goes fishing. In a tandem video offering, one of the UVM men’s hockey team’s best forwards catches a lunker, a real nice baaaaaass. Lenes stars in the first video and provides narration/camera work for the second. After fishing where do we go? I think it’s time to go to da rink.

3. Getting for his movie, Blades of Glory, Will Ferrell sits down with Kenny Mayne during this priceless Sportscenter Sunday Conversation. Holy Tornado!

2. The controversial NFL Network may have put together the funniest commercial series in a long time. The boys in Joe’s Diner provide some insight into Peyton Manning’s forays with audibles [“I’m available for pahhhttttties. Call my agent!”] and as a bonus offering, contemplate a hypothetical beauty contest between Tom Brady and Carson Palmer [“The guy’s amazing looking.”].

1. Don’t need to say much here. He’s a man! He’s 40! He’s Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy.

No balance? No problem

I’m sorry, but I’m not at all being biased to our site when I say I LOVE this line: Newsflash: Steelers, No.1 Defense Buy the Run Against Pass-Heavy Pats!”

I love it because it is so funny. And it is so funny because it is so true –– the Steelers biting on the fake half of a Patriots play-action pass in a game where the Patriots ran the ball 9 times, one of which I think was a Tom Brady scramble. Normally you have to try to establish a running game to employ successful run fakes. Later in the game, the passing game just seemed to toy with the Steelers defense [see video below].

I even think that I can hear Pittsburgh safety Anthony Smith choking on his words while the video is rolling.

Maybe there’s some advanced psychological theorem at work here (I’d never know because I’ve never taken a psychology class) concerned with some Law of Diminishing Averages Yields Increasing Anticipation. I don’t know. But what I do know is this: the Patriots do not run the ball with any dedication –– they do not have to –– and they are incredibly successful regardless.

It’s incredible. The Patriots run their offense with an unabashed disregard for a semblance of balanced play-calling that it’s hard to comprehend how they reached their lonely strata of success.

After injuries riddled their corps of runners in the first half of the season, the one constant was Brady and his pass-catchers. Over the course of the season, though, it’s evolved into a pass first, pass second and probably pass third mentality.

They know what they’re going to do, the fans know what they’re going to do and, most importantly, opposing defenses know what they’re going to do. They are going to pass the ball whether anyone likes it or not.

The kicker? It works without fail. The Steelers defense is proof enough –– New England threw for 399 yards and ran for 22.

I’ve never seen an NFL team be so successful and so perfectly unbalanced. I know we’re in the Spread Age, but this is something different entirely. This isn’t Pat White and Steve Slaton running a spread-option attack or even Colt Brennan throwing to the entire state of Hawaii. This is a pro team that DOES NOT NEED TO RUN.

The thing is, no one has stopped them yet. There have been a few close calls, but the scheme continues to work. I’m quite sure even with a 12th man on defense, it would not make a difference against the New York Jets this week.