October 26, 2014

Brady Comments Spark Media Overreaction

Yesterday Tom Brady was asked by the local media to talk about some of the contracts recently given out around the league, specifically to fellow quarterbacks Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, as well as about his own situation.

Here is how Brady actually answered the first question:

Q: How do you see big contracts like Eli Manning’s affecting you in the future?
TB: I think it’s great. It’s great for those players. They’ve worked hard to deserve those. Any time a guy gets a contract, it’s a pretty cool thing. I’ve had that experience a couple times. It really shows the health of the league. It shows that the league has grown in places like London, into Mexico, up in Canada. There’s a lot of coverage and people enjoy watching the games so I’m happy to be a part of it. The league’s expanding and growing and hopefully I’ll be able to participate for as long as somebody else wants me. Those contract things always work themselves out one way or another. So I think the important part this time of year is to focus on the most important priority, which is having a great season. I’m committed to that and I know my teammates are committed to that. Hopefully, if we all go out and play well, we’ll all be playing for a long time.

Did you see anything controversial in those comments? Karen Guregian in the Boston Herald today, states that Brady’s comments were “so interesting.” From the above statement, Guregian says: Although that may not sound like much, Brady was essentially sending out a message. He knows there’s money out there because the league is prospering and teams are handing it out to players in large sums, so that shouldn’t be a problem when it’s his turn.

Really? Is that what you got out of it? Essentially sending out a message? Because I didn’t. Guregian, normally not subject to this type of idle speculation, infers something of a threat from Brady’s words.  I took Brady’s comments more to mean that he feels fortunate to be part of an industry that is still thriving and viable.

On the new WBZ-FM, the radio flagship home of the Patriots, midday host Gary Tanguay also jumped on the “threat” angle. It was angry, painful radio.

Then two questions later Brady was asked a follow up:

Q: On the contract issue, if they were to come to you to discuss a contract, would you really say ‘No, let’s talk about it after the season. I want to focus on football now’?
TB: If someone wants to pay you more money? I mean, I think we’re all probably underpaid, don’t you think? I mean, we all wish we were paid more, but that’s not the reality. We’re focused on this. I’m focused on this year. I’ve thought about it and I just want to go out and have a great year. Believe me, nothing is guaranteed; that’s what I learned last year. You don’t know if you’ll be out here next week or the following week so I think the most important thing is to focus on this week and the more prepared you are for this week, the less chance you’ll have to play poorly or to have an injury. If we have goals to have a great season, we’re going to need to be on the field playing and getting better.

Those two questions and answers were the only statements made by Brady on contracts. I’m still not seeing the threats.

But Guregian closes her column in the Herald today with these ominous words: If Brady is his normal self, he will cash in on another huge payday. The question is, will it be here or somewhere else?

Where anywhere is it implied that Brady is going to look for the largest contract he can get, even if it turns out to be elsewhere? A far more reasonable take is given by Christopher L. Gasper in The Boston Globe, who makes the following statements in his piece on the situation:

Brady measures his career in more than money. Based on the history that he and his agent, Don Yee, have when it comes to contracts, they’ll consider the deals the other members of the QB club signed as guidelines, but they won’t be a road map.

When contacted yesterday, Yee declined comment.

You can’t put a dollar value on the joy of winning or leaving a legacy. For Brady, the two are intertwined – his 101-27 overall record is the best during the Super Bowl era for any quarterback with at least 100 starts.

Brady’s next contract will likely be his last. There is no wing in the Hall of Fame for highest-paid players.

That is what seems to drive Brady and keep him with the Patriots.

You probably can’t put a price tag on Brady’s worth to the team and vice versa. Kraft has remained adamant that the sides will work out a deal because they always have.

Doesn’t that seem like a much more reasonable take on the situation and the comments? Christopher Price also has a calm take on the situation.

Brady’s comments were also naturally taken way out of context by the show following Tanguay’s on WBZ-FM, hosted by Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti.

It’s ironic that competitor WEEI (who hold the Red Sox rights) spends so much time praising and speaking positively of the Patriots, while thus far, WBZ-FM (which has the Patriots broadcasts) has been very negative and critical of the team. Yesterday, as noted,  Gary Tanguay construed Brady’s comments as a threat, while Felger and Massarotti took the contract comments as an opening to spend four hours bashing the Patriots.

F&M made sure to interlace their Patriots bashing every so often with comments like “They’re still the team of the decade” and “I’m picking them to win the Super Bowl this season” but the majority of their time was spent making statements such as the following:

“THE TEAM SCREWED BRADY WHEN HE SIGNED HIS LAST CONTRACT BY GIVING HIM RECHE CALDWELL AND DOUG GABRIEL AS RECEIVERS!!!”

This was Felger shouting this, and after every time he said it, he stated that Brady might remember this when it came time to get a new contract. When a caller tried to point out that the Patriots then gave Brady the most talented receiver in the game a year later in Randy Moss, it was dismissed with Felger stating that Brady would still remember that they wasted a prime year of his career with Caldwell and Gabriel, and that somehow this would be a factor when his contract comes up after next season.

This led into a whole session of shouted statements from the duo, such as:

“IF THEY’RE SO GOOD AT PUTTING A TEAM AROUND BRADY WHY DID THEY FINISH 31ST IN NEARLY EVERY DEFENSIVE STAT LAST SEASON???”

and

“THEY’RE NOT GREAT AT ASSEMBLING PERSONNEL…THEY’RE JUST LUCKY THEY’VE HAD THE BEST QB AND COACH THIS DECADE!!!!”

and a few times:

“THE OTHER STATION HAS TOLD YOUR FOR YEARS THAT THE COLTS AND JETS WOULD BE IN CAP HELL BECAUSE OF THE DEALS THEY’VE DONE….THEY’RE NOT!!!!”

Felger stated a number of times how the Colts have won a Super Bowl more recently than the the Patriots, and were in the playoffs every year, while the Patriots didn’t even make the playoffs last season. A statement that, considering how Felger had just finished stating how the team only won because they had Brady and Belichick, seems silly when Brady missed just about the entire season and the Patriots still went 11-5, becoming only the second team ever to have that record and not make the postseason.

and Massarotti chimed in with: “THE PATRIOTS AND THEIR FANS THINK ALL THEIR COMPETITION IS JUST DUMBER THEN THEY ARE!!!!”

Some of us chimed for years about wanting a viable second sports radio station in town. I’m beginning to re-think that wish. Maybe we shouldn’t be rooting for the demise of the Globe, either.

Wow, WEEI and The Boston Globe as the voices of reason for Patriots fans?

Comments

  1. I get so sick and tired of hearing the media drone on and on about how the Pats “screwed” Brady in 2006.

    You know who screwed Brady in 2006? DEION BRANCH AND HIS AGENT, who decide to hold out of training camp even though he had a year left on his contract at the time, and then basically forced a trade out of town.

    And the team did not lose the AFC title game that year because of the receivers. They lost because they were riddled with injuries and the flu on defense, and they defense wore down in the second half of that game (there also were three horrific calls and non-calls that went against the Pats in that game, but in the interest of not sucking on sour grapes, I will downplay that angle).

    They lost the Super Bowl after the 2007 season because a team with a great Front 7 overwhelmed their All-Pro laden offensive line, and because of one of the flukiest plays in Super Bowl history (the Manning escape–again, aided by egregious non-calls by the officials–and the Tyree helmet catch).

    I’m starting to expect this kind of nonsense from Felger, which really is too bad since he used to be good and fair before he became an electronic media whore. Why they ever chose Mazz to be his co-host is beyond me. He has displayed nothing but contempt for Patriots fans for years, yet this station saw fit to pair him with a football guy during football season?

    Ridiculous all around.

  2. Box_O_Rocks says:

    The sky am fallink!

    Well done Bruce, could you get me an autographed tin foil hat from Guregian?

  3. Great post. It’s so unfortunate that most sports reporters nowadays create their stories rather than reporting the facts. They don’t even understand football enough to have an intelligent conversation about it. That’s why WEEI is better because they have former players who actuqally understand what they are talking about. Felger is one of the worst and I will never listen to him. I care about football and I definitely don’t care about people like him trying to find or create a controversy.

    Their constant bugging the players about their contract situation only aggravates the situation. There are 53 members of the team, not even considering free agents, so there are always plenty contract discussions going on and the best way to handle them is to keep them between an agent/player and the team. How comfortable would Felger be if his salary was the subject of constant public discussions or if his wife was constantly nagging him how underpaid he is?

    It is difficult in sports because everybody’s compensation is public and players naturally compare themselves against other players with their current and past contracts. It is easy to feel like you are underpaid, but the team has to be smart and firm about it. It’s not like the Pats don’t spend the money. They are always spending to the cap and have one of the highest annual budget in the NFL. But when they don’t give out huge contracts, people call them cheap. Their believe is to have a deep team and they have been very successful with that approach.

  4. daniel nagy says:

    I am not impressed with any perjorative response to Tom’s answers. Who is anybody compared to him? If he came to dinner at my house I would treat him like the king. I am proud at this moment to defend his honor. So, there you have it. I really do believe in him, for as long as he lasts. Who can expect or believe in more than that when it comes to any exceptional human person? Dan Nagy

  5. After a decent start, Felger and Massarotti are doing to me what I previously thought unthinkable: they may actually be driving me back to the Big Show.

  6. NotRocketScience says:

    Thank you for the perspective.

    I would like to believe that Brady really doesn’t care that much about the money and just wants to be in a situation he loves and has a chance to win.

    I would also be fine believing that he and Yee have figured out that he is better off leaving some money on the table, winning with a better team and continuing to build his brand. He probably makes twice as much on his endorsement deals as he would by renegotiating his contract. This is more than just football compensation. Can you think of anyone out there who has a better brand right now? Maybe Michael Jordan? Lance?

    Not Rocket Science.

  7. DukeSavoy says:

    Tony Mas knows nothing about football and hates Patriot fans. Why would I listen to ANYTHING he has to say?

  8. Boston Dan says:

    Karen Guregian is a complete joke. I never read her articles through Bruce’s links, but just so happened to see a print copy of the Herald yesterday. She should be run off the beat by Patriots fans (a la Tomase) for that one She is allegedly a reporter right?

    Report the facts you f’n useless c*nt, don’t attempt to create them.

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