Tom Brady Is One Tough NFL Quarterback

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Tom BradyThe 2012 NFL season is off and running, and NFL commentators, fans, bloggers, etc. are going all out with their reactions to Week One of the new season. Overreaction Monday saw the MVP award already handed to the Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning. The Packers, Giants, Steelers, and other 0-1 teams were already declared out of the playoffs. The New York Jets were seen as this high scoring powerhouse because they ran roughshod over the inept Buffalo Bills. Even after Monday Night Football, Joe Flacco was declared “elite,” and not only that, the Ravens were already awarded the Super Bowl Trophy. I am sure glad the season lasts more than one week.

Something else happened on Overreaction Monday that I should have seen coming when the play happened. I didn’t think much of it, but here we go. I was watching the New England Patriots vs Tennessee Titans game, and early in the game, Patriots QB Tom Brady got sacked by Titans Defensive End Kamerion Wimbley. Wimbley’s knee inadvertently hit Brady’s face, and cut up Brady’s nose. Brady was checked on the sideline, and never missed a snap. He played the rest of the game with a bandage on his nose. In the post game press conference, he had a bigger bandage. The nose, which was not broken, became a huge deal. And Brady’s toughness, given that the man is very good looking, has come into question.

[adinserter block=”2″]Well, I am a serious NFL fan. I don’t care about looks. If you got the skills, and the talent, and all the intangibles to be great in the NFL, that is all I care about. I mean, look at Steelers legend Jack Lambert. That being said, I am a red blooded female, and I am not blind either. I don’t mind seeing NFL players who happen to be great players, and are easy on the eyes either. This goes for any athlete. Do I think Tom Brady is hot? To quote Stone Cold Steve Austin, “HELL YEAH.” (Somewhere, “Haven” actor Adam Copeland, aka “Edge” in WWE is moping. ) However, I don’t think that means Brady is not tough.

I would like to start with Tom Brady’s mental toughness. I will start with his time in Michigan where he challenged Brian Griese for the starting job. Griese got the start as he was the upperclassman. Brady eventually started, but then when Drew Henson came on the scene, Coach Carr juggled the two at first. But when Tom Brady established himself as the “Comeback Kid,” he got the job.

http://youtu.be/Hma8VA-zLSk

Next is the 2000 Draft where, as most NFL fans know, he was taken 199th in that draft. There were six QBs taken, Chad Pennington, Marc Bulger, Tee Martin, Chris Redman, Spergon Wynn, and Giovanni Carmazzi. I think that fact, plus his experience in Michigan, is what drives Brady mentally. As he said, the message was, “Maybe nobody wants you.” It had to take a lot mentally to use that kind of message as a motivation tool. be in NFL, you have to be mentally tough to deal with the pressures to succeed, the pressures to win, and the pressures to deal with crises. He is driven “every day to be the best QB for this team.”

http://youtu.be/3wWXsbZuncc

Let’s look at Tom Brady’s physical toughness. In an NFL player’s career, however long it lasts, injuries will happen. It is an unfortunate part of the game. Whether they are minor, or career threatening, NFL players risk injury every time they step on the field to play for us NFL fans.

Quarterbacks are no different, and because of their vulnerability due to the nature of their position, they are really at risk. After that ball is hiked, if the offensive line doesn’t do its job, and/or the QB holds the ball too long, disaster can strike when a defender, or several of them come bearing down on said QB.

If your QB is seriously injured, and either your backup is terrible, or your team can not function without him, (See Indianapolis Colts’ 2011 Season) your team is in big trouble.

That being said, there are many QBs that have suffered injuries, some that have put them on the IR (Injured Reserve), and some that are very painful, but they play through them. There are QBs that take a lot of hits, and such. I am talking about guys like Michael Vick who gets sacked a lot, and takes hits, especially if he runs. Ben Roethlisberger is another one of these guys. Not only will Ben take hits, his QB rating goes up after he gets hit.

Ben also will play through just about any kind of injury, even if it winds up hurting the team.

Before I get bombarded with Steeler fans sending me hate mail, I ask people to go back, and watch last year’s Monday Night Football game against San Fransisco. The Steelers had a chance to go ahead of Baltimore, as the Ravens had lost. Ben suffered a high ankle sprain the WEEK BEFORE against the Browns. What happened? On the preview show before MNF, Ben was shown limping around, and in no shape to play. Well, the Steeler staff let him play anyway, and the Steelers got destroyed by San Fransisco.

Well, guess which OTHER top QB has played through injuries, and has suffered an injury that put HIM on IR? It is Tom Brady. Guess what? Brady has even taken BIG HITS too. Like many others, he has popped right back up, and went back in the huddle for the next play. As for the injury that sent him to the IR, that was on Week One of the 2008 Season at the Patriots’ Home Opener, when after Tom Brady threw a pass, then Kansas City Chiefs Safety Bernard Pollard, in an effort to sack Brady, smashed Brady’s left knee, tearing the QB’s ACL, and MCL. Tom missed the entire 2008 season, and underwent surgery, and had to fight off a couple of infections.

Brady returned in 2009, and had an uneven statistical season, but lead the team back to the playoffs. Brady was not only working himself back physically, and mentally from the knee injury, but he also played injured all season. He played through broken ribs, thanks to Albert Haynesworth, then of the Washington Redskins, and a broken finger on his throwing hand. ( http://www.sbnation.com/2010/1/3/1232552/report-tom-brady-has-broken-ribs )

Brady also played through the slightly separated left shoulder he suffered near the end of the Miami Dolphins Game last season (2011) all the way through to the Super Bowl. Brady played Super Bowl 42 with that infamous high ankle sprain he suffered against the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship Game. Of course, the latest “injury” he suffered happened on September 9, 2012, Tom Brady suffered a cut on his nose, and popped back up.

What gets my goat is that I read fans’ comments on Twitter, Facebook, message boards, etc saying Tom isn’t tough. I see the “Marsha” comments. Well, I don’t know about the other 31 QBs under center, but I see Brady take some HUGE hits. Last year, against the Broncos, Elvis Dumervil just blindsided Brady. What happened? Brady got up. I have seen the Colts’ DE Dwight Freeney just blast Tom plenty of times.

Brady pops right up.

So many times, I have seen one defensive player after another, from Ray Lewis to Calvin Pace hit, rush, hurry, sack, and just blindside Brady. What does he do? What do most (unless injured) all of them do? Pop right back up. Even when the pressure is closing in, Brady stands there in the pocket, and throws the ball downfield. The man is an incredible QB. He is one of the best ever.

My point in all this is that people are born the way they are. Brady happens to be good looking. That is not his fault. That is the way the chromosomes, and genes combined. He also happens to be a very talented QB that works hard at his craft. I know that is hard for some people to believe, but it is the truth. Toughness has nothing to do with looks. I mean, so what if Brady is good looking? Adrian Peterson of the Vikings is good looking, at least I think so. No one questions HIS toughness running through the tackles, and coming back from an ACL tear to boot.

I think lot of this “Brady is not tough.” nonsense comes from some media bias, such as Stephen A. Smith on ESPN’s “First Take.” Smith said this morning, on Sept. 12th that “Brady dances more than Gregory Hines” when pressure comes near, implying Brady is not tough.

Perhaps Mr. Smith should know that he resets his feet, and steps up into the pocket when pressure is near.

[adinserter block=”1″]Of course, it comes from fans, and other bloggers, and media who are just plain jealous. I mean, they are jealous of his success, accomplishments, personal life, etc, so they try to discredit him with nonsense that he is not tough. As the evil Shakespeare character, Iago tells Othello in Act 3, Scene 3 of the play, “Othello”, ” O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”

In closing, I want to say that Tom Brady has fought to get to the top of his profession. His toughness, both mentally and physically is one of his best traits as a QB. Not only do his looks don’t matter, they shouldn’t matter. One has to be tough to play the QB position. When things go well, the QB gets all the praise. When things don’t, they get all the blame. Fairly or unfairly, that is how it is. No matter how you look, you have to be tough to deal with all that, and Tom Brady deals with it with class, grace, and toughness.

Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/giopontifan

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1 COMMENT

  1. Just reading this now, Terri, but amazingly, everything you said still applies. I was listening to First Take this morning as well, and Stephen A. Smith brought up the Gregory Hines comments about Tom Brady once again. It is pretty amazing how much perception can skew with reality sometimes. I actually find myself agreeing with Stephen A. Smith a lot, and although he can come across as more of a personality than a knowledgeable journalist with a lot of insight, the guy really knows what he is talking about. However, I just can't see how people think it makes sense to say in one instance how great Tom Brady is and that he's a future Hall of Famer, and in the next breath, state that he goes "soft" when he gets hit.

    The numerous examples you listed are plenty of evidence that proves otherwise, but I'll give more examples of why this is not true. Ever since Brady entered the league, he set himself apart from Drew Bledsoe with two huge traits that have only gotten better with every rep he's taken in the NFL: pocket awareness/poise and decision making. He rarely makes mistakes, and he reads pocket pressure better than pretty much anyone. Take his 5 or 6 yard run for a first down in last night's game for instance. Houston brought pressure to the left and right tackle positions of his offensive line, and almost instinctively, Brady sensed where the pressure was coming from, stepped UP into the pocket, and then wisely picked up the first down with his legs. It's not something you see from him often in terms of scrambling, but he almost always knows how to avoid pressure in the pocket in order to buy himself more time.

    Brady got hit by J.J. Watt and a few other Houston players a couple of times, as was pointed out to Smith, and he absolutely shredded Houston's numerous blitz packages throughout the night. This isn't anything new; Brady has very impressive numbers when facing 5+ rushers. However, this wasn't enough to convince Smith that he's tough.

    As with most of the media, the NFL is very much a "what have you done for me lately" type of league. Not surprisingly, people have forgotten the type of pressure Brady faced in 2007 against the Giants in the SB. I would go as far as to say that describing that pressure as "constant" would actually be an understatement. The pressure Brady faced that night was hellacious. It was up the middle, in his face, fast, and furious. Look at Brady's numbers for that game–no picks. A QB rating of 82.5, a completion percentage over 60%, and a TD drive in the final minutes that could have potentially won the game. How many QBs would handle that type of pressure and deliver those types of numbers? Granted, New England still only scored 14 points, but I'd like to hear Stephen A. Smith name a quarterback or offense that would be limited with pressure up the middle. Take that defensive performance the Giants brought that night and put it up against any offense, and of course, you're going to see that offense be disrupted. That final TD drive that Brady lead speaks volumes about his toughness–physically and mentally.

    This Sunday, we'll see him go up against another one of the best defenses the NFL has to offer. I'm sure the 49ers will hit Brady. I'm sure they're going to make some plays. However, it is the mental toughness, the intelligence, and the quarterback skills that Brady possesses that will also be on display that may give that defense fits more often than not. As Gruden on MNF wisely pointed out yesterday, it is the mistakes that Brady does NOT make that is part of what makes him so great. He may take his licks on Sunday night, but the guy knows when to just tuck the ball and take them, he knows how to take them so that he avoids a major injury, and he won't stop getting up.

    Here's one of my favorite Brady "highlights"–well, not much of a highlight in terms of the actual play. Brady absolutely gets crushed on this play, and he gets up as if nothing happened. In fact, he doesn't even look for his helmet afterwards; he actually CLAPS as if he enjoyed the hit. I don't know how anyone can watch that and say with a straight face that the man isn't tough afterwards. I'm with you, Terri–I think some of this "lack of toughness" perception comes from certain media types spreading that belief, Tom Brady's appearance and "pretty boy" image, and the simple fact that he's so good, a lot of people are sort of sick of hearing about him. I guess it's all part of the price of success. I have a feeling Brady doesn't care that much though.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_EngM7HmUA

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