Greetings Pats fans, I would say good morning but we all know its not. I'll be making a separate fan post for assorted SuperBowl thoughts.
Now, as the title says, I think we should stop starting Brady. Before you say I'm just upset about the loss or looking for someone to blame, hear me out.
I do not blame the loss on Brady. I do not think Brady is playing badly - instead, I'd say 2010-2011 have probably been the best back-to-back years of his career. However, football is, at times, a team sport. Look at all the teams that have crashed and burned after losing a SuperBowl - the Colts of 2009, the Cardinals of 2008, the Pats of 2007 entered a rebuilding stage that may not have ended yet, the Bears of 2006, etc. None of these teams have come back for the SuperBowl the next year, and most have looked downright awful.
So assuming this trend continues, I'd say the best we can hope for is a good rebuilding year in 2012, and maybe 2013. Brady's contract runs out in 2014, so that gives us a really slim window, if a window at all, to get Brady a 4th ring. And thats just talking about getting to the SuperBowl - if recent history is any thing to go on, even if we get there we'll require massive luck to win it.
Or, I guess I'll say it like this: This wasn't 2007. We had momentum. Our D was playing the best it has all year. Our O played absolutely perfect against the Broncos, failed against the Ravens, and yet we still won. The Giants pass rush wasn't there. We had chances for turnovers. If we can't win the SB this year, I don't think we'll be doing it for a while.
So, if Brady isn't likely to win any more SBs in his career, why keep starting him? Getting Mallet actual game experience, and preparing to lead another dynasty should become the primary goal. And if Mallet turns out to not be our guy, we have 2+ years during which we can just swap back in our x3 Superbowl Champion, x2 MVP, and first ballet HOFer QB for the while we work it out. This is a scenario beyond which any other team, besides perhaps the Colts can even dream about.
Now clearly I am not suggesting we trade Brady. Brady needs to stay here and be a positive influence for Mallet, with the goal being to make the transition as smooth as possible. Certain game situations, maybe even certain games in which Brady's play style and experience would be of value can still be left to him.
Furthermore, this scenario benefits Brady himself just as much as it does the team. If he starts taking, say, 1/3rd of the snaps he used to, he'll be taking less hits, having less situations in which he could be injured, etc. Ideally, this will keep him as low-mileage as possible. Whereas a starting Brady would have to retire in 2014-2016, if he only gets brought out for certain situations couldn't that push his retirement age up to 2017+?
There is no downside to what I'm suggesting. Like I said, if Mallet doesn't work out, we'll just put Brady in like we used and be back to square #1.
So heres my conclusion: even if we go 12-4, 13-3, or 14-2 next year, no matter who we start the Brady era is over. I can see no scenario in which we win another SuperBowl with him leading the team. The focus now should be on making any transition as smooth as possible, ideally making things easiest on everyone involved: Brady, by avoiding a Favre scenario in which he wants to play but is getting hurt on every play, Mallet, by giving him a solid 2+ years for him to transition and get used to things, and finally the Patriots organization by giving them 2+ years of "try before you buy" with whatever QB(s) they like best.