One concept that's probably hard to grasp if you're not from New England is the general, pervasive dogma that says nothing is ever good enough. Even being 9-1 and coming off a road win against an NFL contender is not considered a reason to believe things are working out according to plan. That 90% might get you an A- on your Calculus test. But around here there's only one class and it's graded on a strict championship/fail basis.
Which is why, ever since Tom Brady gave this brief, curt, sort of pissy, Mr. Crankypants postgame press conference in Philadelphia, it's the only thing people are talking about. The reaction to his reaction is all the rage around here. And they run the gamut from "What's he mad for? He's the main reason they suck" to "He's got every right to be pissed off; they didn't give him any weapons."
I won't argue that he wasn't being unusually (for him) grumpy gills. This was him being me after the rare argument with the Irish Rose, when I'm still having the bad feelings but before I move past it by admitting I was dead wrong and she was 100% right and everything is all my fault. So my question isn't why anyone would think he was in a bad mood. He was extra, uncharacteristically persnickety, to be sure.
My question is, why would anyone NOT think this is a good thing?
That offense Brady is so frustrated with is currently:
--5th in the NFL in Points
--5th in Completions
--7th in Passing Yards
--5th in fewest Sacks Allowed
--5th in fewest Turnovers
And in all those categories, they trail a couple of teams that have played one extra game. In a lot of other categories like Passer Rating and Yards per Play, they're among the middle of the pack in the league. That is in spite of a major amount of injuries, one key retirement and the team going through wide receivers like Spinal Tap went through drummers. And help has arrived in the form of Mohamed Sanu, N'Keal Harry and this week, Isaiah Wynn. Virtually any other quarterback would look at that glass and say it's half full. Tom Brady looks at it and is frustrated that it's not filled to the top with league leading production. And that is a pure good. But it's being spun like somehow it's a reflection of a shitty attitude he's no longer capable of hiding. But to me it's the exact opposite.
Here's what he told Jim Gray last night on his weekly Westwood One radio spot:
“Our defense is playing great. Our special teams units are playing great. They’re keeping us in every game. And offensively, I’ve said we’ve got to take advantage when we get opportunities in short fields. We had a few of those and really didn’t, and those are the ones that probably frustrate me the most. …
I think when you get the ball on the 50-yard line a couple of times and don’t do anything with it, those are the frustrating ones. It’s one thing when you’re backed up on your own 5-yard line all day — and we haven’t had many of those — but there are some times that we’re getting great field position, the defense is putting us in great field position, and we’re not taking advantage of our opportunities. …
“There’s a lot of things we talk about internally. Things that we see that we need to do to continue to try to improve, which I would obviously not say that publicly. I don’t want to give our opponents any type of advantage. We’re going to have to just execute better than we did and better than we have.”
Oh, the horror. Oh, the humanity. Team-killing hopelessness of his terrible negativity that is permeating everything around him that will surely bring this Dynasty crashing and burning to the ground. A quarterback who was just unable to convert on a couple of drives that started at midfield saying he and the offense he runs need to execute better. I don't know how anyone can ever unhear those harsh words and go on with their lives. It's just a genocide of wrong.
I'm only guessing here, but maybe this is part of what he means about having to do better:
That's not me pointing fingers on Brady's behalf, because he's the most important component of a unit that's not playing their best. What I am saying is that what he's showing in these frowny face press conferences is leadership. It's what he should be saying and doing. They are not playing to their potential, and they need to start to or it might cost them the season. His "attitude" is exactly what you should expect from a guy whose entire adult life has been spent in a relentless pursuit of perfection and never, ever being satisfied.
Which, by the way, is the same approach he had when he took his team to within a missed extra point of a Super Bowl in 2013 throwing to guys like Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, Austin Collie and Michael Hoomanawanui. Or 2003 when his defense carried them to a championship while he was throwing to a declining Troy Brown, a still emerging Deion Branch (only a 54.8 Completion %), David Patten (40.5%) and David Givens, with Kevin Faulk at RB and Daniel Graham at TE. Or when he won Super Bowl LI without Rob Gronkowski and put up 33 points in Super Bowl LII without Julian Edelman. It's how he's always done done, whether he's had all the talent around him he could possibly need or didn't.
However good they're doing, they could always be doing it better. And with the players they've added, there is enough talent on his offense to win another title. Which is what they are going to continue to work on. And if you have an issue with it, the problem isn't Tom Brady's "attitude." It's you for not being able to able to recognize the obvious fact that Tom Brady's attitude has hung six banners. And counting.