Only thing wrong with Brady is perception
In sports, an athlete is often defined by his numbers Discount 2010 Super Bowl New Orleans Saints 88 Jeremy Shockey Gold Jersey On Sale, the one he wears and the ones that sometimes wrap around his neck like dead weight. Such is now the case with Tom Brady.
Before a 59-0 rout of Tennessee last week Replica 10/11 Real Madrid #24 KHEDIRA Home Soccer Jersey On Sale, the Patriots' quarterback had not quite been himself through the first five weeks of this season, uncharacteristically inaccurate at times and a bit testy when asked too often what is "wrong'' with the Patriots' struggling passing game. That he is barely a year removed from major surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee seems to have been all but forgotten. All that is remembered are the numbers. They see number 12 and think of the numbers "50'' and "589.''
Those are the record number of touchdown passes he threw and points his team scored in 2007, his last healthy season and very likely the last time in a long time a team is going to go 16-0 in the regular season. Both were numbers never before reached by a quarterback or an NFL offense, eclipsing the play of both Peyton Manning and the 1998 Minnesota Vikings, but now they have become, for many people, Brady's measuring stick.
That is absurd on the face of it, but that's what the world has become, a place that measures a man by only his best and worst days. It would be like saying Eric Dickerson never really did much after 1984, the year he rushed for a record 2,105 yards, or asking what went wrong with Jerry Rice after 1995, the year he gained 1,848 yards receiving. But so it goes with numbers and instant analysis.
These days it seems numbers all too often define an athlete. He has good ones or bad ones that reveal his strengths or his weaknesses, and nothing else matters. All too often Cheap 10/11 Manchester City #8 WRIGHT-PHILLIPS Home Soccer Jersey For Sale, however, they are numbers without context, simply figures on a piece of paper that tell us far less than the talking heads on television and sports talk radio insist they do.
Look at the numbers, for example, and Vinny Testaverde was a better quarterback than Johnny Unitas. No disrespect to Testaverde, who had an admirable pro career, but that would be like comparing frozen orange juice concentrate to fresh-squeezed and calling the former more tasty than the latter.
Six games into the 2009 season, Brady is indeed well off the pace he set in '07. He is also ahead of the pace he set in the Super Bowl-winning years of '03 and '04 and comparable to '05 and '06, the last seasons before he went supernova on the NFL.
More importantly Cheap Men Air Max 90 Current On Sale - Discount Men Air Max 90 Current Store, he is experiencing the same kind of early drop-off the year after a serious knee injury that plagued Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer and Donovan McNabb the year they returned from knee surgery. In fact, his drop-off has been less precipitous than the early-game struggles of McNabb and Palmer. As for Manning, the Colts were 3-4 after seven games last season, and he was clearly not himself. By the end of the year Indianapolis was 12-4 and Manning was the league MVP for the third time.
Where Brady and his numbers end up is unknown to us, but if history is the measuring stick instead of a snapshot in time, it seems a fair bet to believe he will end up where he's been for most of his professional career — at or near the top when all the dust settles.
So the next time the question is asked, "What's wrong with Tom Brady?'' when he overthrows a wide-open Randy Moss or hits Wes Welker in the foot, as he has done more times this season than anyone thought possible, you know the answer. Nothing, really, except that he's saddled now with something the numbers "50'' and "589'' seem to make people forget — the guy's human, even if he sometimes made you believe otherwise.
Ron Borges is a columnist for the Boston Herald.
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