It honestly seems like this happens every year. And I think it gets more aggravating every season. Here is the formula.
The Patriots, or Tom Brady, get off to a mediocre or bad start. The media announce the end of the Patriots run. They say Brady is done. You can no longer win a Super Bowl with him as the quarterback. The wide receivers are not good enough. The offense line is not good enough. They act as if it is impossible to fix some of these problems. Then what always seems to happen?
The Patriots and Brady figure it out for the playoffs. Whether Brady has a fantastic season (like 2017) or a good one (like 2018), the Patriots at least get to the American Football Conference Championship Game. They have been to that match up every year since the 2011 season. The last time New England lost earlier in the playoffs, I was in 7th grade.
But that does not stop the incredible, insightful analysis from the media. One of the lead court gestures on this topic is Rob Parker. He said back in 2012 (!!!!!!!) that Tom Brady would never even get to another Super Bowl, let alone win one. Since then, he’s been to four and won three. Yikes, not even Max Kellerman was that far off.
He is at it again. “Yes he put up all those 330 yards, whatever you want to give him,” Parker said on “Undisputed”. “Just forget all that, they don’t count.” (Sounds reasonable) Parker said the Patriots will not even make it to the AFC Championship Game. Has anybody in the history of mankind continued to be this wrong over and over again?
Let us ignore all the other factors that have contributed to some of Brady’s struggles early on. Which honestly, is being over blown anyway. Yes there are obviously some areas he has to be better in. (After throwing two interceptions in the red zone in back to back weeks, he had a pick and fumble lost for a TD on Thursday.)
However, he did throw for 334 yards and completed 31 balls out of 41 throws in the 35-14 win over the Giants. Not to mention, all the injuries forced the Patriots into just one offensive personnel grouping in the second half. Brady said he cannot remember a time in his career that has ever happened. (It is almost like humans were not made to play two NFL games in five days, but that is a take for another day.)
So go ahead NFL media. Keep declaring the Patriots done. Keep hoping and praying that this is the year Brady and company finally flame out and miss the AFC Title Game. But you know what’s funny? If they lose at any point in the playoffs, that would not signal the end either.
Brady and Belichick have earned the right to go out on their terms. Until Brady gets hurt, retires, or actually shows real struggles for an extended time, such as Peyton Manning in 2015, the Patriots are contenders. A frustrating, hard fought loss to the Chiefs or Saints in the playoffs does not constitute the end of this run.
These people will eventually be right. And what a vomit inducing victory lap that will entail. “I told you I was right about Tom Brady and his drop off in production,” brags Rob Parker to Skip Bayless in 2035 when Brady retires.
Until then, some early season struggles are just that. Wait to see what this team has in store for the NFL once the calendar flips to January. I am sure Brady and Belichick will be ready.
Photo Courtesy of Boston Herald
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones