The New England Patriots have participated in five Super Bowls and won three. Their two losses were to Bill's pal, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback, Eli Manning, who happens to be Tom Brady’s bud Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning's little brother. Enough already!
If familiarity breeds contempt, then Bill and Tom's competitive juices must be boiling over. To be bested by the same friend or your friend's little brother must stick in their collective craw. It can also be applied to the team in terms of the ennui or boredom that seemed to surround the offensive personnel of the New England Patriots.
Simply put, Brady didn't seem as excited about his offensive weapons as he has in earlier years.
Rising star Rob Gronkowski gives him the best tight end in the NFL and the best since this side of Ben Coates in a Patriot uniform. Former signal-caller Drew Bledsoe's binky was the original "Big Ben." Bledsoe had trouble with reading his progressions and only had eyes for Coates, who was a huge target, had sure hands and often times saved ‘Mr. Panic’.
Brady is blessed with a very high football mind and thrives when he has a myriad of options at his disposal. Given those options, he turns into one of the "Top Chefs" at his position. Given mediocrity and he becomes complacent and makes poor decisions.
Like Bledsoe, he sought out his safety net who is slot receiver Wes Welker; his 2012 Super Bowl incompletion to Welker showed how one-dimensional he had gotten.
When the Patriots won their first three Super Bowls, the NFL was less athletic and relied more on individual stars. New England became the place to be if you wanted to win a ring do it the Patriot Way, which is to work hard, earn your roster spot on the practice field and play like a team when the lights come on.
The NFL, like any professional sport, is a copycat league, and other teams used more athletic players to counteract Brady and the Pats.
Bill became more conservative, taking little to no chance on rookies on the offensive side of the ball. He passed on Dez Bryant in the 2010 draft and selected Taylor Price in the third round. We all know that Dez has character issues, but Taylor barely made a blip on the practice field much less any given Sunday.
Bill's Republican approach to mining the middle-class for top-notch results gave fans Super Bowl dreams with bargain basement results.
While other teams drafted running backs that added "burst-ability" to their offensive attack, the Patriots opted for backs that defenses rarely honored. They believed more in Brady's arm then the product they surrounded him with.
New England's 2012 training camp cuts show a drastic change in philosophy because of the surprise emergence of their tight end tandem. Robert Kraft ensured his dynamic duo of Gronkowski (six years, $53 million) and Aaron Hernandez (five years, $40 million) are locked up for a long time. Those two represent arguably the best at their position, and franchising Welker gave them the financial capabilities to make those signings happen.
August 31st, 2012, the NFL deadline for final roster cuts saw the roster rejuvenation continue with the surprise cuts of Deion Branch, and old friend Dan Koppen to name a few. They represented the erasure of the "old faithful" approach to football of New England and the exhilaration and promise of youth.
The emergence of youngster running backs Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and undrafted rookie Brandon Bolden made the loss of Ben Jarvus-Green palatable. The addition of Brandon Lloyd and the return of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is of great importance for Brady, who doesn’t have to worry about being more knowledgeable about the offense then his coordinator.
Sure and steady Bryan Hoyer was also replaced with the cannon arm of Ryan Mallett as second-string quarterback.
Brady and Bill now have a new synergy to be excited about with more speed on the offensive side of the ball. This became necessary because defenses are equally as quick and he needed his receivers to create separation at a faster rate.
The defense, which simply just hung on for the ride wherever the offense took them last year, has become part of the youth brigade. The passion and drive of the 2012 Draft "born to be wild" gang of Dont'a Hightower and Chandler Jones has given Jerod Mayo a new lease on his football life.
New England has finally caught up with the rest of the NFL in terms of placing a fair amount of athleticism on the field. The Patriot Way is alive and well; like Ford’s redesign of Jaguar's XJ40, the changes are subtle. Same classic look but with a more visually appealing model that will still provide you with the same high-grade performance that you are used to.
ESPN's Skip Bayless has chosen Tom Terrific’s team to be 2013 Super Bowl champs but it is a long road to getting all the moving parts to work and making Bayless' prediction a reality.
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