Herald – The NFL is reviewing an incident between Tom Brady and Ed Reed during Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, and the Patriots quarterback apparently thought enough of it to call the Ravens safety to apologize. Brady slid to the ground on the final offensive play before halftime and kicked his right leg into the air at Reed. Ravens safety Bernard Pollard took exception to the play Monday, telling reporters in Baltimore it was dirty… “We talked on the phone,” Reed said. “He actually reached out to me, texted me. I tried to text him back, but the message exploded after 12 seconds, so I had to call him. “I told him, ‘You know, it’s good, man.’ ” Reed didn’t appear to have a problem with the play, noting Brady was in a vulnerable position and was trying to protect himself. “It’s a tough spot the quarterback is in,” Reed said. “I understand Brady’s point. He’s protecting himself. I know he’s a great player. I respect Brady and his game for all it stands for, and I know he’s not a dirty player.”
This story begs the question: Is it possible that the Patriots are too nice? Could it be that maybe the reason there are now 3rd graders in New England not old enough to have ever seen them win a championship is because they’re too respectful of their opponents? You look at the kind of guys they’ve drafted over the years and you see the profile of Bill Belichick’s “type” is the cerebral, highly coachable, team leader type. Team captains. Film room rats. Quiet guys who prefer to lead by example as opposed to yapping all the time. We can all cite examples of questionable character nutjobs he’s brought in and asked them to blend into the locker room with varying degrees of success. But by and large the Patriots roster is made up of articulate, high football IQ players who respect the game, respect their opponents and keep their cake holes shut.
But look at the results. Look at the teams that have ended the Patriots seasons and a pattern emerges. They’ve all been mouthy, chest-thumping, uber-confident shit-talkers who’ll not only kick you when you’re down, they’ll piss on your head for good measure. As much as I hate the word “swagger,” the Ravens, Giants and Jets have all had swagger:
*2010 Jets – Bart Scott does his infamous “Can’t stop a nose bleed. Feels great, can’t wait” rant on the Gillette field
*2011 Giants – Brandon Jacobs says Gisele “needs to just be cute and shut up” and “We decapitated them. They can’t wear that crown no more, baby.”
*2012 Ravens – Terrell Suggs calls them “arrogant fuckers”
There are dozens of other examples. Meanwhile I defy you to find one example of the Patriots shooting their mouths off after beating someone. You have to go back to what? The 2006 Divisional Playoff in San Diego when a handful of guys did the Shawn Merriman “Lights Out”? Willie McGinest taunting Pittsburgh fans “Cancel those reservations!” in 2001? The difference between then and now is those teams earned the right to be cocky and arrogant. They’d won championships and playoff games on the road when they were huge underdogs. I’ve always appreciated Belichick’s philosophy that running your mouth doesn’t help you win. But maybe it does. Football’s such an emotional game that maybe you can’t win without [sigh] “swagger.” I mean, you don’t hear Bernard Pollard apologizing every time he ends some Patriot’s season. That’s football. It’s a violent game. And it’s time to see a little more Pollard attitude around here and a little less Anna Welker apologizing for speaking the truth. More Ray Lewis insane screaming and less Vince Wilfork soft spokeness. A lot less apologizing for things they don’t need to apologize for and a little more “You’re goddamned right I kicked Ed Reed in the pills and I’d do it again. We’re trying to win a championship and he can bite my ass if he doesn’t like it.” A little less Patriots Way and a little more Cobra Kai No Mercy: