Tebow '11 = Brady '01? Some see similarities


Tebow '11 = Brady '01? Some see similarities

DENVER - The 2011 Broncos were 1-4 when Tim Tebow made his first start for them this season. Eight games later, they are 8-5.The 2001 Patriots were 0-2 when Tom Brady made his first career start. After Week 13, they were 8-5. While Tebowmania is a national phenomenon, people in New England only need to look back a decade to realize the situation happened here first. An overlookedquarterback taking over a lagging team going nowhere and - by dint of his charisma, execution and smarts - turning it into a winner.

"You can't say enough about that kid. He has a tremendous amount of confidence. He has led this team. Maybe he doesn't have the most impressive statistics, but it doesn't matter. The kid knows how to win. He knows how to motivate other players. My hat is off to the guy."

That was Patriots wide receiver David Patten in 2001 after the Patriots won the Super Bowl. And it's just about the same party line being spouted on Tebow right now.

As Brady and the Patriots continued to roll up wins in 2001, his success actually became a controversy. Having gotten the chance to start because of Drew Bledsoe's severed artery suffered in Week 2 of that season, people believed Bledsoe was getting a raw deal. And the rush was on to discredit Brady's success as beginner's luck and talk about how he was running a dumbed-down offense that didn't reveal his weak arm.

But the team-wide confidence Brady seemed to somehow imbue an ailing organization with was palpable.

"We discovered how fierce of a competitor he is," Lawyer Milloy said before the 2002 season. "I'll never forget the time I spent with him in Pittsburgh before the championship game. We had dinner and just really had a chance to bond, to talk like we never had before. "Well, I walked away from that meal thinking, 'As long as he's leading us on offense and I'm leading the defense, we are going to be OK for a while.' "

Broncos coach John Fox won't try to pin down his quarterback's ability to raise his teammates' level of play, but he says it there.

Its hard to define," said Fox. "Theres no question that he has that spirit and that spark and the trusting of his teammates. To say its all him, I dont know that it would be fair, either, but hes a part of it. Theres no doubt.

Troy Brown was Brady's No. 1 receiver in 2001 and he's fascinated by Tebow's rise.

"We can talk about Denver and their playing sucky opponents . . . whateverTim Tebowhas said or speeches he's made, there's something about him right now that has this team believing," said Brown.

Similar to Brady?

"The same feeling," Brown insists. "Tom was always a confident guy. I remember talking with (fellow receiver Vincent Brisby) and Tom would interact with starting receivers and ask what we expected. At the time he was a third team guy and he was acting like he was playing tomorrow. This wasat OTAsand minicamps. You kind of saw something different about the guy. You'd think, 'This guy looks about 150 pounds. He's frail, thin but his compete level is through the roof.'

"Having Tom gave us that spark the way Tebow is having out in Denver. Some people have that in them to make people want to rally around them."

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski attended the Dayton 500 in true Gronkowski form.

He appeared to be there promoting Monster Energy drink, and was therefore hanging with the Monster Girls, who were also promoting the drink. Gronkowski's herniated disc injury, which required surgery in December 2016, does not seem to be slowing him down as he gets warmed up for the Summer of Gronk.

During the race coverage on FOX Sports, Gronk delivered a speed limit joke, which is sure to make the 13-year-old in you chuckle. (You can watch it here.)

[H/T NESN.com]

Curran: It's time to let the air out of Deflategate

Curran: It's time to let the air out of Deflategate

I think it’s time. Time to let the Deflategate wound scab over. Time to exit the active, raging, teeth-gnashing, petition-signing, lawsuit-filing portion of the program and let the hate follow its natural course into a slow-boil loathing.

If you are of Irish descent, you know how it works. Clear a big-ass space on the grudge shelf. Put Roger Goodell, Jeff Pash, Mike Kensil, Troy Vincent, Ryan Grigson, Jim Irsay, every shiv-wielding owner, all the cluck-clucking media and the legion of retired players and exiled GMs from Marshall Faulk to Joey Porter through Marty Hurney and into Bill Polian up there. Turn off light. Leave room.

When you need to piss yourself off -- in traffic, mowing the lawn, waiting for your coffee -- fetch ‘em down, blow the dust off and when you’re in a sufficiently foul mood, return grudge to shelf.

You rode the roller coaster. You’ve been there, done that and have all the T-shirts.

I came to this conclusion a few days ago, when ESPN’s Cari Champion interviewed Rob Gronkowski and asked about Goodell visiting Gillette. It was like playing “Get the Stick!” with a big goofy Lab. Champion threw the leading question, Gronk fetched -- tail-wagging --  and returned with a slobbery response that was completely implausible but still designed to dominate a four-hour news cycle.

"The fans are nuts, they’re wild, and they have the Patriots’ back no matter what,” said Gronkowski. “They have [Tom Brady’s] back. I’m telling you, he won’t get through the highway if the fans saw him. I don’t even think he can even land in the airport in Boston because Patriot fans are the best fans, they’re the most loyal fans. I’m telling you, they might just carry out Roger themselves. They couldn’t even get to the stadium in Foxboro if he landed in Boston."

Gronk’s just doing what he thinks he’s supposed to do. And Champion is, too. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Watch these mooks up in New England get all pissed off: “Hey, hey, Chowderhead . . . Roger Goodell . . . . ”

“F*** that guy, he better never show his face in Foxboro! But I want him to come to Foxboro so I can boo the ever-living s*** out of him and maybe barricade Route 1 like Gronk said we would!”

See? Works every time.

The irony is that the person mainly responsible for turning up the burner on this is Robert Kraft.

In May 2015, Kraft said at the owners meetings in San Francisco, “I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months. I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us, and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric, and we won’t appeal.

“Now, I know that a lot of Patriots fans are going to be disappointed in that decision, but I hope they trust my judgment and know that I really feel at this point in time that taking this off the agenda, this is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans, and the NFL, and I hope you all can respect that.”

Well, that blew up like an ACME bomb. And -- from that moment on -- Kraft has tried to recoup the fanbase that believed he sold them out by issuing a succession of calls-to-arms that the region has dutifully responded to.

The most recent was throwing down the gauntlet to Goodell by expressly inviting him to the 2017 season opener.  I mean, it would have been a conversation point anyway, but now it’s metastasized into something that will be discussed throughout the offseason, ratcheting up in early September and hitting a crescendo on opening night.

There is appeal to seeing Goodell squirm while knowing the Maras, Rooneys and Irsays will be sipping highballs and lamenting the caddish treatment of Poor Roger. But I still like the football better.

Conversation about the historic import of SB51, the legacy of Brady and Belichick, prospects for the league in 2017? I’ll take those rather than an ESPN “personality” who spent a weekend in Newburyport at a friend’s wedding telling everyone what the mindset of the New England sports fan is.  

But that’s not what we’re going to get. There will instead be ever-escalating predictions of the terrors Goodell will be subjected to fueled by interviews with tatted-up kids from the mean streets of Marshfield who wanted “Hoodie” fired when he let Revis sign with the Jets.

Unless . . . unless the region en masse decides to let its loathing mature. Mature to the point that when the carrot gets dangled in its collective face it doesn’t leap at it with teeth bared but instead says, “No thanks. Already full.”

Yeah. I don’t think it’s gonna happen either.