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The Tom Brady Effect

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Tom Brady participating in drills at the Patriots' 5/27/09 OTA
Tom Brady participating in drills at the Patriots' 5/27/09 OTA

Not gonna write about Tom...Not gonna write about Tom...Not gonna write about Tom...DANG IT!!  I have to write about Tom.  Unfortunately, it's my responsibility to feed the media frenzy surrounding "His Terrific-ness", to step in line with the rest of the MSM and the blogosphere by tapping out a dozen stories or so about what will end up being the most over written subject in the sports world for the next who knows how long.  There's some killer basketball going on, people!!!  Ok, our Celtics aren't part of it, but you get the point.

Tom is everywhere - in every media outlet, that is.  A quick scan of Marima's Shots Heard 'Round the Web and I found roughly nine links referencing wonderboy.  One of the funniest stories, because it was so dead on, was written by Providence Journal's Shalise Manza Young and she poetically describes tomorrow's OTA (MSM allowed) as having a "circus-like feel":

When media are allowed to observe the New England Patriots' organized team activity on Thursday at Gillette Stadium, one gets the distinct notion that it will have a circus-like feel.

You can almost hear the carnival barker: Step right up, folks, it's the moment you've all been waiting for! Tom Brady on the field for a Pats practice!

Yep, cotton candy, knock the milk bottles over, ferris wheels (I hate ferris wheels), roller coasters (I LOVE roller coasters) name it, it'll most likely be there as long as Kraft can collect a licensing fee.  This will be one of the most watched knees in the history of sports.  I don't mean to sound pompous or overblown, but it's true.  As a Pats fan, I'm already sick of it and want to watch the team begin to gel, to see how the new personnel will contribute.  As a rival fan, you must be so sick of the endless media blitz that you're about to gag.  Remember that feeling, because that's what gameday is going to feel like.  It'll be WORSE than 2007.

I don't mean to insinuate that Brady was settling in, but no longer going for the "I'm the hardest worker" parking spot and all of those locker room awards might have had the appearance of riding on veteran status.  That's probably the furthest thing from the truth, but after reading Peter King's interview with Brady, all I can say is, "WOW!!"  Tom's a little fired up:

"So, this year if I hear [the Pats have] two-a-day practices? Great! Let's have three. Whatever you say, Coach. You need something from the players? Let me know, and I'll do what I can to get the players to do it."

Maybe absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Maybe Tom's itching to get back with the gang.  Maybe a full season away from football has driven Tom to distraction.  I believe it.  From the same story:

This time Brady called one of the new plays with a hand signal; to further test Moss, he quick-snapped and backpedaled, seeing if his receivers would figure out what to do.

Moss guessed wrong, walking off the line of scrimmage confused. "What are you doing?" Brady yelled.

"I don't know," Moss said. "What [play] is it?"

Brady called out the name, then said, triumphantly, "I'm going home! I got Moss today! I got you!"

Even Moss had to laugh.

This sounds like a guy having fun, happy to be back where he should be.  And I'm glad he's there.  Throughout the course of 2008, I complained Cassel didn't have that elusive connection that top QB/WR pairs like Brady/Moss seem to attain so effortlessly.  That connection where Brady knows EXACTLY where to put the ball so only Moss can get it.  That same connection is responsible for those subtle moments when a simple head nod changes everything:

Moss likes to be challenged, and he's one of the best in the game at reading his quarterback's subtle signals. Moss showed that in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLII when, after seeing a simple nod from Brady, he adjusted his route, cut inside the cornerback and caught a six-yard touchdown pass to put the Patriots up 14-10 over the Giants.

The Tom Brady Effect is about talent, but it's also about his impact on his teammates.  You can already hear it in the way Welker and Moss are talking:

"The sky's the limit for this offense," Moss tells Graham in a Monday interview. "I think that we could be a little bit better than two years ago. I'm very excited for us as an offense. I'm excited for us as a team. There's a lot of good things about Tom Brady coming back that excites the people, the fans, the coaches and the players around here. All we can hope is to come out with smoking guns."

And my favorite Moss-ism:

"This year, it's going to be a little bit scarier because we do have two years up under our belts"

Scarier, I like that.  When do we play the Colts?