Undefeated through 7 quarters, is Cassel the next Brady?
The New Patriots two-time Super Bowel most valuable player and NFL golden boy Tom Brady may find himself looking for a new job next summer despite being locked into a multi year deal that should see the golden boy become the aging boy at age 33, on opening day of 2010.
Brady’s career numbers are startling, three for four in Super Bowl appearances, a record setting 21-game winning streak, 197 touchdown passes, 26, 500 passing yard, a 92.9 QB rating and oh yeah did I mention the ladies think his cute.
It hasn’t all been roses for Tom Brady, drafted 199th overall in the sixth round little expectation was placed on the San Mateo, California native who had mainly been a back-up at the University of Michigan. Brady’s rookie season was spent backing up future hall of famer? Drew Bledsoe, 1 completion on 3 attempt and just 6 yards.
Season two was scheduled to be more of the same when Starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe was impaled by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis, Bledsoe would suffer internal bleeding opening the door to the infrequently used sophomore. Brady capitalized winning eleven of his fourteen starts and leading the Patriot to an undefeated playoff run and of course his first Super Bowl title, it was the beginning of a modern day NFL dynasty, four Super Bowl appearance, three of them wins in just seven seasons.
During the 2007 season Brady also entered the record books by leading his Pats to the first sixteen game undefeated regular season in the NFL’s history besting the 72' Dolphins who unlike Brady’s bunch were at least able to collect a championship trophy following their unbeaten run (insert snickers from Mercury Morris here..)
So you ask , how on earth could it be that the golden boy’s job is in jeopardy?
There are two very simple and very technical answers to this question.
This may be inappropriate so hotly on the heel of the passing of NFL Hall of Famer and Players Union boss Gene Upshaw but I promise this is no slight on GU.
#1 The NFL has the worst collective bargaining agreement in North America. Football is perhaps North -Americas most dangerous sport but despite the inherent risk involved players contracts are not guaranteed. Injured, too bad your fired, Sick, too bad your fired, Some young punk with a tattoo and no children has taken over at your position, too bad, hit the bricks, Drug problem, your fired, good luck. That being said a player of Tom Brady’s caliber , name recognition and Super Bowl record usually have the bargaining chips to negotiate some type of guarantee that often times see the player collect on just a small percentage of the unpaid contract. This means that Brady’s remaining two season could be "bought out" for a diminished percentage of their whole, saving the Patriot millions and leaving Tom Brady a very rich un-employed chick magnet.
#2 Bill Belichick the hooded maestro of the Patriots dynasty, the NFL’s most ruthless, cut-throat coach and a man that has broken more the one of the NFL’s unwritten rules. Belichick outlook is simple, if the rule is unwritten than it is not a rule at all but a chink in an opponent armour, too be exploited, worked over and finally the source of the coup de grace. Belichick has made it common place to withhold or even outright lie about a players injuries, a trend that is now finding it way to more and more NFL locker rooms. He has also be caught, punished and warned in regard to spying on opponents but all of these things fail in comparison to the breaking of an unwritten rule the encompasses every level of football from pee-wee and pop warner, too the colligate and professional ranks. No player for any reason what so ever shall lose his position through injuries. Football is a tough game filled with even tougher competitors, many of whom would remain on the field in the face of grave physical danger. The reason for this is both the mentality of the individuals and the atmosphere of the sport, if your not willing to play with turf-toe or a broken finger there are always several guys breathing down your neck waiting to take your job who will play with both a broken-leg and a severe concussion. Belichick, simply stated does not respect this or any other unwritten rule.
Tom Brady lassoed his starting position thru injury and after taking the Patriot to the Super Bowl he was anointed Patriots starting quarterback well former starter Drew Bledsoe was relegated to the bench only getting a sniff when Brady left the AFC Championship game due to an ankle injury. Bledsoe was stellar, 10-21 passing with 102 yards and 1 touchdown sending Tom Brady and the Patriot to their second consecutive Super Bowl before shipping off to Buffalo and capturing his fourth career pro bowl selection.
Fast forward to 2008 and the compression boot is on the other foot Brady is injured and out for the remainder of the season well career clip-board jockey Matt Cassel has launched his assault on the Pats starting quarterback position with a 70% completion rate, a 101.4 QB rating and unbeaten record.
Tom Brady looks suspiciously over his shoulder
and right fully so.