Tom Brady Lets The Saints Know They Ain’t Ready Yet 


Tom Brady is the type of cat that makes and breaks moments on a straight-up corporate, handle business tip. Despite his three Lombardi joints, MVPs, recognition as an immortal and the media’s obsession with his women, hair length and baby-blue eyes—you never get the impression that he is media thirsty.

Cats like Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and RG3 seem to have souls that seek celebrity, but Brady’s been to the mountain–top so many times, that it’s no big deal. He approaches everything in a NY Yankees type of fashion, in that other QBs career-defining moments would be casual sentences in his thick book of NFL comebacks, 4th-quarter heroics and masterful execution.

Tom Brady is the type of cat you can never let your guard down against. Reminds me of this kid from high school,  who used to get in fights all the time. In some of those contests, he was getting his guts busted up by some flashy-hands new jack, but eventually a straight right hand would come out of nowhere and silence the opposition. He did it often, until everyone came to expect that result.      

Brady shatters dreams and daggers opposing legacies. He’s also known to do insensitive things like  spit on family reunions. Just ask the New Orleans Saints. Sometimes he flips on his offensive lineman. Other times, he stomps up and down land like a spoiled kid, kicking down other kids’ building blocks and sets up his own construction site. One that’s often bigger and more magnificent.

Difference with Brady is, he doesn’t do it to show it off. He does it because he’s the first general in Bill Belichick’s championship army. They live to do it bigger than the next squad. Every year those openly public and silent partners on the anti-Pats bandwagon summon their inner B.I.G and “pray and pray for (the Pats) downfall.”

Sunday’s matchup was a battle of an undefeated Saints squad and a typically tough AFC East-leading Pats gang. Lately, the Saints (5-1) have been getting most of the love. The Patriots starting a season 5-1 is hardly a scoop. Analysts are so used to New England popping off 12-4 seasons that fans and pundits tend to focus more on the Pats deficiencies, than their actual performance.

This was supposed to be a definitive moment for Saints HC Sean Payton and Drew Brees, as they take another Super Bowl journey together, just one season after the embarrassing and destructive Bountygate scandal ripped the team to shreds. Commissioner Roger Goodell acted swiftly and harshly, suspending Payton for last year’s entirety. It wrecked their 2012, because without Payton, the intellectual point guard of this explosive Saints offense, even the great Brees couldn’t lead his talented team to the playoffs. It was a lost 7-9 season that people in New Orleans want to forget like Mystikal’s incarceration, the fact that Lil Romeo is actually Master P’s son and the fall of Magnolia Projects.

The low tide began to turn when former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue vacated all discipline to be imposed upon linebacker Jonathan Vilma, defensive end Will Smith, linebacker Scott Fujita and defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove.

With Payton’s 2013 return, the cipher is complete and Who Dat Nation is a go.  The Saints 5-0 start didn’t shock anybody, but the Patriots clash was definitely considered a measuring stick and possible Super Bowl preview.

In the end, it showed that the Saints have some work to do, because after  trailing 17-7, they took a 24-23 lead and had the rock with 2:46 to go and a chance to ice it.

Instead, they inefficiently gave Mr. Clutch 1:13 seconds to flip his bricks and he flooded the exiting Gillette Stadium crowd with another crucially chaotic comeback, tossing a TD with six seconds left to snatch a 30-27 win.

"What more can you ask out of your leader?" Pats running back Steve Ridley (2 TDs) said. "He put the team on his back and went out there and made the plays we needed to make."

Brady started the winning 70-yard drive, with no timeouts and completed passes of 23 yards, 15 yards and six more for a first down to the Saints 26. Then he threw two incompletions before connecting with Austin Collie for a 9-yard gain on fourth down and a first down at the Saints 17. After spiking the ball to stop the clock, Brady hooked up with rookie-wrecker Kenbrell Thompkins in the left side of the end zone for the W.

“We had everybody going to the end zone and (Thompkins) kind of snuck into the corner and I put it up there for him and he came down and made a great catch," Brady told "I have confidence in those guys. We're certainly not perfect out there. We're definitely just grinding."

Grinding like the weatherman in a hurricane, the Pats were facing the stormy possibility of losing two games in a row, one week after the Cincinnati Bengals manhandled them 13-6 and ended Brady's streak of 52 regular-season games with at least one touchdown pass. There are some who even suggest other pigskin slingers like Brees, who holds the NFL record with 54 straight games, are torch-jacking Brady’s position.

But on Sunday night Brees wasn’t holding any weight when the clock expired. He had to eat another plate of Brady crow. In Brady, we’re talking about a cat that holds the record for most playoff wins (17) and is tied with Brett Favre for most playoff games started (24).

“That’s what he does,” Belichick boasted about Brady’s game-winning drive, the 38th fourth-quarter comeback of his incomparable 14-year career.“That’s what he gets paid for. That’s why he’s so good.”

It’s a dish Tom himself has also tasted a few times at the hands of Eli Manning in two damaging Super Bowl losses. More often than not, however, he is the one serving it up and as much as the Saints are the sentimental favorite for NFL fans and haters of Goodell, Brady’s movie star looks don’t mean he’s conforming to Hollywood scripts.

If the Saints want to complete this awesome football story of  a broken family reuniting for another shot at glory, they have to figure away to get a handle on Terminator Tom because if they do get to the promise land, there’s a good chance Brady will be there too with his sickle and Grim Reaper, late-game savvy.  

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.