NFL playoffs are forgotten quarterback Tom Brady’s time to shine
NEW ENGLAND - Reuters
The New England Patriots star Tom Brady (L) celebrates a touchdown with teammate Danny Woodhead. REUTERS PhotoTom Brady was never really part of the National Football League (NFL) most valuable player (MVP) discussion this season and was barely present on Twitter where Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow was trending worldwide.
But it will be hard to overlook Brady when his New England Patriots host the Baltimore Ravens on Jan. 22 to determine which team represents the American Football Conference in the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.
After years of excellence that have produced four trips to the Super Bowl and three titles in the past 11 seasons, football fans outside the Boston area appeared to take Brady for granted during the 2011 NFL season.
Despite leading the Pats to a 13-3 record and becoming just the fourth player to pass for over 5,000 yards in a season, Brady never featured in an MVP debate dominated by quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay and Drew Brees of New Orleans.
Brady was nudged even further out of limelight as Tebow-Mania swept the nation.
A victim of his own success, Brady threw for 5,235 yards and 39 touchdowns this season, a performance that was greeted with a ‘ho hum’ response from NFL fans who have come to expect nothing less from the seven-time Pro Bowl quarterback. But Brady’s brilliance finally shone through during last week’s divisional showdown against Denver when he delivered a quarterbacking master class by firing six touchdowns to tie an NFL post-season record in a 45-10 rout.
Even in the aftermath of the record-smashing performance, highlighted by five first-half touchdowns, Brady tried to share the spotlight by heaping praise on his teammates.
“The offensive line has been our biggest strength on offense,” explained Brady. “It was that way in the regular season and it continues to be that in the playoffs.”
While Brady operates with the cool confidence of a three-time Super Bowl champion his fiery competitiveness sometimes goes unnoticed but should not be underestimated. At 34 and in his quarterbacking prime, Brady has lost none of his desire, which seems to surface in key games.
He runs the Patriots offence with a surgeon’s clinical precision and reads opposing defenses like passages from a favorite book that he can recite from memory.
For Brady, the formula is simple.
“You show up to work, you put the preparation in,” said Brady. “You focus on the things you need to focus on, which is how to play your best, which is game planning, which is your scheme, which is your execution. Then you go through it.”