Lost in the holiday weekend and amid all the Bruins Stanley Cup coverage was one of the most most ridiculous, asinine, and just plain dumb exchanges I've heard on the local sports media scene.
It took place on Monday during CSNNE's Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight, with Gary Tanguay and Michael Felger. The duo were discussing the NFL, and the state of the lockout, and talk turned to workouts being organized around the league by the players, and eventually turned on Tom Brady. Let's examine the exchange, piece by piece:
Gary Tanguay: ...but there are other quarterbacks, like Drew Brees, who are holding camps with their teammates, and I think this does make Tom look bad. It's obvious there is a disconnect between Tom and his team. It's not like it used to be, you see it especially on the sidelines during the season. That's just the way it is, and I think its part of what you have to accept with Tom Brady.
Where do I begin with this statement? It's obvious there is a disconnect between Tom and his team. This is based on what, exactly? Last year there was a well-publicized "disconnect" between Brady and the front office regarding his contract, a notion that was revealed to be false when Brady signed a new contract with the Patriots. (Meanwhile Peyton Manning still does not have a contract with the Colts.)
What is this nonsense about the sidelines? Is Tanguay saying Brady is not a leader on the sidelines? This incident from the Steelers game this season seems to definitively rebut Tanguay's assertion. In fact, the analysis posted with that video reads "Some teams win statement games. This was a statement outburst by Brady. There have been unfounded whispers that he's become too Hollywood, what with his marriage to a supermodel and the Bieber-like haircut."
Seriously. What in the world is Tanguay talking about? Anyone have a clue?
During this discussion video of Brady dancing in Rio and going down a water-park slide was shown. Then this came next:
Michael Felger: And none of this matters if he's winning playoff games. The fact that he is 0 for his last three playoff games, and the team has not performed well when it counted most for several years now I think, opens that door. If he's still got rings on his fingers, people are like "Yeah, you go down that slide, bad boy! You make whatever sort of hand gesture you want." So I think, you know, part and parcel with that.
Who are these "people" of which Felger speaks? And it is 100 percent Brady's fault that the team has lost these games?
Tanguay: Well, also in addition to the playoff losses, everyone talks about not being there for his team, offseason conditioning and all that, but that horse has left the barn for Brady. He's just not that guy any more.
Nope. Not that guy anymore. He's the guy who came into town this week, and over 40 members of the team came out to work out with him. Brady led the offense. Jerod Mayo led the defense. But he's not there for his team. He's not that guy anymore. The events of this week make Tanguay's first comments above even more ridiculous. Because the Patriots had not yet had a big team workout, it made Brady look bad? So now that they've had them, and Brady was front and center, how dumb does Tanguay look?
As WEEI.com's Christopher Price wrote on Thursday:
In the end, the fact that attendance for Wednesday’s workout was so high shouldn’t be a surprise, but ultimately serve as the latest example that now more than ever, this remains Brady’s team. His involvement — and the numbers that resulted because of it — remains a tribute to the level of respect he commands in the New England locker room.
Felger followed up Tanguay's comment with:
Felger: That started to be an issue YEARS ago, and I remember bringing it up years ago, and people were like Felger you're a DB, you're a contrarian, you're an idiot, it's not an issue.
No, Felger, on this issue, you ARE all of those things.
Tanguay: It was right after the Super Bowl they lost..
Felger: For years. Tom said, one spring camp, he said 'you know what, I don't care about the parking spot anymore.'
Tanguay: Right. And that was right after the loss to the Giants.
So wait a minute, "right after" the Patriots lost the Super Bowl to the Giants, Tom Brady held a press conference and announced "You know what, I don't care about the parking spot anymore." According to these guys, this is exactly what happened.
Felger: If that's not a warning sign, what is?
Tanguay: It's also when he got the ring on his finger.
A warning sign of what, exactly? Brady's waning commitment to his career and making himself better? As Felger and Tanguay's colleague on CSNNE.com, Tom E Curran noted there similar outcry last offseason, and how it turned out:
Then, when the season started, he led the Patriots to a 14-2 record, threw 36 touchdowns and four picks on an offense populated with virtual unknowns. Then he was named NFL MVP. Unanimously.
Then, seemingly directly addressing Felger and Tanguay, Curran says:
Oh, they lost to the Jets in the playoffs? If anyone wants to say with a straight face that happened because Brady was in Cannes doing his nails on a veranda in May, they forfeit the right to have their opinion valued.
I understand that Michael Felger and Gary Tanguay are more into opinion, not fact. I understand that this particular program is by design slanted to create debate and discussion. But this conversation was so far out of whack with reality that it's hard to even fathom.
Felger has morphed into a Tom Brady-basher, an ironic position given that he was one of the QB's earliest supporters in the area. Apparently somewhere along the line, Brady stopped talking to him, (something Felger himself has mentioned) and now he rarely misses an opportunity to tell us how far Brady and the Patriots have been in a state of dégringolade over the last few years.
Unrelated to this, here are a couple worthwhile reads this week:
Love of the game took Mike Emrick from Fort Wayne to the Cup final - Bruins fans have heard a lot of 'Doc' Emrick this postseason. Richard Deitsch os SI.com has a profile of the NBC/Versus announcer.
Can Bill Simmons Win the Big One? - With Grantland set to launch on June 8th, Jonathan Mahler of the New York Times Magazine profiles Simmons and his success.