Brady In Reverse

I love Barnwell’s reversal of Brady’s career, showing how easy it is to prove that someone isn’t “clutch.”

By the way, speaking of 2006 and narratives, how about we give it up for Mr. Marty Schottenheimer? I mean, yes, he did sometimes get too conservative in playoff games, but unless he specifically ordered his players to try to return what would otherwise be game-clinching interceptions (or fumble) it’s not clear what he had to do with many of his heartbreaking losses. And the excellence of his regular season record is clear. Why you would let a freak play compel you to replace him with Norv Turner I have no idea.

131 comments on this post.
  1. Sherm:

    Brady in reverse = John Elway.

  2. mark f:

    The same thought came to me yesterday. Though Elway would’ve run for that first down.

  3. Scott Lemieux:

    Yes, although one thing about Elway is that in his early years he was also genuinely overrated.

  4. Jim Lynch:

    Speaking of Elway, there’s a reason why his football coach father didn’t want him drafted by San Diego. Schottenheimer’s later dismissal provides a big clue as to why not.

  5. joe from Lowell:

    The problem with football is small sample sizes.

    The average length of a quarterback’s career is just under 4-1/2 years. That means that halfway through the average career of a quarterback, we’ve seen him in as many games as we see from a new shortstop by the end of May in his rookie year.

  6. Carbon Man:

    It was beautiful to watch the Patsies meltdown last night. Like lambs to a slaughterhouse…

  7. Carbon Man:

    Bill Belicheat can’t win Super Bowls after he was caught videotaping the other team’s practices and hand signals. Hmmmm I wonder WHY?

  8. joe from Lowell:

    Brady was still being described as a “game manager” who “couldn’t throw the deep ball” going in the 2003 season.

    I think you might be projecting the coverage Brady received from 2005 onward back onto the beginning of his career.

  9. Kyle Huckins:

    Reading Barnwell crush Manning trolls on twitter is more fun than some of the games themselves.

  10. Joshua:

    I have been reading Barnwell all year (and last year), and that article read like he cracked.

    I know that media and fans tend to overpraise and overcriticize QBs – I saw people blaming Kaepernick for the 49ers slow start yesterday – and it seemed like it finally got to the guy.

  11. mark f:

    Which is why he’s literally the only coach who hasn’t won every Super Bowl since then. And man do his teams suck shit every year.

  12. Carbon Man:

    They’ve turned into the early ’90s Buffalo Bills at best. Whoop-de-doo.

  13. Carbon Man:

    And the window for Tom Lady and Bellicheat to win another big one is closing rapidly.

  14. joe from Lowell:

    This is what JenBob is doing today to try to hold back the tears.

  15. Carbon Man:

    Who the fuck is JenBob?

    The Patsies were shut out in the second half.

    Bwahahahah!

  16. DocAmazing:

    If he’s not clutch, is he automatic transmission?

  17. joe from Lowell:

    The fat, salty tears.

  18. Carbon Man:

    http://c.o0bg.com/rf/image_585w/Boston/2011-2020/2013/01/21/BostonGlobe.com/Metro/Images/patriots2.jpg

  19. Carbon Man:

    Remember, joe:

    Real football is found in the South and the Midwest, not New England.

  20. Carbon Man:

    Kaepernick if anything has benefited from the small sample size. He’s had what, 9 starts and people think he’s the second coming. Give me a break.

  21. mark f:

    Tom Lady, llololololololol. I bet he has cooties!

  22. joe from Lowell:

    Clearly, the Ravens’ victory over the Patriots shows that the South and Midwest are where “real football” is played.

    Sort of like the 49ers’ victory over the Falcons.

  23. sharculese:

    Who the fuck is JenBob?

    Get help, kiddo.

  24. Decrease Mather:

    Yep, I remember those days, when the Bills had Bledoe. Some geat flame wars online, with Pats fans arguing that game anagement, throwing be ball away to avoid sack, and executing the play cation were the quiet skills that made their guy better.

    This period don’t last long.

  25. Decrease Mather:

    Play action, not play cation.

  26. Carbon Man:

    Baltimore is south of the Mason-Dixon line, genius.

    I admit the historical success of the 49ers runs counter to the thesis, but I think that’s largely in part thanks to proximity to the Pac 12, a conference that, while not as good as the SEC or Big 10, is still pretty damn good, and better than anything in the northeast.

  27. Carbon Man:

    And mark it down:Even my Dolphins get their next Lombardi before Bellicheat and Tom Lady do (if they ever do again).

  28. Jim Lynch:

    Tom Brady/Belichik and the Patriots years ago entered the NFL pantheon of all time great organizations. You might not like them, you may root against them, but that fact is indisputable.

  29. Linnaeus:

    Given that professional teams draft players from all over the nation, and not just the regions where their teams are located, you really can’t “regionalize” pro football the way you might be able to for college.

  30. LosGatosCA:

    The sample sizes are in the practices you don’t see.

    Plenty for coaches to go on, though.

  31. joe from Lowell:

    Ah, yes, that bastion of Southern culture, Baltimore. Lol.

    And mark it down:Even my Dolphins get their next Lombardi before Bellicheat and Tom Lady do (if they ever do again).

    Will that be the year they play the Superbowl in the Saginaw Plaza Hotel?

  32. LosGatosCA:

    Helicoptered it for sure.

  33. Jim Lynch:

    Hey, Carbon Man. I’m an old Niner fan. An old NFL fan. And I’m telling you, Kaepernick is the real fucking deal.

  34. LosGatosCA:

    One sample size to consider is every single game ever played in the NFL -over 14,000.

    And in only one of them did a QB run for over 180 yards on the ground.

    Another sample size to consider is all conference championship games. He helped rally his team from 17-0 – by completing almost 80% of his passes -never done except one other time (by a HoF QB) in NFL history.

    He’s been the QB for the team that’s beaten the teams with the best record in BOTH conferences on the ROAD this season.

    Plenty of reason to get excited, even if he’s not the second coming.

  35. wjts:

    Laugh at Carbon Man all you want, Joe, but the facts are indisputable: only one NFL team from New England has ever won the Super Bowl, whereas teams from from Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina have won a total of… wait, what was Carbon Man’s point again?

  36. shah8:

    I’ve known since roughly about the time of Brady’s knee injury that Brady no longer had sufficient athleticism to deal with the postseason pass-rush. It was a genuine surprise to me that he made the Superbowl last year, but that was mostly luck (Tebow, couple of bad Ravens moments).

    Of course, the real issue is that Barnwell is trying to defend Matt Ryan on the basis of non-clutchedness. No, Ryan is not LeBron James. Ryan is Schaub and every other predominantly rhythm QB who struggles to make plays because they don’t have the arm or the instincts to succeed in the face of high competition.

    The only Superbowl the Patriots won via a strong offense was the one Corey Dillon was a part of, in 2004. In all of their victories, Vinateri was a pretty crucial player in every one of their victories. Him? Heck yeah, he’s clutch. I’m still sore about Akers in 2010.

  37. commie atheist:

    I think people are just shocked at what he’s been able to do in 9 games. Arguably only one bad game in those 9, and that includes road games in New Orleans, New England and (in the playoffs) Atlanta, and a blowout Monday Night Game at home against a Chicago team that was playing well at the time. Add to that the fact that he doesn’t look like the typical All-American white boy QB (he’s like a San Quentin inmate!), and he’s a pretty compelling story. So, bite me.

  38. Erik Loomis:

    That anti-tattoo-get-off-my-lawn-you-damned-kids piece you link to is truly horrible.

  39. LosGatosCA:

    how about we give it up for Mr. Marty Schottenheimer

    Love, Marty. Bad luck to never reach the Super Bowl, but not sure any of his teams that should have made it would have won in the Super Bowl. If he had won with Montana/Allen in KC that would have been sweet all the way around. Too bad.

    200-126, .613, 21 years avg record 10-6 roughly. 12-14 wins 5X

    With 4 different franchises. Not flashy, just solidly effective with strong defense.

  40. bill:

    Brady can’t throw the deep ball with any accuracy at all. He just happened to have the literal best deep threat ever to play football on the same team for a few years.

  41. LosGatosCA:

    I’m in favor of play cation – in Hawai’i especially.

  42. LosGatosCA:

    The chin beard is not a good look for someone looking to date a super model.

    But I’m not a supermodel so what do I know?

  43. LosGatosCA:

    Using Ben R as the better role model is pretty tasteless. I also got the impression that Jerry Richardson must have had Cam Newton open his mouth so Jerry could inspect his teeth as well.

  44. commie atheist:

    It’s not just a white thing, I hope.

    Um, it pretty much is, grandpa.

  45. commie atheist:

    There’s no accounting for supermodels.

  46. anadromy:

    As a Charger fan, I say let’s NOT give it up for Marty. (Norv was terrible, don’t get me wrong. One fact does not preclude the other.) There was a reason Marty was 5-13 in playoffs, including losing 6 straight to end his career. He played not to lose. He’d get to the end of games and settle for really (sometimes, really REALLY) long field goals. Not surprisingly, they often didn’t go in. (see: 2005) Then, just to really make anybody who cared about his teams feel extra put upon, he’d do wacky things like, oh I don’t know, GO FOR IT ON FOURTH AND ELEVEN INSTEAD OF LETTING HIS ALL PRO KICKER KICK A FIELD GOAL HE WOULD ALMOST CERTAINLY MAKE BECAUSE IT WAS ONLY THE 1ST QUARTER or, let’s see, challenging a play with no chance of being overturned and squandering a timeout that probably would have helped win the game (SEE: 2006). Geez. Just talking about this puts me in a bad mood. Thanks.

  47. Rob:

    No, we don’t see any of the average QB because he never actually plays in a game.

  48. commie atheist:

    Brady Pro Bowl reference?

  49. chaed:

    It’s almost like you didn’t even read Barnwell’s article. Your perceptions of people completely turn on the outcome of one game, which turns on the outcome of a few plays.

    That’s like saying Chipper was a choker because he made a throwing error in the wildcard game this year.

  50. LosGatosCA:

    I’m not that smart.

    it’s a ‘me’ reference – I’m seeing myself in Hawai’i playing on vacation.

    Vacation
    Daycation
    Playcation

  51. shah8:

    I did read the article. It’s pretty much the same as any of Barnwell’s articles. It’s too bad Bottom of the Barrel blog guy never turns his critique on him.

    Read again what I’m saying: Matt Ryan is not particularly talented. It’s not like Alex Rodriguez or LeBron James. He’s not Jeremy Lin, either, but more like a working class man’s Derek Jeter.

    It’s not about missing shots at the top of the key that he could normally make in his sleep. It’s about not really being able to hit curve balls, and getting to the playoffs where more of the pitchers can throw a decent one.

  52. Mike D.:

    One game?

    Matt Ryan *hadn’t won* one playoff game until last week in multiple attempts, an is now 1-for. The only reason it’s dumb to say that Ryan isn’t “clutch” is because clutch is a dumb category to apply to a player. Players make plays in the clutch – and sometimes they don’t. That applies to every player. “Clutch” is about what a player does in a an important situation. It’s true that not making many such plays is going to get you called “not clutch,” but that’s just what happens when you don’t make plays. Ultimately, it’s a meaningless term when applied to players, because everyone fails in the clutch on occasion.

    But what isn’t meaningless is having a crappy playoff record at the midpoint of your career. This tripe about reversing the order of what happens in a careers is ridiculous. It eliminates the whole concept of a record – whether team or personal. “Our team hasn’t won a playoff game in five yearns under this coach, behind this QB, etc., but don’t judge us for that, because who knows what we might do”? What? No, we judge likely future performance by the record, at least in significant part. The record is what came before. If you’re likely able to do it, you’ll show that as soon as you get up to speed competitively in whatever the domain of your competition. If there’s a ceiling on you ability, you’ll likely display that. Sure, there’s always the possibility – and not insignificant- that you’ll transcend what seem to be your limitations. But we don’t ignore what you’ve done to date because somehow privileging the record of the past is an arbitrary prejudice against the possibilities of the future. We judge competitive performers based on their record. What kind of sophistry says that’s irrational?

  53. James E. Powell:

    No shit. If he were still alive, Andy Rooney could sue him for stealing the act.

  54. Eric:

    Bill Barnwell thought that the 49ers would only win 9 games or fewer.

  55. prufrock:

    They put the censored bars over the wrong body in that picture.

  56. TT:

    I grew up a Redskins diehard but gave up on them once and for all after Dan Snyder axed Schottenheimer following the 2001 season (and decided to spend $25 mil on Steve Spurrier, which worked out….not well). Yeah, yeah, I know Schottenheimer’s playoff record, too conservative, etc., but in 2001 he got a team that started 0-5 fight to an 8-8 record. That’s a coach who had control of his locker room and the respect of his players, and who could build on what he had. Snyder instead opted to take the dysfunction which had plagued the Redskins for most of the ’90s to a whole new pathetic, depressing, and comedic level.

  57. Rob:

    Stupid Barmwell not knowing the 49ers were going to ditch Alex Smith!

  58. Sherm:

    Yeah, Elway was massively overrated for quite some time. He was later underrated for being overrated for so long, if that makes any sense.

  59. ADM:

    4.5 years might equal 72 games, but at say 30 passes a game, that’s over 2100 passing plays. Assuming a whole bunch of things, like schematic stability, starts, decent supporting cast, etc.

  60. ADM:

    Average length of career, not average qb.

  61. Hogan:

    Dynaflow.

  62. ADM:

    Oh jesus, way to make a point ADM!

    My point is that while 72 games might be a small sample size, 2100 passing plays isn’t. A 4.5 year career is plenty long enough to say whether a qb is accurate or prone to throwing int’s.

  63. joe from Lowell:

    His stats after Moss are better than the years Moss was on the team.

  64. joe from Lowell:

    I’ve known since roughly about the time of Brady’s knee injury that Brady no longer had sufficient athleticism to deal with the postseason pass-rush.

    In the four seasons since Brady came back from the knee injury, the Patriots have made the AFC Championship twice, and the Super Bowl once.

  65. joe from Lowell:

    They were 6-2-1 under Alex Smith. Ditching him isn’t what made them such a good team.

  66. John:

    Playoff sample sizes are tiny (especially in football). Doesn’t it make more sense to judge Ryan by his entire career than by the outcomes of a few games? I suppose in basketball, where playoff sample sizes are larger and the regular season is often really low pressure, it might make sense to look at playoff stats only. But in football, where basically every game is like a playoff game in most other sports?

    The point is that judging someone as a “playoff choker” based on 4 games is kind of ridiculous.

  67. John Protevi:

    Needs moar ALL-CAPS.

    I kid, I kid. I kid because I love.

  68. John:

    Yeah, that was really dismal. The Spurrier thing was just horrendous and inexcusable. This was a guy who thought that some washed up back-up quarterbacks from Florida would be competent NFL starting quarterbacks because of the brilliance of the “fun & gun.”

    It’s obviously absurd to say that college coaches can’t be successful in the NFL, but I think Spurrier is a good example of the fact that college coaches can’t do exactly the same thing in the NFL that worked at the college level and think they’ll be successful.

  69. Walt:

    And they left it years ago, as well.

  70. Joshua:

    What is a good sample size? Ben Roethlisberger was in the AFC Championship game as a rookie.

    Ryan was lights out in the first half, but made some critical mistakes in the second half. Those mistakes, yea, did kind of cost the team the game.

    The problem with stuff like Barnwell’s is that it is easy to take a very complex game and break it down to find the argument you want to find. There where Atlanta screwed up that had nothing to do with Ryan – ergo, the loss doesn’t prove Ryan is a choker. Well, what about the stuff that was on him?

    I don’t think Ryan is necessarily a choker (I hate the phrase, really), but if this team doesn’t get to a Super Bowl I think we will all look back and say that was a waste of talent. Similar to the mid-2000′s Chargers.

  71. Joshua:

    I think it’s part of it.

    I don’t see Alex Smith bringing that team out of that 17-point hole on Sunday.

    Kaepernick was the missing piece.

  72. Joshua:

    I agree. My point wasn’t about how good Kaepernick is. It was more about how dumb it is to put an 0-17 deficit on the QB when he had about 10% of the game close to work with and the other QB was torching the defense.

    The way Kaepernick came out when they were down 17 really showed something. Totally unflappable. Gore’s excellent play didn’t hurt, of course.

  73. Joshua:

    close = clock

  74. elm:

    Damn. Is there any way to read the following two (consecutive)paragraphs in any way other than “a white person’s body is a temple.”

    “I’m cool with LeBron James looking like an Etch A Sketch.”

    “I still cringe when I go to the gym and see middle-aged women with barbed wire circling their biceps. They have bigger arms than I, so I never make fun. But I can’t shake the notion that a person’s body is a temple, and you don’t cover temples in graffiti.”

  75. joe from Lowell:

    When was that?

    When they went 16-0, 14-2, or 13-3?

  76. joe from Lowell:

    I agree that moving to Kaepernick was an upgrade, but they were still an excellent team under Smith.

  77. Hogan:

    My body is a pool hall, but that’s just me.

  78. Brien Jackson:

    So within the last hour I’ve now read that neither Brady nor Flacco are accurate deep ball throwers. Well if that’s the case, who the fuck is?!?!

  79. joe from Lowell:

    The Patriots have been at least as good over the past four years as they were during the four years they won the Super Bowls.

    I think that 3 Super Bowl victories, 5 appearances, and 7 conference championship appearances in 12 years is a fair reflection of the quality of the team during this era, and the up-front timing of those Super Bowl wins is just noise.

  80. povertyrich:

    Not to mention a SS doesn’t get 2100 balls hit his way in a season, let alone half of one.

  81. Sherm:

    Exactly. Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game, who just happens to have no deep threats at wide receiver. Flacco is a pretty decent quarterback with a big-time arm.

  82. Brien Jackson:

    As with anything else, the problem with clutchitude comes with ignoring the rest of the sample that isn’t WHEN THE GAME IS ON THE LINE!! The problem with Matt Ryan isn’t that he chokes, per se, or that he isn’t good in the playoffs, it’s that in general he really isn’t as good as the national football media makes him out to be. He’s prone to mistakes, and his arm isn’t terribly good for someone who gets that much hype either (my wife, who despises Ryan, started cussing when Carlos Rodgers fell down on the throw to Douglas, but I quickly told her Ryan wouldn’t hit the target anyway. Voila!)

    If it weren’t for being the third overall pick, replacing Vick, and getting these goofy nicknames, I think most people would think of Ryan as being closer to Andy Dalton on the spectrum of quarterbacks than the top tier. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, or that Ryan is the most overrated QB in the league (looking at you, Rapistberger), but that’s the rub on Matty Ice.

  83. povertyrich:

    He’s looked good, but the real deal is the Niners’ offensive line. Four pro-bowlers, I think? Joe Staley manhandled the Claymaker against the Packers one-on-one. That’s no small feat.

    We can’t know how good Kaepernick would look if his offensive line was as porous as the one Rodgers plays behind, but my guess is no better than Alex Smith in his first years in San Francisco.

  84. Brien Jackson:

    Well no, my point is that people have a pretty fucked up view of what constitutes being accurate when throwing a football 20+ yards downfield against NFL defensive backs. Flacco and Brady are two of the most accurate deep ball throwers (maybe THE two most accurate such throwers) in the entire league.

  85. joe from Lowell:

    Brandon Lloyd is a pretty good deep threat. He’s the best Brady has had since Moss, or had before Moss.

  86. Green Caboose:

    By the time Marty got to SD he was ruined for the playoffs. The definition of true panic is making random decisions because you can see no rational way out of your predicament, so with panic at least you have some chance through unpredictability of succeeding. When Marty’s SD teams got to the playoffs he went into panic mode. I can’t remember all the weird decisions – wasn’t there a 4th-and-10 attempt late in a game that made no sense and a decision not to wear a headset so he didn’t get in the way of his coordinators?

    However, in the early years he managed very well and simply never could get the ball to bounce his way in key games. That even continued through to SD – didn’t they lose one playoff where a game-clinching interception was reversed when the defender went for a return and fumbled the ball?

  87. joe from Lowell:

    The importance of o-line is always underappreciated.

    Marcus McNeil should have been the Rookie of the Year.

  88. Green Caboose:

    In retrospect one has to wonder if that had more to do with the coaching of Dan Reeves. There is a big reason Elway had all those 4th quarter comebacks – his coach’s approach tended to assure that they’d be behind in the 4th quarter a hell of a lot of the time. And IIRC while his QBR wasn’t great in the Reeves years it tended to be much, much, higher during those 4th quarter drives.

  89. Cody:

    Have they fired John Fox yet?

  90. Sherm:

    I got your point, and I agree 100%.

  91. Green Caboose:

    While, seriously, the taping of hand signals probably added little competitive value for the Patriots I sometimes wonder about the other stuff. Pure speculation without any evidence of course. But given that Belicheck is the master at finding and exploiting every possible competitive edge, were there any other illegal tactics that he stopped employing because he knew that getting caught again would result in much more severe sanctions?

    It was very weird that the league office did everything it could to sweep the whole incident under the rug and hide the evidence. A quick fine and loss of a draft pick then … silence. Think of it from the league’s point of view … suppose you’ve got a hint that the dominant team of recent years has been cheating massively and you realize what word of this would do to the league reputation and potentially a major reduction in sponsorship and fan revenue. Word of this has leaked out so you can’t hide it. You sit the perpetrators down and explain that you’re going to reveal a minor part of it and slap a major penalty on them, but then hide everything else. BUT, the deal is that if they get caught again even slightly the Shoeless Joe Jackson treatment for all of them.

    That 2007 team was as stocked as any the Pats have had at any time. But since then ….

  92. Sherm:

    That he’s the best deep threat since Moss kind of confirms that Brady has not had much speed to work with in recent years. Defensive coordinators are not losing sleep at night scheming to stop Brandon Lloyd.

    It cracks me up that a team builds its offense around two tightends and a possession receiver, and people complain that the quarterback can’t throw the deep ball.

  93. Eric:

    It was pointed out to Spurrier in coaching clinics when he was still at Florida that a big, fast blitzer would wreck the fun & gun. His response was basically, yeah, but opponents won’t do that. They did it in the NFL, and he doesn’t run the same offense now that he faces college defenses with LBs that play with the speed of safeties. Or safeties that have the size of LBs.

  94. Sherm:

    JFL — when Brady first took over for Bledsoe and they put his picture up on the screen, my first thought was that Gilbert Grape’s little brother Arnie had signed with the Patriots. That was a tough first impression to overcome.

    But a lot of the initial analysis on Brady was based upon nothing more than the faulty scouting reports which led him to be overlooked in the draft. Anybody who saw the kid play with the Pats and was willing to ignore what they had heard knew that he could make all the throws.

  95. Eric:

    Exactly. Also, many of the things happened to the 49ers that Barnwell predicted, but the 49ers still excelled, even before switching to Kaepernick. Their turnover differential dropped precipitously from both fewer takeways and more giveaways, for example, but that didn’t have much of an effect.

    I agree with Barnwell’s overall point about Brady being mislabeled, but it rankled me how he attacked people for daring to selectively apply stats to the latest part of Brady’s career, when he was quite guilty of that with the 49ers this year.

  96. Sherm:

    Agreed 100% (except for the part about Rapistberger — he’s a damn good QB).

    Matt Ryan is a good quarterback, but not great. His arm is simply not that strong. Take him out of that dome and stick him in an outdoor stadium in the northeast, and he would be exposed real fast.

    I’m a Giants fan who is regarded as an “Eli-hater” by many who know me. But I would take Eli over him without hesitation.

  97. Hogan:

    Well, that happened in September 2007, so since then they had a 16-0 season and went 60-20 with a conference championship over the next five seasons.

  98. Sherm:

    The Patriots have been at least as good over the past four years as they were during the four years they won the Super Bowls.

    Gotta disagree. These past few years they have been getting by on Brady and Belichick. They have not had the talent of the previous teams, especially on defense. The excellence of Brady and the genius of Belichick has been enough to win the division, but not to win the super bowl.

  99. Brien Jackson:

    Rapistberger has a good particular skill set (move around, be really big, and throw the ball far) that Pittsburgh’s coaching staff has done a good job of scheming to (play really good defense and wait for the offense to hit a home run or two), but he’s got real limitation too. Namely that he’s far from a great pocket passer, and that he gets hurt a lot. He’s good but, again, he’s down in that Ryan/Dalton category, not the “elite” talent the football media makes him out to be.

  100. njorl:

    Yes, you can tell things like arm-strength, accuracy, mobility, decision-making etc. You can’t draw a conclusion about whether a QB is “clutch” if such a phenomenon even exists. For that, “games” isn’t even the right criterion. You need to look at performance in close, meaningful games.

  101. Jerry Vinokurov:

    The difference between winning and losing a game can be as little as one or two plays. If Tyree doesn’t make that ridiculous catch or Welker picks up the first down last season, we’re talking about a team that’s either 4-1 or 5-0 in Super Bowls.

  102. Jerry Vinokurov:

    Matt Ryan is one of the most talented QBs playing right now. What the hell are you on about? He had a great game against San Francisco, and I was rooting for the Niners all the way.

  103. Sherm:

    He’s good but, again, he’s down in that Ryan/Dalton category, not the “elite” talent the football media makes him out to be.

    Who’s better other than Brady, Brees and Rogers? I’d put him at the top of the next class of quarterbacks behind the three who can fairly be described as “elite.”

  104. Sherm:

    Fair point. But the Giants weren’t exactly world-beaters either.

  105. Jerry Vinokurov:

    But that’s where the “small sample size” problem kicks in. You don’t need to be “world beaters,” you just need to win a few games at the right time. Football is just an inherently more random game than, say, baseball or basketball; I mean, the Broncos were arguably the best team in the league this season, but one bad safety play, and here we are with the Ravens in the Super Bowl.

    I just think that evaluating a team, any team, on the basis of a single game that did or did not go their way is a mistake. You have to look at the whole record, and the record says that the Patriots have been really good year in and year out. You have lots of teams oscillating between making the playoffs and not, but the Patriots have been there every year except the Matt Cassell season (when they went 11-5 but missed the playoffs due to a ridiculously strong AFC).

  106. Brien Jackson:

    Hard to separate a QB from a system, but if we’re going on straight talent (let’s say, we’re having a fantasy draft and you have to pick a QB first), the existing quarterbacks I’d pick before Rapistberger, in no particular order:

    Brady, Brees, Rodgers, both Mannings, Luck, RG3, Russell Wilson, Flacco, Kaepernick, Stafford, Cam Newton, and Ryan. Phillip Rivers and Andy Dalton are right there with him.

  107. Walt:

    The Super Bowl the year they went 16-0. Now they’re just losers.

  108. Joshua:

    Seriously.

    The 2007 SB was a tough game that the Pats lost thanks to maybe the luckiest catch in NFL history. Brady wasn’t on the field for that. In 2011, the Giants got that great Manningham catch. Brady missed his chance with that Welker overthrow – criticize him for that. He acknowledged it. So did Welker.

    Someone compared reverse Brady to Elway, well the Broncos lost by 19 and 32 points in their two SB losses.

  109. Mike D.:

    I agree that the problem with Matt Ryan is that he isn’t that good. But I just further say that an 0-4 record in the playoffs is not just coincidental to that. The playoffs are when you consistently play good teams, and find out if you can beat them often. A .200 record in playoff games after half a career is enough to start admitting the playoff record is good evidence to add to the stack that you’re not turning out to be as good as they said you’d be.

  110. Sherm:

    And by 45 points in their third SB loss.

    Brady really earned my respect in the first loss to the Giants. Their pass rush was relentless, and he stood in the pocket the entire game and took hit after hit and brought them back from behind to take the lead in the closing moments.

  111. Jim:

    Starting with the ’07 postseason, the Patriots are 5-5 in the playoffs. Prior to the ’07 postseason, they were 12-2.

  112. Scott Lemieux:

    Yeah, Ryan was tremendous in two playoff games against first-rate pass defenses.

  113. Scott Lemieux:

    at even continued through to SD – didn’t they lose one playoff where a game-clinching interception was reversed when the defender went for a return and fumbled the ball?

    Yes — that’s what I referenced in the OP. How you can blame the coach for that is unclear, and it got him fired!

  114. Mike Schilling:

    Joe Staley manhandled the Claymaker against the Packers one-on-one.

    That is, one arm on one monster. That’s insane.

  115. joe from Lowell:

    That was a scary-good Giants defense, and that pass rush was at the heart of it.

  116. joe from Lowell:

    Less than two years ago, people were putting Alex Smith in their top 10 lists of biggest draft busts.

  117. Mike Schilling:

    I’m just reluctant to conclude on the basis of 9 games that he’s really as good as he’s looked. Don’t need my heart broken if he’s not.

  118. Mike Schilling:

    Ric Ocaasek gives hope to homely guys everywhere.

  119. joe from Lowell:

    Sherm,

    There are certainly areas where the old team was stronger than today’s team, but I think the 2012 Patriots still add up to a better team overall.

    In the four year period during which the Patriots won their Super Bowls, they had 16 regular season losses. Over the past four years, they’ve had 15.

    Was there any defensive players (other than Wilfork) they had in 01-04 with as much talent as Gronk? Welker?

  120. joe from Lowell:

    Shortstops also bat.

    2100 pitches seen works out to, what? 300 plate appearances? 400?

  121. joe from Lowell:

    Belichick also grew to trust him more over time. Whether or not he was capable of being a down-the-field quarterback in 2001, he really was mostly playing a run-heavy, screen-heavy game at the beginning.

  122. Mike Schilling:

    I wonder sometimes how badly Nolan and Singletary would have hurt Aaron Rodgers’s development. Somewhere between “some” and “a lot”.

  123. Sherm:

    Off the top of my head, Richard Seymour, teddy bruschi and Ty Law. And let’s not forget Mike Vrabel, Rodney Harrison and Ty Warren. There was a ton of talent on those teams.

  124. Sherm:

    And I just thought of Willie McGinest as well.

  125. Eric:

    Two years ago, they might have been right!

  126. chaed:

    Ryan has extremely similar numbers to both Brady and Manning in the first five years of their careers.

    And not being able to hit curveballs? He threw for almost 400 yards on Sunday. If one or two plays go his way, he wins. You’re proving Barnwell’s point – your perception of Ryan is influenced by the outcome of the game (something that isn’t completely in his control) vs. his performance over a decent sample size (something that is in his control).

  127. shah8:

    Tremendous second halves, yes…

  128. chaed:

    I disagree that Matt Ryan “isn’t that good.” His stats are pretty comparable to Brady’s first few years. I agree that his arm strength isn’t ideal, but he benefits from having a great receiving corps.

    It’s entirely possible that Ryan wins a few Super Bowls and it’s also possible he never does get over the hump. A lot of it will depend on luck and what the Falcons do on defense.

    I am an Atlanta fan and it has been painful to hear the occasional idiot call up on sports talk the past few days and claim that Ryan should be traded or not signed to an extension. I don’t always agree with Barnwell, but he at least backs up his arguments with logic, facts, and statistics and not nonsensical statements like “I’ve watched football for years…” and other such garbage.

  129. povertyrich:

    And 300 or 400 plate appearances is about half a season, as well.

    Add a SS’s plate appearances and his fielding chances, and it still doesn’t add up to 2100.

  130. ncp:

    Yup. Didn’t help that Chandler Jones has been banged up.

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