This was the weekend of “the Brady rule.” After last week’s roughing-the-passer penalties on the Baltimore Ravens and their subsequent whining about those calls, the subject was a talked about on all the network programming this weekend. Here’s a sampling of some of the commentary:
Shannon Sharpe (CBS): Every single play he (Tom Brady) drops back to pass, he has five offensive lineman, sometimes a back or sometimes even a tight end, and he has the best blocking line period. That is the National Football League that is protecting him. When you look at this, and I have gone back over history, I was a history major in college, when you have a rule like this when one person or a group of people feel favoritism is being shown it breeds resentment. And what it does, the defensive players says, ‘if I get one shot, one legal shot, I am going all out and I am trying to make sure he does not get up.’
Howie Long (FOX): The NFL will do anything to protect the quarterback. They are the faces of the NFL. I’m not saying referees consciously go into a game planning on protecting one quarterback more than another based on the name on the back of the jersey. But it’s the nickname of the penalty – ‘The Brady Rule’. I agree that when New England plays Indy, fans want to see Manning vs. Brady and not Hoyer vs. Sorgi but they also want to see Joe Flacco vs. Matt Ryan when the Ravens play the Falcons. All I’m asking is to be consistent, even when you are getting that dreaded Brady stare.
Marshall Faulk (NFLN): “If you are playing a guy and you know he has his own rule, stay away from his legs.”
In the morning, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that the infamous NFL Competition Committee was going look into penalizing QB’s “such as Tom Brady” who plead to the officials for a flag after a hit. This would be one of the most ridiculous things the league could do. Will they do the same thing for wide receivers to petition the officials for pass interference on every single play?
Since the Baltimore Ravens were so outspoken about the calls made against them in their loss against the Patriots, and the media just ate it up, it will be interesting to see how much they whine this week about the penalties called on them during the winning drive by the Bengals against them on Sunday.
On ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson previewed the day’s NFL action. Highlights:
Tom Brady vs. Broncos defense: How does it play out?
Jackson: “The advantage goes to New England if they stay balanced. The Denver Broncos, either by game plan or by execution, have to make the Pats one-dimensional so they get a chance to rush the passer. If they can do that, I think that you have some guys upfront – Elvis Dumervil, vs. Matt Light, who gets the chance to take advantage of that matchup, but that’s only if you can make them on-dimensional. ”
Carter: “You have to listen to Ed’s (Werder – in Denver) report about Josh’s (McDaniels) knowledge of Tom Brady. Tom Brady has a lot of success in the National Football League, but his greatest success came in the 2007 season when Josh was calling all the plays. I believe that insight will have an impact on the game, moreso than (Bill) Belichick and his experience over Josh.”
Johnson: “Tom Brady will have an excellent game … It is because of Wes Welker … They have a shutdown corner in Champ Bailey, just like the (New York) Jets did a couple weeks with Darrelle Revis taking (Randy) Moss out, but Wes Welker wasn’t there. Now Wes Welker is there. Tom Brady can use him as security blanket, move the chains, get those five, six extra yards, I think Tom Brady has a good game.”
Ditka: “I’ll go back to one thing I always say – coaches coach, players play. You can have the greatest game plan in the world, they’re going to know what they want to do, both teams. The key has to be pass protection. If they can pass-protect Tom Brady, I think they are going to win the football.”
Jackson: “You know what gets overlooked just a little bit here – Wes Welker – Brandon Stokely, I am not saying he’s Wes Welker, but you’ve got that same kind of guy. Randy Moss – Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal – Joey Galloway … the quarterback, so much better. But when you look at the matchup overall, at the skills set, I think the Broncos are in a lot better shape than people give them credit for.”
Bill Belichick vs. Josh McDaniels: How will familiarity affect matchup?
Ditka – on facing his mentor Tom Landry: “The first time, we lost. The second time I coached against him, we beat him 44-nothing … I had better players. That’s the year we won the Super Bowl. I had a better football team than he did … I learned everything from coach Landry.”
Jackson: “If people want to question who has the advantage in coaching – it is coach (Bill) Belichick. This is a Hall-of-Fame coach with multiple championships both as a coordinator and as head coach. Let’s say hypothetically, I’m a Broncos fan … You search, where can Josh (McDaniels) find an edge? Well, I’ve been in your locker room, I’ve coached your players … There’s a slight edge in that area.”
Berman: “Here’s one thing that McDaniels has – there are six former Patriots on the Broncos, five who played for the Patriots last year including, one of the best long snappers Lonnie Paxton … Here’s what nobody has said, Belichick also knows how McDaniels might call a game. You remember how hard it was for Tom Coughlin to beat his mentor Bill Parcells. I think it is very tough.”
Looks like in general,he “experts” were a little off on this one…
Other Game Observations:
I thought CBS did a great job of immediately focusing on the Broncos’ special team coach after his unit commited another penalty to give the Patriots yet another chance, and then showing McDaniels giving him the death stare. Got a good laugh out of that one. (Sadly, it was the last laugh of the day for me.)
When will Jin Nantz learn to pronounce Vince Wilfork’s name correctly? It’s not “Wilfert,” Jim.
I think I’ve had enough of the throwbacks. Bring back Flying Elvis. I think wearing these throwbacks has caused the team to play more like the original teams that wore those uniforms. Alas, we get the throwbacks again this week in the Boston Patriots/Houston Oilers matchup at Gillette.
What else did you see/hear?