Whelan & Dealin’

Whelan & Dealin

Whelan & Dealin’

Ben Whelan

Sit down folks cause this one’s a shocker: Tom Brady may be slightly overrated. I know, I know, he won three super bowls and was the quarterback on a team that had a longer winning streak than any team in history. I get it. But let me tell you, I am sick to death of people quoting of Brady’s wins as if they’re his statistics, because frankly they’re not. Tom Brady plays on a team in a team game, the ultimate team game some would say, and regardless of the fact that his is the most important position he did not do it on his own.

For some reason at some point the sports media and sports fans started attributing wins to the quarterback position alone. Richard Seymour has three rings, but many people will tell you that he’s just as good as Julius Peppers who has zero. Troy Brown has three rings, but should he have a more significant place in history than Randy Moss, a surefire first ballot hall-of-famer who has zero rings? Of course not, no rational person would tell you that Troy Brown is a better receiver than Randy Moss, now or ever. So why do we give quarterbacks the privilege of being rated by the rings on their fingers instead of their actions on the field? Defenses certainly do not get that luxury and are considered as units instead of collections of individuals and very rarely do single players get credit for the play of the entire unit.

Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly believe that Tom Brady is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL today. He’s pretty physically talented and his toughness and leadership abilities are unquestionably good. However, I’m not quite ready to call him far and away the best as many members of the national media do until he can bring a team to s super bowl on his own. Tom Brady has yet to prove that he is more than the product of a great system, amazing head coach and star-making offensive coordinator. Let’s look at the facts: Tom Brady was a 6th round pick. There were plenty of teams that had an opportunity to draft him in the first five rounds but did not because they didn’t believe he had what it took to be a franchise quarterback in the NFL. All of the teams that passed on him had good reason to do so as he was (and is) a moderate physical talent, who although very intelligent, had never been given the full time starting role at the university of Michigan. As much as we give Bill Belicheck and Scott Pioli credit for being player personnel geniuses, it just stands to reason that they are not exponentially smarter than every other GM in the game. They knew what they were getting when they drafted him and they knew that they didn’t need him to have the legs of a Steve Young or the cannon arm of a Peyton Manning or a Brett Favre. They drafted Tom Brady s a block of marble that Belicheck and offensive genius Charlie Weiss could chisel into the quarterback that they wanted to run their system. And chisel him they did, putting him into a system in which his lack of arm strength would not hurt him; a short passing game that relied more on the young quarterback’s decision-making skills than on his physical talents. Charlie Weiss has done the same thing with Brady Quinn at Notre Dame, turning him from an also-ran college player into a Heisman front-runner. It’s clear that Weiss’ ability to coach the position is unparalleled and that much of the reason Brady is the quarterback he is today is because of Weiss’ influence. Combined with a dominating defense and a fantastic kicker, Brady needed to do little more than not lose the games.

This season however, Weiss is gone and Brady’s shortcomings are laid bare. The defense, while good, is not the exceptional and dominating force it once was and is no longer capable of carrying the team on it’s own. The sure handed Branch and Givens are gone and Troy Brown is just too old to be the safety blanket that Brady needed when he got in trouble. Without the system to support him, Tom Brady has been reduced in recent weeks to the player that he really is: an above average NFL passer with exceptional intelligence who plays it safe and doesn’t make a boatload of mistakes. Hopefully the coaching staff will be able to find a way to disguise his weaknesses in the weeks to come, because otherwise we will all be witness to Brady’s further transformation from Tom Terrific to Average Joe.