EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 1, 2013

Angry Pats fans again ignore the point

On Pro Football
Hector Longo

---- — Wow, Patriots fans are an angry bunch aren’t they?

It’s been four days since my recent Sunday Eagle-Tribune premise to trade Tom Brady went viral.

America has obviously remembered how to read, judging by the enormous Web traffic. I just wonder if digesting or comprehending the words is a lost trait.

I’ve read all the responses, yes even the ones that have told me to drop dead, and I have managed seven simple points that I’d like you all to understand:

1. I love Brady. He’s clearly the greatest QB of all time in my eyes. I’ve been at Foxboro for nearly every home snap the kid has taken — exhibition, regular season or playoffs — and taken in many on the road. There’s none better. Not Montana, Manning, nobody. Michael Katz of USA Today did all the block-copy work from Wikipedia on Brady when he mocked my column. He, and a lot of you people, are missing two key points. He’s 7-7 in his last 14 playoff games. And he is 35 years old. I say to move him, but only for a top package. What if you got Josh Freeman and Tampa’s entire draft? What if you got Patrick Peterson and Arizona’s whole draft, then turned around and dealt a No. 4 pick to the Niners for Alex Smith?

You make your football team better. And that’s all that matters to me.

2. How funny is it that Peyton Manning, the guy all you Pats sycophants loathe and point to as a playoff loser, has the same postseason record as Tom Brady over his last 14 games since 2004? And he’s got a title in that stretch that Brady doesn’t. The Colts had no problems parting with their 7-7 playoff QB and went from 3-13 to playoff contenders.

3. The division is yours as long as Bill Belichick hangs around. Look at the wretched state of the AFC East. Say Brady retired tomorrow. The Pats are still the clear-cut choice to win it. So stop worrying. Miami, Buffalo and the Jets are stagnant at best. I’d choose to call all three dead in the water and listing badly.

4. As a lifelong, 47-year-old New Englander, I lived through Red Auerbach’s refusal to move Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and Larry Bird until the “Big Three” disintegrated before our eyes. Remember Larry Legend laying on the parquet as his back spasmed? It set the Celtics’ franchise back a decade, just to be sure that LB and Kevin retired as true Celtics.

5. Honestly, what has Brady done in the postseason lately? Who has he beaten in the playoffs after 2004? No, I do not blame Brady for the Pats’ losing in the playoffs over the last eight years.

His lack of performance has contributed to the losses, but no more than a Jerod Mayo or Wes Welker or Vince Wilfork. Nor do I lavish praise on him when he throws a fistful of TDs in a first-round blowout of Denver then is overwhelmed a week later. He’s become decent in the playoffs, not great, and the team around has followed suit.

6. Russell Wilson, RGIII, Cam Newton, and Colin Kaepernick … They are the future of football. All can run and pass. Brady’s last big run came well before Bernard Pollard’s 2008 helmet-to-the-knee.

7. If you asked Belichick, I’m sure he’d admit, he’d trade all seven Adams Division banners — I mean AFC East titles — since 2005 for one more Super Bowl win.