Now that my adrenaline levels regarding the super Bowl game have reverted to more normal levels, I must admit that I thought the game was over and that the Seahawks had the win in-hand early in the 4th quarter. With a ten point lead, they had just stopped the Pats and forced a punt; all they needed was a time consuming drive even if it came up dry to hold a two-score lead with only half a quarter to play. That was the drive where the Pats sacked Russell Wilson on third down to force a punt and from then on, it was Tom Brady who went into “Beast Mode”. The drive following that three-and-out stop by the Pats’ defense was eight plays and put the Pats only down 3 points with about 8 minutes left in the game.
Tom Brady is living proof that data and measurables only account for so much when it comes to measuring the potential of a prospective player. Recall please that Brady was not the #1 guy as the QB for the Michigan Wolverines. A guy named Drew Stanton who was a really good athlete and who played minor league baseball in the Yankees’ farm system was “The Guy”. Even at the combine, no one could possibly have been blown away with Brady’s speed, arm-strength or elusiveness. What Tom Brady has is “winning ability that arises from his approach to the game”. You can recognize that when you see it ex post facto; if any scout ever finds a way to detect it a priori, that scout will become the richest scout in NFL history by more than a mile.
Whether you love the Patriots or hate the Patriots, you should recognize that Tom Brady does not win games because of his immensely superior God-given physical skills. Tom Brady wins because:
He prepares to win as thoroughly as any other great QB in the game today and perhaps just a smidgen better on some weekends.
He commands a winning posture for himself on the field and that posture somehow becomes contagious within the offensive huddle. There is no ‘chemical formula” for what is going on here; nonetheless it surely seems to work and to be reproducible.
He surely acts/behaves on the field as if he is smarter than most of his opponents. I have no idea if the Wonderlic test would coincide with that observation but it would only magnify my skepticism about the value of the Wonderlic test should the test not confirm what I observe every season.
Early this year, lots of folks thought Tom Brady was washed up and that his career was over. The last half of the 2014 season – and Sunday’s Super Bowl game – pretty much put that thinking to rest. I have no idea how much longer Tom Brady can play QB in the NFL; but barring a catastrophic injury, he will be back next year and he will be very successful next year.
At about the other end of the quarterbacking spectrum from Tom Brady and a few elite others, there is news regarding Johnny Manziel. Manziel’s publicist let it be known that Manziel would be entering rehab to learn how to become “a better family member, teammate and friend.” Personally, I think this could be the shortest rehab stint in recorded history if Manziel were ready to hear and act upon this simple and direct statement of his life objective:
Stop being such a gigantamous [rhymes with “glass bowl”]
Seriously, Manziel’s behaviors from the end of his college career until the end of his rookie year in the NFL demonstrated that he was grossly immature, horribly under-prepared to be a starting QB in the NFL and severely lacking in self-awareness. Other than that, he showed the typical maturity of a 15-year old. Rehab works for some folks. I had a former colleague who was an alcoholic by any yardstick you might choose to apply. He went through rehab (AA was his “preferred provider”) and spent the final 20 years of his career completely sober and solidly proficient in his field. Rehab worked for him because he was committed to the objectives that rehab sought for him. My suspicion is that Johnny Manziel can too come out of a highly successful rehab session if he to makes himself committed to the objectives that rehab has for him.
Along that line, what I would want to know is how his entry to rehab came about. Was this his idea? That would be a very positive indicator… Was this his family’s idea? That would be a positive indicator – but not necessarily nearly as positive as if he made this decision on his own. Was this done at the urging/suggestion of his PR folks or other “handlers”? If so, this rehab will only come out as a long-term positive experience as a result of pure luck.
I am not going to pretend to know how this rehab idea and rehab event came about. Since I have no reason to wish for evil and/or failure to befall Johnny Manziel unless failure comes from his performance on a football field against NFL opponents, I hope this works. However, it should be clear from the tone here that I have my doubts…
The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that people bet almost $116M on the Super Bowl game in Nevada casinos and that the sportsbooks won a total of $3.2M on that handle. Look, a net win is a whole lot better than a net loss, but a win percentage of 2.8% is a small one for the sportsbooks here.
One other observation from the Super Bowl game if I may. The officials did not affect the outcome of the game nor did they insert themselves into the game in such a way that the average viewer came to recognize any of the officials. That last sentence, may sound like damning by faint praise, but I do not mean it that way at all. I think the officials did a very good job in the game by maintaining order – until the final moments when glandular thinking took over on the field – and they did so without making their penalty calls a focal point for the game.
Previous crews of officials in playoff games this year had not draped themselves in glory. I thought the crew here did a very good job.
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………