There was a revealing, and, as yet, unnoticed moment in yesterday’s Super Bowl game, that was most revealing about the character of Tom Brady. The Barometer’s husband and son began hooting during the fourth quarter about the play that resulted in the ball going back to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tom Brady dropped the ball and the Eagles’Derek Barnett picked it up with less then two minutes to play. The excitement over Barnett and the turn of the game has shifted focus away from Brady’s beneath-dignity move. Watch and re-watch the video. You can see Brady’s head turn after he dropped the ball. He is looking directly at the scrambling Eagles. It is then that Brady raises his hand in the air (with no football) and pretends to throw the air ball. Brady was using a fake throw to try and get an incomplete pass call. And no ball for the Eagles. No Super Bowl. No call to destiny. No Philadelphians. finally able to exercise their unalienable right to roll cars over and smash store windows in celebration.
In the NFL, if the quarterback drops or loses the football while he is bringing the ball forward in a passing motion, and the ball touches the ground, it is considered an incomplete pass. If the quarterback drops or loses the football at any other time, it is considered a fumble, as if any other player had dropped it, and becomes eligible for pick-up, as Barnett did, and a field goal, which the Eagles did, taking them to the final, victorious score of 41-33.
Brady has pulled this make-it-look-like-an-incomplete-pass-move before. Sam Jennings, Barometer offspring, shared that Brady pulled the stunt in 2002 when the Raiders’ (from whatever city they were in then) quarterback, Charles Woodson, sacked Brady, which, at least initially, appeared to result in a fumble. Taking full advantage of that fumble was Raiders’ linebacker, Greg Biekert, who picked up the ball. That pick-up from a fumble would have been game-over for the Patriots and a victory for the Raiders because only a minute was left in regulation play.
Officials reviewed the play, and eventually determined that even though Brady halted his passing motion and appeared to be in the process of “tucking” the ball back into his body, it was rather an incomplete pass and not a fumble under NFL rules at the time. The original call in the Raiders’ favor was reversed. The Patriots got the ball back and positioned themselves for a 45-yard field goal that tied the game. In overtime, the Patriots got yet another field goal, which made them the winners of Super Bowl 36 (enough with the Roman numerals). Some say that was the beginning of the Patriots/Brady/Belichick franchise that brought 5 Super Bowl championships. Yesterday the streak was broken as Brady was hoisted by his own petard. His fake post-fumble pass looked desperate and not worthy of a world-class athlete. Also, it did not work. The inexplicable and gray-area behaviors of Brady and the Patriots finally caught up with them.
Some would say, “Do you think he was really that stupid?” The Barometer is reminded of a Gunsmoke episode in which Marshal Dillon warns a rancher to be on the look-out for a bad guy who is a suspect and the rancher is a potential witness against said bad guy. The conversation that follows goes, “I really don’t think he is that stupid as to try to hurt me.” The wise reply is, “Sometimes desperation is the same thing as stupid.” Desperation begets desperate moves, which are generally some form of cheating and always stupid.