You’re simply the best, better than all the rest, better than anyone, anyone I’ve ever met. I’m stuck on your heart, I hang on every word you say, tear us apart no, no, baby, I would rather be dead. -Tina Turner
It is no secret that we over here at JQP Productions love us some Tom Brady. It is no secret we put Tom Brady right up there with Larry Bird. And……Now there’s a steal by Bird! Underneath to DJ who lays it in!!…Right at one second left!! What a play by Bird! Bird stole the inbounding pass, laid it up to DJ, and DJ laid it up and in, and Boston has a one-point lead with one second left! OH, MY, THIS PLACE IS GOING CRAZY!!! It is no secret we put Tom Brady right up there with Big Papi. Ortiz into deep right field, back is Sheffield, we’ll see you later tonight! It is no secret we put Tom Brady right up there with Bobby Orr. Sanderson…out to Orr…Bobby Orr…scores!…and the Boston Bruins have won the Stanley Cup! Like those guys there, Tom Brady has a few great moments of his own. After the jump we talk about some of the earlier ones.
Above is what started it all. Above is what Purple Hearted it all. What work of arted it all. Like my main man Butch from the Cape always says, “He’s tall, he’s got a strong arm. He’s tall, he’s got a strong arm.” Yes sports fans, Drew Bledsoe was tall. Drew Bledsoe had a strong arm. But know this too, Drew Bledsoe was also a pretty darned good quarterback. He made the Pro Bowl in his third year and led the Patriots all the way to the Super Bowl in his fourth. In 1995, he became the youngest player ever to throw for 10,000 yards. Bledsoe was also one of the most durable quarterbacks in the league. Playing behind him, Tom Brady was unlikely to see significant minutes back in 2001. But that all changed in Week 2. That all changed in week 2 when Bledsoe was drilled by New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis as he ran upright trying to make it out of bounds. So the first Great Moment in Tom Brady History wasn’t even a Tom Brady moment. However, what came to follow surely was. In his infinite wisdom, Patriots coach Bill Belichick turned the offense over to an unknown backup, second-year player Tom Brady. Then, Brady entered through the Eastern Gate riding in on his white horse to perform many great signs and wonders.
New England Patriots 29 San Diego Chargers 26 (OT)
This is the game you knew. This is the game you knew Tom Brady was something special. You float like a feather in a beautiful world. I wish I was special. You’re so fucking special. If you saw him in college you might have thought it. If you saw him connect with tight end Shawn Thompson on a 25-yard touchdown on the first play of overtime and lead the mighty Michigan Wolverines to an overtime win in the Orange Bowl over Alabama, you might have had an inkling. But this is the game where you knew. Like in the end of “The Planet of the Apes” when Taylor sees the the Statue of Liberty and realizes he has been on planet Earth all along. Like in the end of “Fight Club” when Edward Norton’s character realizes Tyler Durden isn’t real at all. Like at the very end of the “Usual Suspects” when Chazz Plaminteri realizes Verbal is actually Keyser Soze. Like them there only this was at the beginning.
With no touchdown passes in his two starts, some folks felt that Brady was a liability. Those folks felt the Patriots would go nowhere. After this game, those folks shut the hell up. Hello, this is Chuck to remind Bill to SHUT UP! With 8:48 left in regulation, Patriots’ punter Norm Johnson dropped the snap. That led to a fumble that was recovered by the Chargers’ Derrick Harris. That led to a 6-yard touchdown. That led to a San Diego 26-16 lead. There’s a fleck on the speck on the tail on the frog on the bump on the branch on the log in the hole in the bottom of the sea. That led to the first legendary comeback of Tom Brady’s many legendary comebacks of his legendary career.
With the score now 26-19 and the game in his hands, Tom Brady done did what Tom Brady always done does. With the game in his hands, Tom Brady completed three passes to Troy Brown for 31 yards. With the game in hands, Tom Brady then found David Patten for a 26-yard gain that gave New England a first-and-goal on the three-yard-line. With the game in his hands, on first-and-goal, Brady faked a handoff and found tight end Jermaine Wiggins in the end zone for the touchdown. With the game in his hands, now in overtime, on 3rd & 5, Brady hit running back Kevin Faulk for a nine-yard gain to the Chargers’ 26-yard-line and a first down that set up Adam Vinatieri kicking the game-winning field goal. He’s got everybody everywhere in his hands. He’s got the whole world in his hands.
Patriots 16 Raiders 13
You might call this the Snow Bowl game. You might call this the Tuck Rule game. You can call me Ray, or you can call me J, or you can call me Johnny, or you can call me Sonny, or you can call me Junie, or you can call me Ray J, or you can call me RJ, or you can call me RJJ, or you can call me RJJ Jr., but you doesn’t hasta call me Johnson! I call it Tom Brady’s coming out party. If the Chargers game was the stage that Patriots’ Nation stood and took notice, this was the stage an entire nation bore witness.
On a night when a snowstorm limited visibility, referee Walt Coleman stared into the replay screen and overturned an apparent fumble. But that’s not the whole story. On a night when a snowstorm limited visibility, trailing 13-3 going into the fourth, Tom Brady finally found his stride. Found his rhythm. Like Snap! always says, “Rhythym is a dancer, it’s a soul’s companion. You can feel it everywhere.” Folks felt this everywhere. Folks felt it as Brady completed nine consecutive passes in a drive that ended with his 6-yard scoring run — the first TD of his NFL career — that made it 13-10 with 7:52 left. Hooray Tom Brady!
By now, snow had blanketed the frozen field a good three inches. By now the wind was whirling and twirling the snow all about. You do the Hokey-Pokey and you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about! This is what it was all about. With 1:43 left on the clock and still down 3, the magical season of Tom Brady and the Patriots appeared to be over. It appeared over because on a blitz, Charles Woodson got to Brady and forced the ball loose. And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout. But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out. But not so fast.
You remember the rest. You remember Tom Brady screaming to Charlie Weis, “We’re getting the ball back! What play do you want to run?” You remember Brady, oblivious to the conditions, moving the Pats into position for a game-tying field goal. You remember after receiving the kickoff in overtime, he completed all eight of his passes that set up Adam Vinatieri’s 23-yard field goal. You remember, don’t you? Of course you do.
Patriots 20 Rams 17
On his way to Boston Sports’ Mount Rushmore, Tom Brady pulled out one final miracle to complete the magic carpet ride that was 2001-2002 season. Boston’s newest hero became the youngest quarterback in NFL history to win a Super Bowl trophy and did so while earning the MVP trophy. Tom Brady was not dominant in this game. His numbers did not pop off the stat sheet. But when the game was on the line he showed what he’s shown ever since. He showed that when the chips are down, he’s mother fuckin’ Stu Ungar. He’s Doyle Brunson. He’s Johnny Chan. He’s taking the pile and there’s not a godammed thing you can do about it.
After the Greatest Show on Turf tied the game at 17 with 1:30 remaining, Tom Brady took the pile and there was not a godammed thing the Rams could do about it. After the Greatest Show on Turf tied the game at 17 with 1:30 remaining, Tom Brady drove the Patriots 53 yards in eight plays. He drove the Patriots 53 yards in eight plays without any timeouts. He dinked and dunked. He hit First Down Troy Brown for a big one. But it was more than that. And that, much more than this, he did it his way.
When Brady took control of the huddle with that 1:21 left, no timeouts remaining, the ball on the Patriots 17-yard line, and the score tied at 17 after the Patriots had once led by a 17-3 score, his teammates did not see a green quarterback. They saw a leader. They saw a guy for whom they would break their ribs and their noses and their necks for, because they believed. ‘Cause he made them believe. He made us all believe. All season, week after week after week, other teams in the NFL learned to respect Tom Brady. Then, in the biggest game American sport has to offer, Brady showed us, showed everybody, that he is a special athlete, that he is a champion, that he is a legend.
Peace out homies. Six two and even!