The Power of Pig-Skin-Kwan-Do
Posted on 9/30/2004 7:00:00 AM
We love getting mail from readers. We've been getting tons the last couple of weeks. We can't answer many, but we post some of the more interesting letters in the Mail Pouch. We have one rule, however: If you're going to argue one of our points, please come armed with some facts! That's kinda the whole purpose of the site. You know, we may be wrong. It's happened before. But unless you offer up a fact-filled defense of your position, don't expect the Cold, Hard Football Facts to sit there and say, "gee, what an interesting opinion." It won't happen.
Instead, you should expect a flying helicopter kick to the skull from this fifth-degree black belt in Pig-Skin-Kwan-Do, the Cold, Hard Football Facts. Note what happens below to poor reader Patrick McCarty and his limp-wristed defense of Drew Bledsoe. Warning! This mental football beating is quite graphic and may not be suitable for children or soccer fans. Let it be a lesson to all factless opinionators. The Cold, Hard Football Facts comments appear [in brackets].
The whole Bledsoe vs. Brady argument can go on forever from numerous angles and I think most people are tired of the slanted stats backing up various opinions.
[Then you're hanging out on the wrong site, son. People here are tired of slanted opinions without any supporting facts.]
So ask yourself this: do "mediocre" QBs – your opinion of Bledsoe – finish in the top-five all-time leaders in passing yardage and completions and the top 10 in touchdowns? Do mediocre QBs reach 25,000 yards faster than any other QB in the history of the game including your beloved Tom Brady?
[Let's look at it this way: You and I are sitting in the back of the PIGSKN Ford pick-up, shooting critters in the cornfield. You take 20 shots and hit 10 critters. I take 10 shots and hit eight critters. Well, gosh darn, you have more critters for dinner than I do. That still don't mean you're a better critter shooter. The Cold, Hard Football Facts in this instance are that Bledsoe has been given an insane number of passing attempts in his career: he holds the record for single-game (70) and single-season (691) passing attempts (both in 1994). He's tied with Johnny Unitas and George Blanda for most consecutive seasons leading the league in attempts (three); and he holds the third position in the all-time attempts-per-season list (636 in 1995). But Bledsoe's corresponding efficiency numbers – TDs per attempt, INTs per attempt, yards per attempt, and completion percentage – are quite mediocre, as our story and his career statistics clearly demonstrate. A QB who sets a record for attempts in a single season, for example, should also set a record for yards, TD passes, etc., or at least come quite close. But in 1994, when Bledsoe set the single-season attempt record, he threw for 4,555 yards, and just 25 touchdowns, with 27 INTs. Dan Marino set the record for yards (5,084) and touchdowns (48) in a season (1984) with just 564 pass attempts. That's efficiency. In other words, Bledsoe's taken a lot of shots, but has only a few furry tails in the critter-basket.]
I understand that we can both point to numerous stats backing either QB [well we've done our part, son, but you're failing miserably]. The difference is that you are too caught up catching up to the bandwagon to ask yourself "what QB would be successful in Buffalo right now?"
[The Cold, Hard Football Facts take offense: We've been driving the Brady bandwagon since Sept. 30, 2001. That's the day Tom Brady made his first NFL start and led 0-2 New England to a 44-13 victory against 2-0 Indy. The Patriots were double-digit underdogs, but Brady thoroughly outplayed Peyton Manning and inspired New England's most prolific offensive output in five seasons. In fact, only twice in Bledsoe's entire career in New England did the Patriots score more than 44 points: in 1996, they beat the Ravens, 46-38, and the Chargers, 45-7. By 4:15 that afternoon, we saddled up the horses, grabbed a couple tuba players, and rolled the bandwagon out of the barn.
[Now, to answer your question, "what QB would be successful in Buffalo right now?" I'd say any QB who could get out of the way of his own two feet. Especially if his name is Brady and he's the best quarterback in football today. Here's a scenario you might consider: heading into that aforementioned Indy game in 2001, the Patriots were 5-13 in their previous 18 games with Bledsoe at the helm and had struggled to move the ball. In 2000, they had one of the worst offenses in football (276 points) and had scored just 20 points in their first two games of 2001. Sound familiar, Buffalonians? It should. Heading into the Patriots game last weekend, the Bills were 6-12 in their previous 18 games with Bledsoe at the helm and had struggled to move the ball. Last year, the Bills had one of the worst offenses in football (243 points) and had scored just 20 points in their first two games of 2004. Is there an echo in here? In 2001, Bledsoe got injured and New England inserted Brady. Suddenly, this woeful offensive team scores nearly 400 points in a season, wins 14 of its next 17 games, and takes home its first Lombardi trophy.]
I do not think anyone truly believes Brady is a better QB than Bledsoe. [Hey, how's that coma working for ya?] I think people have come to realize that in today's NFL more than ever, the game plan and players that fit that game plan are what you need to win. [In the world of the Cold, Hard Football Facts, this is gibberish. Bottom line is some players produce, some players do not. Given the same system with the same exact players, Brady produced. Bledsoe did not. You can't ask for a better test case than that. Meanwhile, in his 12th NFL season, we've yet to see the system in which Bledsoe produces.]
Was it the right decision to let Bledsoe (and his huge contract) go for the younger, cheaper Brady? Well, after two Super Bowls who would argue against that? [You would, apparently. After all, didn't you just say, not one paragraph ago, that "I don't think anyone truly believes Brady is a better QB than Bledsoe." Oh, I see, maybe you're just trying to confuse us with a little verbal rope-a-dope. Is that your game, kid? ]
My problem with you and the legion of lemmings who agree with your argument is that you will be the same fools that call for Brady's head when he is leading a subpar team to a subpar record. And do not be naive enough to think that it will not happen within the next couple of years. It happened to Marino, Elway, Manning and now Bledsoe along with most NFL QBs.
[First of all, Brady will get a longer rope, simply by virtue of his two Super Bowl MVP awards, something none of those other QBs can claim. But for the most part, you're absolutely right. If Brady starts having substandard seasons like Bledsoe, the Cold, Hard Football Facts WILL call for his head. We want production! We want trophies! And occasionally we want a lap dance at the Sportsmen's Lounge in Providence! But mostly we want production. The difference here, however, is that Brady is a better quarterback than all four of those players: Manning, Marino and Bledsoe are notorious playoff choke artists, as the Cold, Hard Football Facts have demonstrated on numerous occasions. Marino coughed up two INTs in his lone Super Bowl appearance and never made it back; Bledsoe tossed four INTs in his lone Super Bowl appearance. Elway lost three Super Bowls and needed the league's best running game before he could claim his first Super Bowl trophy. Brady has put up historically significant statistics, and has performed better in the playoffs than all four of the quarterbacks you mention. That's why Brady is a winner. In fact, with the exception of Marino, he's outperformed all those quarterbacks in the regular season, too, at this point in his career.]
The difference with the great ones – including Bledsoe – is that they weather the storm and continue to produce at a record pace [Buffalo fans would dispute your "record pace" claim] while waiting to be united with the great coaches that surround them with the talent they need.
[Tick, tick, tick, tick...]
I have no problem with Brady, but I also do not have much respect for him until he proves he can put a team on his back and carry them and he has never been forced to do that.
[Hello, McFly, is anybody home? Let's look at last season: the NE defense crapped the bed against Tennessee, Indy, and Denver, allowing 30, 34, and 26 points respectively. Brady responded with 38, 38, and 30 points, respectively, including come-from-behind fourth-quarter drives against both Indy and Denver. In the Indy game, as Manning handed the ball to Edgerrin James and lobbed beautiful spirals to the likes of perennial Pro Bowler Marvin Harrison, Brady gave the ball to Antowain Smith and threw TD passes to waiver-wire specials like Dedric Ward and JJ Stokes. If we go back to 2001, there was something about Brady's very first playoff game, when he completed 32 of 52 passes for 312 yards in a friggin' blizzard. One of the great debut playoff performances n NFL history. Brady was virtually flawless in the fourth quarter and overtime that night, using a no-huddle offense to lead the team to three must-have scoring drives. Did we mention the blizzard? Finally, our fine-feathered friend, there was something about two Super Bowls. I'm not sure if you follow the NFL too much, but Brady was the MVP of both Super Bowls in which he's played. In his first Super Bowl appearance, and just his 17th NFL start, he took over on his own 17 yard line with no timeouts and fewer than 90 seconds to play. While the football world thought he'd take a knee and head for overtime, Brady completed 5 of 8 passes (one was spiked to stop the clock) and led his team to the only walk-off scoring drive in Super Bowl history. In his second Super Bowl appearance, the NE defense played its worst game of the season, surrendering one big play after another. Brady hitched the cart to his shoulders, threw for 354 yards, and set a record for Super Bowl completions with 32 (perhaps Bledsonians like you would admire him more if he set a record for attempts). That game featured three clutch fourth-quarter scoring drives. But I guess you're right, he's never carried his team when it counted. Here's a Band-Aid and an idea: Go paint the fence with Mr. Miyagi.]
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