It can be easy to forget about the first half of the New England Patriots dynasty, considering it spawned an entirely different dynasty in its later years.
But for those youngsters who might not have been quite so locked in from 2001-2005, rest assured that First Generation Tom Brady led an in-your-face competent offense while a powerful defense ate up the opposition.
It happened week in and week out. The Pats were a low-variance machine, winning the same damn game over and over again powered by punishing hits from players like Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel.
A certain generation of Patriots fan might actually prefer those hard-hitters to Brady when pressed for their favorite player of all time. You know those crusty folks who linger outside your high school gymnasium bumming Marlboros.
Safe to say Brady’s son Jack is not a member of that generation, but that simple fact didn’t stop Vrabel, now the Titans’ head coach, from taking a playful shot at the veteran QB (who, oh by the way, is still doing it on the field at the NFL level).
Vrabel used a training camp picture to play favorites with the Brady family, and we tip our cap to the effort.
Mike Vrabel thinks Tom Brady’s son likes him best. Ex-Patriots claws coming out!
Here’s a history lesson for Jack: your father did plenty to orchestrate an efficient offense those first few years, but he might not have one or two of his seven rings if not for the Vrabel-led intimidation factor.
At times, Vrabel was even his father’s most intimidating receiver — only partially kidding! Whenever it was necessary in big games, you knew they’d roll the big man out and utilize him as a tight end by the end zone. Before there was “Julian Edelman: Gadget QB,” there was “Mike Vrabel: Rumbling Touchdown Beast”.
Oh, right, defense. Right. On that side of the ball, he racked up eight years of consistent toughness, though he only made a single Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro (2007). All this after a few years kicking around the back end of the Steelers depth chart. Belichick stole another one, didn’t he?
Brady’s always had respect for defensive maulers, and it wouldn’t shock us if his son has the same proclivities. From Vrabel to James Harrison, TB12 always went out of his way to talk up the boys on the other side of the ball.
It must be a dream come true for both Jack and Tom Brady that he’s reaching an age where he’s well aware of the NFL landscape and its history, all while his dad is still an active player.
Maybe, by the end of training camp, he’ll get some quality time with his real favorite Patriot: Bruschi.