I can't believe its already been ten years.
On the weekend following the terrorist attacks, NFL games were canceled. When play resumed on Sept. 23, 2001, the Patriots lost 10-3 to the New York Jets, falling to 0-2 for the season. Bill Belicheck's record as New England's coach fell to 5-13. Few fans were impressed by Belicheck's considerable IQ. Yet late in that dreary loss to the Jets, in front of a Foxboro Stadium crowd still numbed by the enormous national tragedy 12 days earlier, Jets linebacker Mo Lewis clobbered New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe. -- David Pevear, Lowell Sun
Who knew that the 199th player selected in the 2000 NFL draft, a man who took over to little to no fanfare, would begin ascending the mountaintop like nothing we'd seen before?
What has transpired over the next ten years is as fascinating as watching a rose that grew from concrete. We witnessed the beginning of a coaching legend, a dynasty, and a man who put himself on the Mt. Rushmore of winning the game of life. That man is Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr.
**Aside: The Mt. Rushmore of men who have won the game of life is Brady, Jay-Z, Dwyane Wade, T. Boone Pickens, and Will Smith. Will Smith's status is tenuous based on the fractured relationship with Jada Pinkett, so he's on probation as of now.**
Sometimes you just need people to see your vision. In life, there are few people who can actually have a vision, see it out from beginning to end, and watch it flourish into greatness. Its that vision that we dream about late at night, or ramble about to our friends after drinking one (three) too many beers. The journey to being great is an undertaking of hard work, overcoming obstacles, and frankly...getting a lucky break here and there.
We think of Bill Belicheck (Belicheat) now as this mastermind of football, a person who's always four or five steps ahead of his opponent as if the field was his chess board. As stated earlier, Belicheck was 5-13 before Drew Bledsoe's shoulder got mangled into the dirt at Foxboro Stadium. No one thought Belicheck was a genius then; they thought he was a blithering neanderthal who needed to be fired. "BRING BACK PARCELLS!" was what the people screamed. Belicheck's vision was a singular one. He didn't have a collective buy-in and, without it, he was quickly becoming a coaching nomad unable to find work.
Then Brady stepped in.
We all know the rest. Three Super Bowls, the dynasty team of the 2000's, MVP's, passing records, Robert Kraft becoming a Godfather of sorts, the resurrection of Randall Gene Moss, the creation of one of the greatest slot receivers of all-time in Wesley Carter Welker, and a pimp hand becoming as strong as Don Magic Juan with the juggling act of Bridget Moynahan to the come up of a century with Gisele Bundchen.
The takeaway from the decade of Brady should ultimately be the following: that Tom Brady might be the coolest motherfucker alive. Why? Lets take it way back and hop in the time machine.
2001 - The succession of Drew Bledsoe: We forget that Drew Bledsoe was a four-time Pro-Bowler, as the legend of Brady has cast negative aspersions on the career of Bledsoe. No one thought Brady would be able to step in and do the job above and beyond what Bledsoe could, yet Brady went 11-3 in his first season as a starter in Foxboro. You could tell Brady was cool, because Bledsoe was cool with it; he knew the deal. Even if on the inside he hated it, those two have always had a great relationship. Bledsoe's coaching up of Brady had a monumental impact on his overall success, although I guarantee Brady learned how to move within the pocket from someone else, as Bledsoe was a statue in there.
2004 - The second Super Bowl game-winning drive: For everything that happened in 2001, taking over for Bledsoe, going 11-3, leading the Patriots on the game-winning drive to defeat the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI...some could suggest that they believed Brady and the Pats were a fluke. Hell, the next season they went 9-7 and missed the playoffs altogether. In Super Bowl XXXVIII, Brady extended his playoff record to 6-0 and made every correct play so that the Patriots wouldn't lose to the Panthers. This man was totally comfortable throwing to Mike Vrabel in the endzone for goodness sakes. Pass to Troy Brown. Pass to Daniel Graham. Pass to Deion Branch. Viniateri boot. Two-time, two-time Super Bowl MVP. Tom Brady is officially a made man.
2007 - The eff you season: Finally given a receiver taller than six feet and who ran anything faster than a 4.4 in Randall Gene Moss, and dealing with Spygate and the perceived corruption from Belicheat, Brady and the Patriots essentially went into eff you mode. Throwing to Moss on egregious deep bombs, throwing countless dig routes to Welker over the middle after everyone was terrified of Moss, and running up the score on everyone. (Remember that 59-0 thrashing, IN THE SNOW, versus Tennessee?) Everyone does stuff like this on Madden. Brady was out here doing it in real life.
The crazy thing about Tom Brady is that earlier this year, the man came out and said that he wants to play TEN MORE YEARS of football. That means he would be 44 years old would be out here on "Lorenzo mode" and I'm not mad at him. The man has literally accomplished everything there is to do in this game, yet he wants to continue to push for more. All hail Tom Brady; looking forward to witnessing another ten years of #12 in the game.