But that all seemed to change in the Patriots’ 2007 drive to perfection. The New York Giants found a chink in his armor and the once unflappable Brady became mortal with pressure up the middle which would ultimately be his undoing in his first Super Bowl loss.
Then the Chiefs’ Bernard Pollard ended Brady’s 2008 season with a knee injury. Since then, Brady has become tentative at times in the pocket, seeing ghosts that aren’t there, complaining to refs about late hits and people at his feet.
He’s become a different man, a different quarterback, no longer The Prince. Now the hunted king, upon whose head the crown rests, warily.
He sees ghosts in the pocket. When’s the last time he pulled the ball down and ran for a first down?
Last season then-offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien got in Brady’s face on the sidelines. It wasn’t because Brady messed up, but rather because when Brady messed up he put the blame on little used Tiquan Underwood. O’Brien called him on that.
After the AFC Championship game, a game the old Patriots would have won in similar fashion, rather than be excited about going to the Super Bowl, Brady got on the stand and said “I stunk.”
His thoughts were not of team, results and championships, but of “I,” performance and image.
Then in the Super Bowl he made critical mistakes at times the lethal assassin doesn’t and ultimately was equally as responsible as Welker was for dropping that pass.
When is the last time you watched a Patriot game and felt like Brady and the offense was going to either put their foot on their opponent’s throat?
Those days are long gone, and his opponents don’t fear him anymore. Oh, sure, in the week leading up to the game and then in the postgame, players and coaches will say the right thing.