From the moment Tom Brady had his four-game suspension vacated by Judge Richard Berman, all he did was remain completely silent, avoiding questions about it when the topic was brought up in interviews and pressers. For over the past four months, his career and reputation has been questioned based on the possibility that he ordered the deflation of footballs for the 2014 AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. Instead of talking about all of this, he has decided to let his performance do the talking for him.
Tom Brady: You Come at the King, You Best Not Miss
Throughout the first three games of the season, Tom Brady has been nothing but spectacular, throwing for 1,112 yards, nine touchdowns, no interceptions and a 72.2 completion percentage, all while leading the New England Patriots to a 3-0 record and competing with the Green Bay Packers as the best team in football. Late in the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he threw his 400th career touchdown pass to Danny Amendola, joining the prestigious club only Dan Marino, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. He’s also the one to reach the milestone in the fewest pass attempts. As the Patriots go into their bye week, Brady looks like the clear MVP front runner, and it’s likely that his performance won’t dwindle anytime soon.
When one looks into Brady’s performance, one cannot ignore that this is an immense product of his extreme competitiveness as a player and his desire to always be the best the team has to offer. Being a sixth-round selection with a subpar combine outing, this man had to earn everything that was given to him, and those who still doubt him fuel him in ways almost no other player has been fueled before. Now, with everything that took place in the offseason, he is more motivated and angry than ever before. Sure, Brady was part of the team when the Spygate scandal occurred, but this is the first time Brady is the only one that has personally been attacked.
As many former teammates and analysts have said–whom all have had a personal connection to Brady and know exactly the type of man that he is–he is going to use this as more motivation, and some would say he’s using it as a form of revenge for what transpired. If these three weeks have been an indication, this is exactly what he’s doing. He has a lot of great weapons this year to make it possible as well. From pass catchers Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola to the developing new running back Dion Lewis and veteran ball-carrier LaGarrette Blount, Brady will continue to achieve high chemistry and high success. It is clear that they’re on a mission to embarrass as many opponents as they can to the best of their abilities. This is just another way of the Patriots once again responding when they face adversity from outside sources in the form of being repeatedly questioned.
The greatest competitors in any sport will always find every inch of motivation they can to use as a bearing in their performances come gametime. Michael Jordan was known to do that throughout his career. He recalled that even the smallest of insults would be on his mind the day he meets his opponents, and that was a huge part of what made him such an unbreakable individual on the court. Now, we’re seeing the same parameters play out into the performance of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, who have once again been labeled “cheaters” and “a disgrace to football” by countless NFL fans. We saw this play out against the Buffalo Bills when their fans chanted, “We Want Brady” in middle of beating a weak Indianapolis Colts team; the fan base also brought the Guinness Book of World Records officials for their matchup against the Patriots in Week 2 to see if they can break the record for loudest stadium noise. They wanted Brady, and they got him, along with his 433 passing yards and three touchdowns in a 40-32 defeat. Fans learned quickly that it is not wise to poke the bear, especially when such bear has seen his integrity continuously impugned.
As aforementioned, this is not the first time the Patriots have been questioned by the national media at large, and the way they’re responding now is reminiscent to the way they responded back then. It’s true the near-perfect 2007 team ended its season in heartbreak after losing in the Super Bowl, but the streak of success they achieved was unparalleled in NFL history, and it’s a season many historians will remember as one of the greatest of all time. It is not to say this team will finish undefeated in any way whatsoever, but the mentality and culture found around that 2007 squad are the same that’s guiding this team. It’s always been part of the Patriots to show strength while tackling hardships, and this season will be no exception to such trend.
While the Patriots defense is having problems in some keys areas, they have the best coach in the league in Bill Belichick to come up with a variety of schemes and plays that can work to their advantage, especially come playoff time. As long as the Patriots have Tom Brady performing at this high-caliber level, everything will fine for them for the remainder if the season. Reaching the Super Bowl once again won’t be an easy task since it is difficult for a team to repeat in this NFL climate. With that being said, as long as Brady and the Patriots offense are balling the way they are, they will always have a chance to win any game.