To begin with, what the hell has happened to “Parking Space Tom?” For those who don’t know/recall, early in his career, Tom Brady was the first player to every single OTA/workout/film session and the last to leave. Bill Belichick rewarded his loyalty with the best parking spot (the one right next to the coach) and Brady won the respect of his teammates, the media and most importantly his bosses. All of that changed over the years, culminating in the above nonsense. I know the NFL is locked up like Rae Carruth, but this is getting absurd. Every other day, we get some paparazzi snapping Brady doing something stupid. First there was the Metrosexual Music Festival, now we have him looking like this? There have been countless others, but you get the point. A disturbing trend is developing here and I’m really nervous about it. Forget the fact his team has not won a playoff game since beating the Bolts in the 2007 AFC Championship, disregard the 2010 MVP and dismiss his family situation, as they are not relevant to the complete “wussification” of TB12. Well, maybe the latter point has something to do with that, as Brady’s life changed the day Giselle Bundchen showed up at Gillette Stadium in 2006 and met her future boy toy. So, in that regard, I wanted to take a chance to compare Brady’s career track to that of Phillip Rivers’ since the Bolts almost beat the Pats to get to the Super Bowl with their QB on one leg. To wit:
So you’d probably give Brady a mulligan for 2008, as he lasted 1 1/2 quarters for the year, watched Matt Cassell run the Pats offense (under Josh McDaniels) and started rehabbing later than expected. His 2009 (10-6 with 28 TDs-13 Ints) was choppy and, as a Pats fan, I would give him benefit of the doubt, coming off surgery, but Bolts fans don’t want hear it. Especially, when their guy (with a shattered knee) had Brady in a 2-point game (@ home) for most of the fourth quarter and a trip to the Super Bowl on the line; not to mention a perfect season in 2007. This past regular season was more of what we expect from Brady (14-2 MVP, 36-4), but the ending was deja-vu all over again.
As for Rivers, his 2008, with similar physical concerns as Brady coming in to the season, was, well…similar. The Bolts went 8-8 and PR went 34-11, but Rivers won a playoff game that year (beating the Colts) and, again, had another SB winning QB (Roethlisberger) in a tough spot on the road. In 2009, Rivers (13-3, 28-9) had his bad playoff loss to Rex Ryan, in a game I was a million per cent sure there was no way the Chargers were losing. Not after living through the horror of Nate Kaeding in 2004. There was no freaking way the Jets were going to do it again. Moving on..the 2010 regular season was a successful one offensively for Rivers (30-13), but they finished 9-7 and had to win seven of their last nine just to get there. As you know, the Bolts missed the playoffs with a winning record, marking the fourth time in Norv Turner’s coaching career (of 13 years) that he has accomplished that feat.
So, in all, Brady has been exactly equal to Rivers since Tom became Mr. Bundchen. The pundits give Brady and Peyton Manning the automatic mantle as to the best players in the game, but is it really the case? Clearly, you prefer to have either one of those guys with one “life-dependent” game, but isn’t Rivers the guy who has 10 (to Brady’s eight) fourth quarter comebacks in the last three seasons? (Manning has 16 BTW) The larger point here, however, is that Brady looks more like Enrique Iglesias, than he does Mr. Parking Space @ this point. There is still time to rectify this, though. After all, Brady did say he wanted to play until he’s 40, which means he’ll have six more cracks @ it. Rivers, on the other hand, will have a lot more than that, as he’s barely 30. So, unless he goes Tiger Woods on us, Brady seems content with his life, his legacy and, oh yeah, his parking spot. My fear is that Rivers, and other sharks like him, are circling the blood in the water.