I've been hearing a lot of talk from other fan bases regarding Tom Brady's return in 2009. For the most part, they all repeat the same mantra: "Tom Brady will never be the same!"
I've got news for those of you who say this.
It's wishful thinking, and I'm calling you on it.
When you look at his injury last season and consider what parts of his game make him a great Quarterback, there's really no reason to believe Tom Brady can't regain his form. Let's take a look at what makes Tom Brady great:
Football IQ: First, and foremost, Tom Brady is a student of the game. He puts in the extra time studying his opponent so that on game day he's ready to pick apart a defense's weaknesses. He is constantly working towards improving his game.
Leadership: The first time Tom takes the field in 2009, it's going to lift the spirits of the entire team. He will elevate the performance of his teammates with his mere presence in the huddle. His composure and confidence will be a welcome addition to a team that faced much uncertainty in 2008.
Decision Making: No one progresses through their reads quicker than Tom Brady. He almost always finds an open man, and when no one is there he gets rid of the ball instead of throwing costly interceptions.
Throwing Accuracy: It would be hard for any stretch of the imagination to believe that a past knee injury would affect Brady's hand-eye coordination. He'll still be able to thread the needle, hit receivers in stride, and put the ball where only his guys can get it.
Pocket Presence: Tom Brady is not known as a scrambler or a running Quarterback. What he is known for is avoiding pressure in the pocket by either stepping up or sliding around defenders. I don't see how he'll be prevented from doing this after completing his rehab and recovery.
Take a good look at those attributes and tell me, even in the off chance Brady has some lingering stiffness in his knee, how he will no longer be the elite Quarterback that he's been in the past. I'm willing to bet you can't.
There will be some foolish fans out there that will see Tom Brady fail to reach the 50 Touchdown milestone and claim that he's regressed, forgetting the fact that seasons like that are the exception, not the rule.
There will be some fans that point towards Carson Palmer's injury, not wanting the face the fact that he did quite well, at least physically, when he returned the following season. They'll also forget to mention the fact that Brady has had more recovery time, and he didn't suffer the cartilage damage that Palmer did.
There will be those that say Brady will be distracted by his super-hot wife this season, as if having a super-hot wife is a bad thing.
These voices will die off once the season begins and Brady gets to work doing what he does best. He probably won't have an epic season like he did in 2007 but then again, it's not really fair to use that as a bench mark from now on.
Remember, Peyton Manning is still considered the best Quarterback in the league by many fans and experts, despite the fact that he hasn't come close to the personal success he enjoyed in his 49 touchdown season.
Brady will be back folks. I know it's a hard pill to swallow, but the sooner you accept it, the easier it will be when he dissects your team's defense once again. No amount of hate or wishful thinking will change that.