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Barak Obama's Pitch, Tom Brady, and More by Doug Cutler Jr

By Patriots Blog Writer Doug Cutler Jr.
7/23/09

First, a word about President Obama’s ceremonial first pitch at the MLB All-Star game

You’re the biggest guy on the planet, so to speak, and you are going to be performing a relatively simple physical task in prime-time on national television. Your stage is a pitcher’s mound and the venue is Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Millions of people will be watching you throw a baseball about sixty feet to the game’s best player. In other words, you’ll be doing something fairly important. Not “bring the troops home victorious” important or “travel across the globe apologizing for America” important, but throwing that particular baseball is a pretty decent gig nonetheless.

You’d think that taking a little bit of time to practice the complicated skill of throwing a ball the length of a house would be warranted in this situation. After all, it’s not like you’re just playing slow-pitch with your buddies down at the local field and then sitting down for a few beers. You’re throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of the Major League Baseball All-Star game, for crying out loud. Sure, it’s not the World Series (as much as Bud Selig wants you to think it is), but it isn’t exactly small potatoes, either.

So why on God’s green earth (day) would you risk looking like a limp softie by trotting out there and tossing something that looks like a sputtering, wayward ICBM before it self-destructs?

Was it the lack of a teleprompter?


“The best I ever saw” (part eight of a series)

As with most of the previous selections of “The best I ever saw,” this week’s choice is clearly head and shoulders above his peers. While they’ve had a couple pretty good quarterbacks since their inception in 1960, the New England Patriots have never employed a better quarterback than Tom Brady.

There is no question that Bill Belichick’s selection of Brady with the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft turned out to be one of the all-time biggest steals in league history. Four Super Bowl appearances, three championships, and one NFL MVP award later, it’s quite clear that Brady has already established a WWE death grip on a future first ballot hall-of-fame induction. It also doesn’t hurt his chances now that he’s the record holder for single season TD passes (50) or that he’s the fastest to reach 100 wins in his career (100-26).

Along the way, we’ve learned a few things about Brady’s approach to football. One of them is his determination to always improve some aspect of his game. Early on in his career, it was noted that his arm strength could be better. During that off season he worked out like a madman and came back with more zip on his out passes and the strength to hit the deep routes consistently. Another interesting story dates back to Super Bowl XXXVI, his first, when the Patriots faced the heavily favored St. Louis Rams. Even as competitive as he is known to be, Brady actually fell asleep in the locker room hours before kickoff, shedding light on his ability to take pressure in stride.

For years, people who weren’t convinced of Brady’s exceptionalness continually pointed to his statistics, extrapolating that the lack of gaudy numbers proved he wasn’t on par with the greats of his era (Peyton Manning and Brett Favre) or any other (Joe Montana, Dan Marino, John Elway, and Johnny Unitas). In 2007, Brady was given the chance to see what he could do when the governor was taken off his offense’s engine and with the addition of Randy Moss and Wes Welker to his receiving corps. Not only did Brady match the performances of the giants that came before him, he surpassed them, obliterating records seemingly at will.

Last year’s severe injury sustained in the first quarter of the first game marks a turning point in Brady’s career. Instead of being the assumed star ready for another 16+ game campaign, he enters the 2009 season with a host of questions. Will he be ready physically? Will he be ready mentally? Has he lost his timing, his sharpness, his gritty determination to win? Is he still the Tom Brady we knew before Bernard Pollard caved in his knee? These are all legitimate questions that will be answered one way or another this season. A reasonable expectation is for Brady to be competent enough to start and play, but anything beyond that is wishful thinking at best.

The most memorable play I’ve seen from him comes from the 2004 AFC Championship game. Even though the Patriots were 14-2 heading into the playoffs, they had to travel to Pittsburgh to take on the 15-1 Steelers. As was the case in 2001 when they also hosted the AFC title game, the Steelers assumed a great many things, including the eventuality that they would be representing their conference in the Super Bowl.

After an early Adam Vinatieri field goal, Brady and the offense got the ball back on their 40 yard line just as the first quarter was about to end. Only one play would be run before the clock showed 0:00 and that’s all the Patriots would need to add to their 3-0 lead. Brady took the snap, hit Deion Branch on a deep fly pattern for a 60 yard touchdown and Pittsburgh would again have to cancel their airline tickets and hotel accommodations, courtesy of the underdogs from New England.


Interesting statistic I’ll bet you didn’t know

For all of Brady’s accomplishments since taking over for Drew Bledsoe in 2001, he has only made first team All-Pro once (2007).


Answer to last week’s question:

Doug Flutie led an NFL team in passing four times (NE: 1988, BUF: 1998 & 1999, SD: 2001)

Question of the week:

What is the Patriots' all-time playoff record?

(Answer will be provided next week)

9 comments:

  1. Don't get me started on POSUS.

    I'm hoping Tom comes back ready to pick up where he left off. It'd be hard to imagine him not doing that.

    Good article, Doug.

    G

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  2. Obama's ceremonial pitch was pretty bad, I agree haha.

    Well-written, Doug. Article about Brady was class.

    - Mav

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  3. Barry -- AOP '90July 24, 2009 at 7:47 AM

    O's pitch was horrendous. Did you see that wind up and follow through? He pushed it, alligator-armed it,...sallied it. Hey, O, bring your husband next time, will ya'? Nice toss...Alice.

    All that being said...if O had to read a 5 minute address to the nation about the centerpiece of his administrartion - healthcare - instead of from memory or the heart I hardly expect him to be prepared to throw a small sphere 66'.

    Let's face it. All the Democrats are relentlessly portrayed as jocks and studs in the media throughout history. They are sooooo cool. Clinton was portrayed as an avid runner even with his doughboy frame. Kerry was a kite-boarder, skier and all around jock. Now, O is portrayed as a jock. However, we know he can't bowl, play golf and now throw. I've still yet to see any hoops ability - just heard about it. He's a nerd who had his milk money stolen from him in school and now it is payback.

    We never heard of W being an avid mountain biker - until he crashed, of course. We only hear of GH Bush skydiving once a year on his birthday.

    Brady: I'm not a Pats fan, but he is the man. QB at Michigan, superbowls, supermodels, good looking...heck, I think I'm falling in love with him now.

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  4. You can often tell how good you are by how many haterz you attract. Go to ESPN.com, and open ANY article about the Patriots - and watch 'em come out of the woodwork to hate on Tom Brady. The guy is simply awesome.

    re: the Obomination.... Fact is, NO ONE is more happy about his presidency than Jimmy Carter, who will no longer be Americas worst prez.

    Keep up the good writin' DCJr.

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  5. Very good article Doug, though calling Tom Brady a steal in the draft is grasping a little lol. I would say it was more like luck that Brady turned out so good, the right circumstances for sure. I must say, Tom Brady has endured and been so consistant that I would rank him very high all time....no doubt!

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  6. Just curious.....out of all those great QB's you listed I see you choose to leave out Troy Aikman. Why can't you Cowboy haters get past yourself and recognize great talent for what it si and get past the uniform? He's as good or better than just about everyone listed there.

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  7. obama = obamination.

    I guess he has trouble grasping anything smaller than a basketball or his wife's head. It was obviously the last place he wanted to be and he had no business being there.

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  8. Re: Troy Aikman.

    Of all the QBs I mentioned, I'd choose Aikman over only Brett Favre. All the other players were better than Troy, some significantly so.

    However, I don't think very many other people would choose Aikman over anyone my list.

    - Doug

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  9. The pitch was pretty pathetic. Pres. Obama might want to take lessons before he embarrasses himself again in such a manner.

    Of course, it's no skin off my back if he wants to embarrass himself through his entire presidency.

    ReplyDelete