New England Patriots: Why Tom Brady May Not Be as Dominant as He Used to
Since Tom Brady took over as starting quarterback for the New England Patriots, he has been a dominant force in the NFL on and off the field. Now a seasoned veteran, Brady continues to have regular season success, having two of his best seasons happen in the past three years.
But, could it be that Tom Brady as we know him no longer exists? Will he be able to cope with another Super Bowl loss? It is more than likely that Brady will still continue to be good in this league, perhaps one of the best. But there is a slight chance that Tom Brady "the immortal," will be gone forever.
Three or four years ago, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were the immortals in this league. But now, there is a chance that they are being phased out by a new batch of talent in guys like Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton.
It seems improbable, but what can possibly cause a superstar quarterback, fresh off a Super Bowl appearance, to fall from the ranks of the NFL's immortals? The short answer to that is a loss of dominance. Dominance covers all areas of the game on and off the field. An immortal is someone you can't stop hearing about on the field and someone you can't get rid of in the media.
As of right now, Brady still has it. I personally would consider him an immortal and a continued dominant force in this league. But in 2012, what could possibly cause Tom Brady to fall from these ranks?
Questionable Health of Key Players Around Him
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If anything is going to hinder Tom Brady's ability to be Tom Brady it's going to be a shaky supporting cast. As good as Tom Brady is, he hasn't been doing it on his own for all these years. He has had the advantage of working with one of the best offensive lines in football seemingly every year.
There is eventually going to come the time when these aging lineman break down and are not able to give Brady the same level of protection he has had throughout his career. Logan Mankins is a key player on this offensive line but the question can be raised, will he be able to return from ACL surgery? There is also some concern over the health of Rob Gronkowski's ankle.
The fact of the matter is that Mankins and Gronk are probably going to return to 100%. If Gronk's performance at 'Zolioke,' (a karaoke party that punter, Zoltan Mesko ran as a fundraiser for a local children's hospital) is any indication of how his ankle is doing, it would seem he is going to be just fine.
Not the Lead Story
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Dominance has many different forms, professional football is covered 365 days a year by the media. Not to say this has anything to do with Brady's play as a quarterback, but media dominance is part of the celebrity that comes with being an NFL quarterback, especially one as good as Brady.
Tom Brady used to be the biggest story in football. Now it seems he isn't even the biggest story in his division or on his team. Tebow-mania has brought itself to the AFC East and that has easily become the biggest story in the division. But Tim Tebow is proof that media dominance does not make you any better as a player.
Unfortunately for Bill Belichick, the Patriots also have their media hogs in this offseason.
Gronkowski, for one, seemingly hasn't found a beach resort or a nightclub he didn't like to pose for a picture at, but that stuff is all in good fun and to be quite honest, extremely entertaining. But now that he's the $54 million man, he's gotten the club to upset disgruntled wide receiver Wes Welker.
Welker, a big part of this Patriot offense, was slapped with the franchise tag and has made it publicly known how upset he is with his contract. This is the type of thing Bill Belichick hates for his players to do. Media silence is Belichick's preferred way of going about things, especially during the offseason.
Welker being in the media for bad reasons is taking away time for Brady to be in the media for good reasons. In the past, a wide receiver contract dispute in Pats camp would play second fiddle in the media to anything Tom Brady did. But this loss of media dominance for a player like Brady, who is full of positives, is shining a bad light on his team.
Tom's Getting Old
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This is something that is unavoidable in the NFL. Every player has his expiration date. Brady has been so good throughout his career that it may be impossible to figure out when exactly this will be. It seems unlikely, but this day could possibly be approaching faster than anyone can anticipate.
If it is true, that Brady's age is breaking him down then, for the first time since 2008, when Brady went down with a torn ACL in the first week of the season, the Patriots actually have to start worrying about a backup plan. However, Brady's recent success indicates that his expiration date is not for a very long time.
This is more than likely all just wild speculation, but there is one area of dominance that Brady has lost and will never get back. He has no reason to surprise anyone in this league. There is no mystery to Tom Brady anymore. This actually speaks to a loss of dominance as well as a fact that shows he's still the best. If Brady beats you, it's because he is better than you. Fair and square, no surprises.
Can He and Josh McDaniels Coexist
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Coexistence has already shown it is possibly between Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady. When McDaniels was still working in the system, Brady had his best year in 2007. But in coming back to the Patriots, McDaniels has to prove that he is not working with a broken system, he just did not have the proper personnel in Denver and St. Louis.
The Patriots, not only Tom Brady's offense, are one of the best, if not the best coached teams in the NFL. When McDaniels comes in and throws a wrench in the system that made the Super Bowl last season, it could actually hurt the team.
Improper coaching is another thing that could prevent Brady from being Brady. If everything goes back to the way it was in 2007, than surely this is a non issue. But McDaniels' terrible seasons in Denver and St. Louis have shown that there is a chance this system might not work.
History shows that coaches do not have much success after they leave the Patriots. Hopefully, for Tom Brady, being in New England is exactly what McDaniels' system needs to thrive.
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Super Loser means just that, for the second time in four years, Tom Brady has lost the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. Now Brady has to play 2012 as the loser of the past seasons Super Bowl. Nobody knows how this will play out for Brady because he has never had to do this before. In the 2008 season where he had to follow up his first Super Bowl loss, Brady did not make it past the first week of the season because of the torn ACL.
Once again, despite being one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, Brady has something to prove in this league. This is something that every player must do in a season following a Super Bowl loss.
Now, it is more than likely that Brady will have a fantastic year in New England. But being unable to cope with another Super Bowl loss is something that will kill Brady's dominance in this league.
Luckily for Patriot fans, Tom Brady is too good, to let that type of adversity hold him down in 2012.