2005-09-20

New England: How the Tune Has Changed


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To hear the pundits coming into the seaons - New England was the NFL's version of USC. Most wanted to start fitting them for their rings in July.

Now, after the Pats were shown up by Carolina, those same pundits sound just as smart, but their tune has changed. "What'd you expect? They lost both Coordinators, for crying out loud!" "What'd you expect? They play one of the league's toughest schedules!" and on and on it goes.

Well, since, almost to a man, you had the Pats winning the Super Bowl and residing in an entirely different universe than the rest of the NFL, I was expecting them to be playing like champions. Since you were even doing the occasional "Can they run the table?" puff piece, I was expecting at least a few wins before they took their first loss.

Whenever someone brought up the loss of both their Offensive and Defensive Coordinator, they were made to look like idiots ... "Pshaw! Now you're going to see what a genius Bill Belicheck is!" And according to ESPN's Steven A. Smith, they still have Tom Brady and, "Quite frankly, that's all you need."

Now, I'm not suggesting that New England's season is doomed. There's no shame in losing to Carolina. I'm just always amazed to see how shameless the "experts" become when they fall in love with a team or a player. That team is New England and that player is Tom Brady.

New England is still a force, make no mistake. But, you can change out only so many key pieces before you start to feel the effects.

As for Brady, it's amazing. Throught the current New England run, conventional wisdome has been that the Pats' key to success is that they are unselfish, team players, and that they have been riding mastermind coaching, and a crafty defense to the NFL crown.

Somehow, Tom Brady has been translated into a god-like QB. I maintain that Brady is the latest and most successful in a line of NFL QB's who have been surrounded with talent, teamed up with great defenses and great coaches and as a result have been made to look better than they are. See also: Dilfer, Trent and Johnson, Brad. Brady is no slouch, but the thing he does best is not screw everything up.

Sometimes ... ok, most times I wish the talking heads of sports would just shut up.

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