Why is the media so in love with Tom Brady?

The question could be just as relevantly posed in terms of The Patriots, but that’s a discussion for another day.

First of all, let me be perfectly clear: Tom Brady is one of the greatest (and perhaps THE greatest) quarterbacks to every play the professional game. He has been an amazing “ambassador” of the game, and it has been a pleasure* watching him play for these last twelve years.

That having been said, let me be clear about another point that seems to elude the media: Tom Brady is fantastic, but he is not the “second coming.”

Regardless of network or game crew in the booth, what I’ve witnessed for at least the last decade has been very, very similar to what we witnessed earlier tonight from Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. When the Patriots are winning, we get two announcers**, technically a play-by-play announcer and a color commentator who are really little more than fans, pointing out how vastly superior Tom Brady and the Patriots are to whomever they are playing. The two announcers often cut each other off, as they duel to one-up each other in their pronouncements of love and devotion to the almighty. Often, as was the case last night, one can only hope that they are not masturbating in their Patriots underwear while in the booth calling the game. Of course, when the Patriots are not winning, the announcer/fans pronounce that the Patriots will soon be back on top, and their worldview will soon once again be correct. Only when it is clear that the Patriots will lose the game, do the announcer/fans temporarily shed their fan-dom and call the game as intended: as professional sports journalists providing objective play-by-play and color commentary.

Now, that may be understandable — hell, it may even be excusable — when the team in question is in the midst of, or only a year or two removed from, winning 3 Super Bowls in 4 years. However…

Let’s examine the history. The last Super Bowl that Tom Brady and the Patriots won was Super Bowl XXXIX played February 6, 2005 at the conclusion of the 2004 season. Since then Tom Brady and the Patriots have:

  • 2005: 4th seed in AFC; defeated in the Divisional Playoffs by the Broncos (led by quarterback Jake Plummer)
  • 2006: 4th seed in AFC; defeated in AFC Championship game by the Colts (Peyton Manning).
  • 2007: 1st seed in AFC; defeated in Super Bowl XLII by the Giants (Eli Manning).
  • 2008: At 11-5, they failed to make the NFL Playoffs, but this is irrelevant inasmuch as Brady suffered a season-ending injury in week 1.
  • 2009: 3rd seed in AFC; defeated in Wildcard Playoffs by the Ravens (Joe Flacco).
  • 2010: 1st seed in AFC; defeated in the Divisional Playoffs by the Jets (Mark Sanchez).
  • 2011: 1st seed in AFC; defeated in Super Bowl XLVI by the Giants (Eli Manning).
  • 2012: 2nd seed in AFC; defeated in AFC Championship game by the Ravens (Joe Flacco).

Now, to be certain, there’s scarcely a team in the NFL who wouldn’t love to have had the seasons the Patriots had from 2005-2012, or even the Post-seasons they’ve had, for that matter. But I suggest that were it any other quarterback — a Manning, Roethlisberger, Rodgers or Brees, for example — the media would have been crying “can’t win the big one(s) any more” for a few years now, and would have absolutely written the poor fellow off after losing last year’s Super Bowl and dropping this year’s Divisonal Playoff.

Yet, here we are, eight years removed from the last Super Bowl win by Tom Brady and the Patriots, and the media still gush and guffaw. Eight. Years. Eight years is a career for many players; there are Hall of Famers who only played eight years — eight years is a lifetime.

So, if the media won’t make the obvious observation, I will: Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but clearly, he’s not the quarterback he was 10 years ago, not when it comes to “winning the big one(s).”

yeah, in a minute…
* a pleasure, that is, except for: (1) when he and the Patriots were kicking the living shit out of my Titans, as they’ve done each and every one of the five meetings since our last win a decade ago on MNF, December 16, 2002 (the year during their extraordinary Super Bowl run when they didn’t even make the Playoffs), and (2) having to listen to the media ejaculate all over him even in those rare situations when he has an off day.
** to call them “sports journalists” would imply some degree of objectivity, and that is patently false…
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