Most of you do not know this, but I run my own Colts Blog on Facebook. It has 264 Colts fans from all over the country, and they all have one thing in common: They hate Tom Brady.
Not only do they hate Tom, but they say ridiculous things about him, his record, and what the Patriots have accomplished over the past decade.
To see if this was just an isolated phenomenon, I decided to look at some other Colts sites on the web, as well as comments posted on NFL.com. Lo and behold, what did I find? The exact same anti-Brady rhetoric on every site.
So, here I am, a die-hard Colts fan, put in the position of defending our rivals, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
The reason I am writing this piece is because I am a football fan first, and a fan of my team second.
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are the two best quarterbacks playing the game today: period.
Their play defines the demarcation line between themselves and the rest of the quarterbacks in the league. One could spend hours debating who is 1a and who is 1b, but you would be hard-pressed to name another quarterback better than the two of them.
Sure, you could say such and such a quarterback is statistically having a better year so far, but no one else playing right now has put together a body of work like these two have over the past decade.
So let’s take a look at what Tom Brady, a future Hall of Famer, has accomplished:
Unlike Peyton Manning, Tom was almost an afterthought in the draft. He was a sixth-round pick by the Patriots, who almost took Tim Rattay instead.
Even though he moved up from fourth to second on the depth chart near the end of his rookie year, he might have floated off into the annals of NFL history had it not been for an injury to Drew Bledsoe at the beginning of the 2001 season.
Rather than go through a long dissertation on the greatness of Brady, here are some of the most important achievements of his career.
1) Brady has played in four Super Bowls, winning three of them.
2) Of the four, two of the Super Bowls were won by Brady, on drives with barely over a minute reaming.
3) Most completions in one Super Bowl
4) Two-time Super Bowl MVP
5) Four-time Pro Bowl Selection. He was actually chosen to a fifth Pro Bowl, but did not go.
6) Holds the record for most playoff wins by any quarterback.
7) Holds the record for most touchdown passes thrown in a single regular season.
8) Highest winning percentage of any quarterback, ever, during his first 100 starts.
9) The longest streak of games with three or more touchdown passes.
10) Brady is the first quarterback in NFL history to reach 200 career touchdowns with under 100 career interceptions.
How can anyone knock this guy? There are those that say, “Oh, he’s just a system quarterback,” or, “The Patriots cheated and that’s why they won all those games.”
Let’s address both these issues.
First, as between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, Peyton is more of a system quarterback than Brady. He has only had one offensive coordinator throughout his entire career. There is no question that Tom Moore helped Manning become the great he is today. Unfortunately, Tom doesn’t get enough credit for it.
Brady, on the other hand, is on his third offensive coordinator. With each offensive coordinator comes a new system. Even if the coordinator just tweaks the old system, he still brings his own personality and ideas to the job.
Spygate is ridiculous. Everyone who is in the business of football—and is being honest—will tell you that videotaping your opponent’s signals gives you little to no advantage. Just ask the great Jimmy Johnson, who was doing it in the '90s. He said the exact same thing.
Everyone in football cheats, but everyone got their panties all in a bunch because it was the Patriots, and people are jealous of their success.
The difference between reading other teams' lips to get their signals, and videotaping them is minuscule. Sure, you probably catch a few more signals than you would by lip-reading, but that’s about it.
To prove how silly all of this “it gave the Patriots an unfair advantage, and that’s why they won all of those Super Bowls” nonsense is, consider this: Nick Harper was recently quoted as saying, “[He] was surprised when [he] got to the Titans that they already knew 90 percent of the Colts' signals.”
If knowing signals is somehow correlated to wins and losses, then by that logic, the Titans should hold the advantage in the head-to-head series between the two teams.
So riddle me this: If that's true, why do the Colts hold a 16-12 lead in the series instead of the Titans?
What you have to understand is, even if the opposing team knows what play is being called, they still have to execute. They still have to go out and make a play. They still have to stop the other team.
At the end of the day, Brady is a Hall-of-Fame quarterback, and Colts fans should relish the fact that every year we get to see two of the best quarterbacks playing the game today go at each other.
Granted, you will hear Patriots' fans make similar, baseless, criticisms of Manning. Go ahead and let them. We're Colts fans, and we should be better than that.
Remember, in life, and in football, always keep your side of the street clean.