Celebrating What Is

BaseballJones

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Well yes, but that was the game back then. Montana had taken quite a beating in years prior, too, but also emerged victorious. I remember re-watching one of those old NFC games and practically jumping at the bone-crunching hits. A car wreck every play, they say... hardly an exaggeration at all.

Anyway, in the thread's theme, someone watching SB38 vs Carolina pointed out how far Brady's skills have come since then. Let me celebrate the following:

- Tom's career high in ANY/A came in 2007, but he missed matching that figure (8.88) in 2016 by only 0.07 (8.81). Some think that he had a little extra chip on his shoulder that year, and maybe was a little better-rested throughout the season... can't imagine why.

- His ANY/A in 9 of the last 10 years (2009-2018, excepting 2013) has been higher than any of his first 6 years as a starter (2001-2006). He was in the 5s from 2001-2003, and the 6s from 2004-2006, whereas he has been over 7 every year but one since returning from his injury, including 3 years with MVP-level figures in that stat (>8, specifically 8.25 in 2010, 8.25 in 2011, 8.81 in 2016).

- Out of his 17 full seasons as a starter, 3 of the 6 seasons he has exceeded a passer rating of 100 for the year have come in the last 4 years (2015, 2016, 2017).

- Likewise, 6 of his 7 worst seasons by passer rating were his first 6 years as a starter (plus 2013). Other than 2013, he has not posted an annual passer rating lower than 97 since 2009. While playing mostly outdoors.

These last 5 years, his age 37-41 seasons, he has essentially performed as well as any year in his career other than 2007. The only comparison I can think of is Barry Bonds, which is inapt for one obvious reason... but at the time, before we were fully aware of Bonds' PED use, I remember how we used to marvel at the absurdity of how good he was, for any age, but especially at the age he was doing it in 2001-2004 as he won 4 straight MVPs. Well, here we have a player in a far-more-brutal sport, doing it at a later age, with not even a whiff of chemical enhancement, and although he's only won one MVP in that stretch he's basically deserved it every year.

The sheer extent to which he is a better quarterback now than in his supposed physical prime is staggering.
Awesome stuff. I think it shows that the most important skills for a QB are: (1) Ability to read and understand a defense, and to know what the right play is, and (2) throwing an accurate ball.

It's not that arm strength and foot speed are unimportant or unhelpful. But if you have (1) and (2) above, you can be very very successful in the NFL. And Brady obviously has both in spades.
 

bootymfg

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Jul 19, 2005
10
Before we go ascribing Intangibles (and welcoming comparisons to Bonds), how much of this trend is attributable to league-wide changes? How has league average ANY/A changed over that time?

I don't see a league adjusted version ANY/A, but just looking quickly, Eli was 20th this year with a 6.21. That would have ranked 5th in 2001 (with a sizeable gap over #6 Peyton with 5.88). In 2010, it would have ranked 12th, coming in just ahead of 2010 Eli, who had 6.09. So Brady isn't the only one whose ANY/A is better these days than back in the day.

Well yes, but that was the game back then. Montana had taken quite a beating in years prior, too, but also emerged victorious. I remember re-watching one of those old NFC games and practically jumping at the bone-crunching hits. A car wreck every play, they say... hardly an exaggeration at all.

Anyway, in the thread's theme, someone watching SB38 vs Carolina pointed out how far Brady's skills have come since then. Let me celebrate the following:

- Tom's career high in ANY/A came in 2007, but he missed matching that figure (8.88) in 2016 by only 0.07 (8.81). Some think that he had a little extra chip on his shoulder that year, and maybe was a little better-rested throughout the season... can't imagine why.

- His ANY/A in 9 of the last 10 years (2009-2018, excepting 2013) has been higher than any of his first 6 years as a starter (2001-2006). He was in the 5s from 2001-2003, and the 6s from 2004-2006, whereas he has been over 7 every year but one since returning from his injury, including 3 years with MVP-level figures in that stat (>8, specifically 8.25 in 2010, 8.25 in 2011, 8.81 in 2016).

- Out of his 17 full seasons as a starter, 3 of the 6 seasons he has exceeded a passer rating of 100 for the year have come in the last 4 years (2015, 2016, 2017).

- Likewise, 6 of his 7 worst seasons by passer rating were his first 6 years as a starter (plus 2013). Other than 2013, he has not posted an annual passer rating lower than 97 since 2009. While playing mostly outdoors.

These last 5 years, his age 37-41 seasons, he has essentially performed as well as any year in his career other than 2007. The only comparison I can think of is Barry Bonds, which is inapt for one obvious reason... but at the time, before we were fully aware of Bonds' PED use, I remember how we used to marvel at the absurdity of how good he was, for any age, but especially at the age he was doing it in 2001-2004 as he won 4 straight MVPs. Well, here we have a player in a far-more-brutal sport, doing it at a later age, with not even a whiff of chemical enhancement, and although he's only won one MVP in that stretch he's basically deserved it every year.

The sheer extent to which he is a better quarterback now than in his supposed physical prime is staggering.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
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Sep 27, 2016
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Well, I gave a lot more stats, including year-by-year assessment context for both statistics, over in the Brady thread. We can take it over there.

...except first, I'll echo one point from over there: There was a jump from 2003 to 2004 of almost a full ANY/A yard among the entire top 20 QBs in the league. Just an extraordinary degree of change. Wonder how that happened.

(also, PFR has league-indexed, 100-mean stats for passers in like 10 different categories, including ANY/A and passer rating, so you can peruse those if interested - I go into that in the other post)
 

tims4wins

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Let's add to the discussion instead of posting memes or every thought that pops into your head.

Thanks.
I get where you are coming from, but I am genuinely curious whether instaface was being serious with his "not sure how that happened" comment.
 

mwonow

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So there are almost as many threads on BB as DJT, but I feel like we need to include another BB shoutout here.

From Mic'd Up - there's a great moment at 29:18 where BB looks at the way the Rams D is aligned (1:1 on Gronk on the outside) and mutters, "we might have a shot here." At 32:46 he sees Goff throw a duck and states what should happen next: "Intercept it." And at the point at which this clip is supposed to pick up (30:26), where BB says to his D "They can't beat us....if we're on it (or is that "honest"?), they don't got anything."

BB, for who football is like a clear glass windowpane - he sees right through it.
 

snowmanny

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The 3 guys who are mentioned in the same sentence as Brady for this era are Manning, Brees, and Rodgers, right? All 3 have lost playoff OT games after turning the ball over in OT (Brees and Manning by pick, Rodgers by a fumble by someone else). Brees and Manning both threw their picks at home.

Meanwhile Tom Brady has played 3 OT playoff games ever, and has driven his team for 2 TDs and a field goal (and would have scored a TD if it was necessary vs. the Raiders in 2001).

If it was so easy to score, maybe these other HoF QBs would have scored.
Posting this over here from the NFL rules thread. 3/3 taking the ball in OT and winning is a remarkable achievement that I haven't heard mentioned enough.

Also, in addition to the 15 play/61 yard game-winning drive vs Oakland, the 8 play/75 yard game-winning drive vs. Atlanta, and the 13 play/75 yard game winning drive vs. KC, Brady of course had the drives to win Pats-I and Pats-II Super Bowls (9 plays/53 yards vs STL and 6/37 vs CAR). This gives him and the Pats five playoff games they took the ball after a kickoff and ended up with a walk-off win.
 

snowmanny

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You're right I totally forgot that. So only the four walk offs.
 

dynomite

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And He Hate Me took the kick like it was a preseason game. It was weird.
It was completely bizarre.

I just found this oral history from Vinateri and Smart about the end of that Super Bowl, and while Vinateri’s awesome it still doesn’t explain what the hell Smart was thinking. Here’s the closest he comes:

The only thing in my mind on the last play was to return that kick for a touchdown. Take it to the house. It would have been a great thing for us and for me as one of the greatest plays in history.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sbnation.com/platform/amp/2017/1/30/14387674/patriots-super-bowl-history-adam-vinatieri-rod-smart-game-winning-kick-houston

This reminds me of that clip of McDaniels at halftime in the Falcons Super Bowl down 21-3 where he gathers the running backs and says “Do you guys believe we’re going to win? Great, me too, but don’t try to do anything you can’t do. Just take it one play at a time.”

Smart was trying to do the impossible with no trickery or attempt to confuse the Patriots on that last play, literally just playing hero ball.
 

tims4wins

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https://www.rotoworld.com/article/goal-line-stand/nfls-best-coaches-2019

1. Bill Belichick
Career Record: 261-123 (.680)
With The Patriots Since: 2000
Last Year’s Ranking: 1

2018 was the Patriots’ worst regular season since 2009. They went 11-5. The last time Bill Belichick’s team notched fewer than 10 wins was 2002. They have averaged 13 victories since 2003. As head coach of the New England Patriots, Belichick has won 11.3 percent of the Super Bowls ever played. The last three times he lost a playoff game, he hoisted a Lombardi the following year. Belichick’s death star has no design flaws. There are only strengths to be improved upon. On the rare occasions Belichick loses control, order is immediately restored. Seth Wickersham exposed some nasty behind-the-scenes dysfunction in January 2018. Belichick’s response? Make the Super Bowl twice in the next 13 months. Challengers come and go. Occasionally, a Nick Foles or David Tyree pulls a fast one. More typical is what happened to Andy Reid and Sean McVay’s “future of football” in the postseason. Reid and McVay really are moving the game forward, but it’s to a place Belichick has already been. He is the sport’s all-seeing eye. Only he will decide when to close it.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
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Sep 27, 2016
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I will never tire of seeing articles that link to that salty-as-seaweed Ray Ratto deadspin piece, nor this bit from said piece:

As a result, the game was never fun, and it was never exciting, and it was never suspenseful or filled with whimsy or even glimpses of distastefulness unless you want to see Tracy Wolfson nearly being trampled to death by a wall of camera-toting hell-cows stage-rushing the guy who wasn’t the MVP. In many ways, its gargantuan dullness is the only thing about it that did exceed expectations. Maroon 5 was edgier, and by a considerable margin.
That's a Diablo 2 reference, isn't it?
 

Al Zarilla

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https://www.rotoworld.com/article/goal-line-stand/nfls-best-coaches-2019

1. Bill Belichick
Career Record: 261-123 (.680)
With The Patriots Since: 2000
Last Year’s Ranking: 1

2018 was the Patriots’ worst regular season since 2009. They went 11-5. The last time Bill Belichick’s team notched fewer than 10 wins was 2002. They have averaged 13 victories since 2003. As head coach of the New England Patriots, Belichick has won 11.3 percent of the Super Bowls ever played. The last three times he lost a playoff game, he hoisted a Lombardi the following year. Belichick’s death star has no design flaws. There are only strengths to be improved upon. On the rare occasions Belichick loses control, order is immediately restored. Seth Wickersham exposed some nasty behind-the-scenes dysfunction in January 2018. Belichick’s response? Make the Super Bowl twice in the next 13 months. Challengers come and go. Occasionally, a Nick Foles or David Tyree pulls a fast one. More typical is what happened to Andy Reid and Sean McVay’s “future of football” in the postseason. Reid and McVay really are moving the game forward, but it’s to a place Belichick has already been. He is the sport’s all-seeing eye. Only he will decide when to close it.
We’re lucky he didn’t ride off into the sunset after the 2014 or 2016 or 2018 seasons. Same with Tom.
 

BaseballJones

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Just because I was going over the Super Bowl again.... looking at the box score...wow the Patriots really dominated the game.

First downs: NE 22, LA 14
Rush yards: NE 154, LA 62
Pass yards: NE 253, LA 198 (including sacks)
Total yards: NE 407, LA 260
TOP: NE 33:10, LA 26:50

And that all includes the Rams' last drive which was kind of garbage time (of sorts), in which they gained 45 pretty useless yards. Without that, the Rams are held to just 215 total yards, which is pretty amazing.
 

Super Nomario

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Just because I was going over the Super Bowl again.... looking at the box score...wow the Patriots really dominated the game.

First downs: NE 22, LA 14
Rush yards: NE 154, LA 62
Pass yards: NE 253, LA 198 (including sacks)
Total yards: NE 407, LA 260
TOP: NE 33:10, LA 26:50

And that all includes the Rams' last drive which was kind of garbage time (of sorts), in which they gained 45 pretty useless yards. Without that, the Rams are held to just 215 total yards, which is pretty amazing.
I wrote about this for ITP; the game really should have been a blowout, but the Pats couldn't do anything offensively on LA's side of the field, and Johnny Hekker kept flipping field position with his punts so the Patriots couldn't even get FGs out of their yardage edge: http://insidethepylon.com/nfl/teams-nfl/afc-east/new-england-patriots/2019/02/07/super-bowl-liii-blowout-wasnt/
 

BaseballJones

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I wrote about this for ITP; the game really should have been a blowout, but the Pats couldn't do anything offensively on LA's side of the field, and Johnny Hekker kept flipping field position with his punts so the Patriots couldn't even get FGs out of their yardage edge: http://insidethepylon.com/nfl/teams-nfl/afc-east/new-england-patriots/2019/02/07/super-bowl-liii-blowout-wasnt/
Good article. I know that LA had the two chances to Cooks that he dropped and/or had the Pats break up. Plus the FG attempt late. Otherwise, they didn't really have any other scoring chances.

The Patriots definitely stalled.

Pats' possessions (not counting kneel downs)
First possession: Marched right down the field to the LA 34 and then had the Brady interception.

Second possession: Marched right down the field to the LA 33 and had a first and ten there, but then stalled and Ghost missed a FG.

Third possession: Marched from the NE 19 to the LA 40, but the drive stalled and they punted.

Fourth possession: Marched from the NE 37 down to the LA 24 and kicked a FG.

Fifth possession: Three and out, ended up punting.

Sixth possession: Drove from the NE 27 all the way to the LA 32. Instead of kicking another FG, they went for it on fourth down and failed to convert.

Seventh possession: Drove from the NE 8 to the NE 49 - thus gaining 41 useful yards before stalling and punting.

Eight possession: A penalty, but essentially a three and out for a punt.

Ninth possession: Moved from the NE 25 out to the LA 44, but couldn't convert a 3rd and 4 and punted.

Tenth possession: 69 yard touchdown drive.

Eleventh possession: 72 yard drive ending in a game-clinching FG.

So yeah, other than basically two possessions (their 5th and 8th), they moved the ball well and put themselves in a position to score. They really should have scored a minimum of 6 more points (missed FG and the failed fourth down conversion), but had opportunities for a lot more points, despite only running one play in the red zone. LA was classic bend but don't break, allowing the Patriots to move the ball all night, changing field position, but rarely giving up points.

It would have worked too, except that NE's defense was even better.
 

rbeaud

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I wrote about this for ITP; the game really should have been a blowout, but the Pats couldn't do anything offensively on LA's side of the field, and Johnny Hekker kept flipping field position with his punts so the Patriots couldn't even get FGs out of their yardage edge: http://insidethepylon.com/nfl/teams-nfl/afc-east/new-england-patriots/2019/02/07/super-bowl-liii-blowout-wasnt/
Was there something special about the LA kicking game that made Edelman play catches (or not) the way he did? For example, on that SB record punt a free catch would have saved several/many yards. It seemed that Edelman had a couple like that one. Maybe a few less yards to drive on one or two plays leads to more points.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Good article. I know that LA had the two chances to Cooks that he dropped and/or had the Pats break up. Plus the FG attempt late. Otherwise, they didn't really have any other scoring chances.

The Patriots definitely stalled.

Pats' possessions (not counting kneel downs)
First possession: Marched right down the field to the LA 34 and then had the Brady interception.

Second possession: Marched right down the field to the LA 33 and had a first and ten there, but then stalled and Ghost missed a FG.

Third possession: Marched from the NE 19 to the LA 40, but the drive stalled and they punted.

Fourth possession: Marched from the NE 37 down to the LA 24 and kicked a FG.

Fifth possession: Three and out, ended up punting.

Sixth possession: Drove from the NE 27 all the way to the LA 32. Instead of kicking another FG, they went for it on fourth down and failed to convert.

Seventh possession: Drove from the NE 8 to the NE 49 - thus gaining 41 useful yards before stalling and punting.

Eight possession: A penalty, but essentially a three and out for a punt.

Ninth possession: Moved from the NE 25 out to the LA 44, but couldn't convert a 3rd and 4 and punted.

Tenth possession: 69 yard touchdown drive.

Eleventh possession: 72 yard drive ending in a game-clinching FG.

So yeah, other than basically two possessions (their 5th and 8th), they moved the ball well and put themselves in a position to score. They really should have scored a minimum of 6 more points (missed FG and the failed fourth down conversion), but had opportunities for a lot more points, despite only running one play in the red zone. LA was classic bend but don't break, allowing the Patriots to move the ball all night, changing field position, but rarely giving up points.

It would have worked too, except that NE's defense was even better.
The missed FG and the turnover on downs were effectively like turnovers and so even though the game goes down in the books as 1:1 it was more like 3:1.

The question I think is interesting to explore for the ITP type folks and others who understand Xs and Os is whether there was something about how the Rams played that contributed to bend but don't break. Just off the top of my head it seems like the open parts of the field were over the middle and it seemed relatively easier for the Patriots to take advantage of long fields but harder when the fields started to get more compressed.
 

brandonchristensen

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Rook05

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I love that whenever the NFL Network plays “Super Bowl Classics” there’s a good chance the Pats will be winning again.
 

Al Zarilla

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I love that whenever the NFL Network plays “Super Bowl Classics” there’s a good chance the Pats will be winning again.
Or Top Ten Super Bowls (I don’t think it’s the same thing) now always has like 4 Patriots ones, and you just have to fast forward through that disgusting one, you know (I usually record and watch later).
 

simplyeric

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Or Top Ten Super Bowls (I don’t think it’s the same thing) now always has like 4 Patriots ones, and you just have to fast forward through that disgusting one, you know (I usually record and watch later).
The Scottish Game.
 

Bellhorn

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Was there something special about the LA kicking game that made Edelman play catches (or not) the way he did? For example, on that SB record punt a free catch would have saved several/many yards. It seemed that Edelman had a couple like that one. Maybe a few less yards to drive on one or two plays leads to more points.
The record punt was a line drive on which he had to make a quick judgment call. And he may have been the slightest bit skittish after the near miss in KC
 

PedroKsBambino

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Just for the record, I didn't find this Ratto piece to be salty at all. I found it sincerely admiring.
Agreed. I know a lot of Pats-haters and that column more or less encapsulated where they all were after the game: unhappy with the game and the outcome, but with utmost respect for Belichick (first and foremost) and the Patriots and what they continue to accomplish.

It is for me the greatest accomplishment of this team: they have won the respect of almost all of their most fervant haters. If I were Sptgy33 I'd say it's like a real-life version of the end of Rocky IV...
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Agreed. I know a lot of Pats-haters and that column more or less encapsulated where they all were after the game: unhappy with the game and the outcome, but with utmost respect for Belichick (first and foremost) and the Patriots and what they continue to accomplish.

It is for me the greatest accomplishment of this team: they have won the respect of almost all of their most fervant haters. If I were Sptgy33 I'd say it's like a real-life version of the end of Rocky IV...

Also, Ratto's first piece over at Deadspin was titled one thing but surprised me by coming to the conclusion in an entirely unexpected way:

https://deadspin.com/hate-the-patriots-for-the-right-reason-1832130758

Money quote:

But we digress. Hate the Patriots for whatever reason you choose if you feel the need, or even if you just believe in the value of traditional enmity. No matter how big a party you attend this weekend, sports is still a personal experience, even if all it is is hitting that parlay that gets your kid’s dentist bill paid. Nobody is more qualified to tell you what to hate than you. Except, of course, me. I’m definitely more qualified.

It’s just important that you understand that what you really hate now, more than any of the creepy things the Patriots have ever done or been or represented, is the fact that you still can’t dance on their graves. They didn’t die on your timeline, the bastards.
 

simplyeric

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Just for the record, I didn't find this Ratto piece to be salty at all. I found it sincerely admiring.
Oh it was salty as hell. Admiring, definitely. Begrudgingly admiring. But in what I felt to be (mostly) a fun way.
edit: I mean "salty" in the sense of a cranky sports fan venting his frustration, not "salty" in the sense of tasty tears. They are definitely different.

Right. I prefer to not even acknowledge it with that handle.
So, the Scottish Name for the...y'know...
 

drleather2001

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“Bell, Brown and Ben formed the most famous WB, WR, RB combo since the 90s cowboys”

I mean...not really? Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, Marshall Faulk and Manning, Edgerrin James, and Marvin Harrison were all, on par, more accomplished and famous than the three from Pitt.

They are really good (well, BR is fine whatever) but I think the writer is begging the question a little bit. Or maybe just proceeding from a false premise. Don’t shoot me.