Pats vs Bucs Part 2: A Very Brady Retrospectacle
Tom Brady. The greatest quarterback of all time. As clutch as they come. Ice water in his veins. The baddesst MFer in the building. GOAT.
There is absolutely no denying the greatness of Tom Brady, or the joy he has brought to so many Patriots fans for the past two decades. In a team sport where the Xs and Os can go toe to toe with the Jimmys and Joes, Brady excelled in both situations. Brady’s 2001 campaign started earlier than expected, due to an incumbent quarterback meeting Mo Lewis early in the season.
The ’01 season was something out of a Hollywood movie. Although built mainly around its defense, there was something about young Tom. He was cool under pressure, he had the “it” factor. Weeks went by, and the team became an even more cohesive unit. Former University of Kansas head coach Charlie Weis brought Brady up in a system developed by non member of the Patriots HOF, Duane Charles Parcells. Dink and dunk was born. Brady’s favorite receiver: the open one. Although not filled with the heardahim weaponz on offense, the team was productive offensively, and more importantly, ended up on top when time was expired. Former 98.5 fill in, and current WEEI morning show shock jock played TE. Everyone rooted for the kid from Eastie. Now, they want him off their radios. A sad fall from grace. Yet I digress. After a brief scare, Walt Coleman grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat for the Patriots, and they were on to Pittsburgh. I imagine Irons Mike is triggered already thinking about Drew Bledsoe having to complete the game which sent the Steelers home, and caused numerous hotel and flight cancellations that day. Introduced as a team prior to the Super Bowl, I imagine Brady is still concussed after smashing his helmet against Drew Bledsoe in the tunnel for what seemed like 20 minutes. Hopefully that water works out on past concussions, Tom.
2002 proved to be a let down. CMGI Field came and went. A banner year, but soon forgotten. Much like a white trash employee working at Dunkin’ on #NationalCoffeeDay, the Patriots still made it through. There was speculation that it was less a Super Bowl hangover year, and more of an adjustment as to going deep into the playoffs, leaving the team less prepared for off season business.
2003-2005: Regular Season 28-4. Absolute domination. In the nostalgia bias vs. recency bias debate heard on a local podcast, many point to these teams as the gold standard. The ’03 team was anchored at LB coach by Rob Ryan, a little known fun fact. 2 more rings, and we can still see Willie asking the national media if they thought it was a dynasty. Like Q himself said, the best was yet to come.
2006 was a throwaway year in most people’s eyes. But if we look at what Coach Belichick said about 2020, we might see some comparisons here. Reset so to speak in regard to the salary cap. Reload the following year. Enter 2007. Huge offensive adds in Kelley Washington and Kyle Brady. The Patriots steamrolled their way to a 19-0 season, and I have the tshirt to prove it. Thank you, Salem Sportswear.
Much like the Star Wars series, the middle part (the non Super Bowl years) brought some excitement, some disappointment, but will be judged unfavorably when the book is written. Enter the 3rd installment of the Patriots dynasty. 3-1 in Super Bowls, including the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Brady simply elevated the majority of his offensive players to the next level. The championship level.
With all the chips and trips to the yoffs, we are left here today. Brady added a 7th Super Bowl last year. Even the biggest fans were at a crossroads. Some members of the 15 found themselves drowning in their own urine last year. Just like McDaniel may deal with in the future, you never want to be the guy after the guy. You want to be the guy after, after the guy.
Brady the player, as it were, never disappointed. Off the field, people had issues. Some justified, some not. Brady’s ties to almost-a-doctor Alex Guerrero bring up questions, but hard to put down the idea of pliability in regards to his aging. Brady with the MAGA hat got some buzz, but as soon as it did, it seemed to go missing faster than a former Patriots Post Game caller from Route 1’s very same hat at a bachelor party. Was he weepy in 2019? Probably. Human nature. The relationship, like most, with his teacher ebbed and flowed.
But it brought a lot of great football. Something we will never see again.
S. Tzu-Pei is an Intern and Lead NFL Writer for The15.