New England sports fans being New England sports fans, they have been venting their anger (completely understandable) about how the season ended. Along with that, some of the bandwagoners and fickle fans have decided to lay the blame on QB Tom Brady. Granted, his last game of the season was also his worst of the season. But the “let’s dump Brady” calls are downright ridiculous. It would be the equivalent of the Red Sox infamous trade of Babe Ruth that had long haunted the ball club. Trade a franchise, record-setting quarterback who has won you three Super Bowls while still in the prime of his career? You must be joking. Let’s face it, without Brady, this team would not have sniffed the playoffs this year. The defense wasn’t there and the offense was predictable, but Brady kept the ship afloat. Here are some fan emails into Patriots Football Weekly, which is posted on the Patriots’ official website:
“Well, it’s time to ask the question that must be asked after watching the last Pats game. Has the time come to send Brady out west, to San Francisco or Oakland? I pick those two cities because Brady is from the west coast. The Pats no longer have the defense to cover for his mistakes, and right now he’s worth two first rounders. He wont be in two seasons. I say trade him now.”
“I know you’re sweet on Tom Brady, but don’t you think it is time we faced the harsh reality that Brady has seen better days and needs to take more of a player/coach role in trying to prepare Brian Hoyer for the inevitable. I think Brian Hoyer showed great promise and maturity in the couple games that he played in. This scenario is reminiscent of the Bledsoe/Brady passing of the torch back in 2001. I know you will dismiss this as some crazy off-the-wall suggestion but you can’t deny the facts as they exist.”
“Is this the best Brady will ever be, cause if so Pats are in trouble. He was lousy this year. He threw so many interception this year and never worked 4 solid quarters. He used to fight, now that has gone out of him.”
This is just a sampling of the ridiculousness one can read on message boards and blogs. Brian Hoyer’s ready to take the reigns as starting quarterback??? Wow. Let’s take a look at those claims of how “bad” Brady was this year. Did anyone mention he was picked to go to the Pro Bowl?
As far as Brady’s career goes, his numbers this year stack up very well against his career numbers. His 4,398 yards are second best in his career (5th in the NFL this year). His 28 touchdown passes are tied for second-best in his career (tied for 6th in the NFL) and his 13 interceptions are right around his career average (tied for 17th lowest total INTs in the NFL). But he threw so many interceptions this year! Please. His QB rating of 96.2 was the second-best of his career and fell in the top 10 (9th) in the NFL, and led his team to an AFC East Division title. Did I mention he was voted to the Pro Bowl?
He accomplished all this coming off a year out of football with a severe knee injury. Ask Carson Palmer how tough it is to come back from a knee injury and be a successful QB. Add to that the fact that he played this year with shoulder, rib, and finger injuries, all of which forced him to back out of the Pro Bowl. I’d say that he had a pretty good year at quarterback.
That’s not to say that he didn’t have his issues this year. He made some poor decisions with the football, particularly in that playoff game against the Ravens, but he didn’t have much help either. He didn’t start the year off well and missed a lot of open opportunities, but he was rusty. I would imagine that with a full year under his belt since the injury and (hopefully) an improved team, next season will be better than this one. But he, and the team (especially the playcallers, whomever they may be), have a long way to go.
Let’s stop the “trade Brady” chants now. If the Pats were to trade Brady, they could forget about being relevant for the next decade. Fans need to take a deep breath and remember all that they have in a once-a-generation quarterback like Tom Brady.