Using Tom Brady and LeBron James as case studies, I wrote about the horrible epidemic facing all athletes in 2013 for Metro Boston today.
From my column:
The athletes can’t win. Say anything beyond the usual platitudes and you’re bound to be picked apart. Say nothing and you “lack charisma.” If the treatment of James and Brady, two of the greatest players of all time in their respective sports, has proved anything, it’s that greatness is simply a footnote, and never has the term, “Take it out on the field,” had so little meaning.
The media has been counting down the days to the end of the Patriots’ reign ever since Tom Jackson, truly a pioneer in this regard, said, “They hate their coach” in 2002. Over a decade and four Super Bowl appearances later, everyone is still waiting. Now, there has been plenty of hilarious reaction to the Tom Brady contract extension. Gregggggg Doyel led the way saying if Brady were truly unselfish, he’d play at the veteran’s minimum. The local media took the ball and ran with it, eventually causing a firestorm of media on media crime that wreaked of ineptitude, self-importance, and (best of all) high comedy. Just a stellar week from my point of view. Bravo.
Jeffri Chadiha is a Senior Writer at ESPN.com. Like Greggggg, Jeffri’s name is spelled differently than the classic way. And because of this oozing synergy, he wanted to get in on the action. Take it away, Jeffri.
When the good times end in the very near future, New England Patriots fans will remember this week as a turning point.
Ominous. Tell me more.
They also will see that AFC Championship Game loss to Baltimore as additional evidence of an overrated franchise.
You know what is overrated? New Years Eve, Tim Tebow, the 2012-13 NBA Trade Deadline, Paulina Gretzky, Taylor Swift, and the HBO show “Girls.” Hold on a second, I’m confirming with the committee as I type, and yes, it appears Super Bowl appearances and winning 13 games a season is, in fact, not overrated. It’s properly rated. That’s OK, keep going.
Worst of all, they will see that their team’s real dominance ended about five years ago. Everything since that point has been misleading.
BUT I THOUGHT GOOD TIMES WERE ENDING IN THE “VERY NEAR FUTURE.” Now you’re telling me they ended five years ago???
You could see the frustration in Brady’s eyes as the Ravens whipped New England in the second half of that conference title game. This wasn’t the team he was used to leading. It didn’t even look as if it deserved to be within one game of another Super Bowl.
Hmph. But they were really a half away from THE BIG GAME. The record shows the Patriots were winning after 30 minutes of action. Were the Ravens playing possum??? Interesting theory. I mean, don’t worry about the whole “winning at halftime thing.” Those are just facts. Don’t let the details deter you! KEEP GOING!
Brady seemed to acknowledge that when he reworked his contract into a more cap-friendly deal (even though he guaranteed himself a nice windfall over the lifetime of that extension). The surefire Hall of Fame quarterback realized he had to create opportunities for Belichick to add more playmakers to the roster. New England had gone far too long relying on Brady to carry an offense filled with largely marginal talent.
Parenthetical salient point, guys! Remember, Brady isn’t playing for free. Also, the offense is full of marginally talented players. Hernandez, Gronk, and Welker are worthless. Needs more DUSTIN KELLER and Brian Hartline.
Sure, the Patriots’ offense has been dazzling when at its best. But the team’s inability to snare another Vince Lombardi Trophy has been just as noteworthy during that time.
Wait, I thought New England was only marginally talented on offense? Now they can dazzle! You’re doing that thing where you say one thing then write the opposite a few sentences later, Jeffriii. It’s awfully confusing.
It’s true. Welker had a 91 Clutch Rating in the 2010 version of Madden. He’s only going to be, like, an 89 next season. That is, if Clutch Rating actually existed in real life, of course. Though, I’m getting the sense that Chadiha doesn’t believe in statistics anyway.
It was obvious in that loss how different the offense is without Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Call me crazy, but this felt like it was worth mentioning a little before seven paragraphs into the column. That’s just me.
But let’s also be honest here — that defense isn’t one great player from being dominant. It was compromised the moment Talib left the AFC title game with a hamstring injury suffered in the first quarter.
I’ve read these two sentences 27 times. It’s hilarious: ” … defense isn’t one great player from being dominant.” OK, fine. But then he came back saying it was compromised when Talib — who is just one player, I think — left. WHAAAAAAA —
At some point, all great players can see whether they’re playing on a team that has the goods to win a championship or are merely on a respectable contender. It wasn’t until this past year that the Patriots proved they’re actually in the latter category these days. That’s a tough place to be when you’ve been used to dominating for so long. Unfortunately for New England fans, it’s hard to see anything more than that before Brady eventually calls it a career.
Smoke and mirrors, The Patriot Way. (According to Chadiha.)
As always, thanks for reading, give me a shout on Twitter: @Hadfield__