Live interviews are particularly exciting (unless you’re part of a production crew that must scramble for the “bleep” button) when any of the following participants are involved: Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Terrell Owens, Rodney Harrison, Pedro Martinez and, in this case, Tom Brady.
Brady is a very well-liked guy in his locker room. This much is certain. But even the best teammates slip up sometimes and deliver an accidental backhanded insult so sharp you can feel it in North Dakota.
Such was the case when the Patriots quarterback made his weekly appearance on WEEI on Monday morning, in the aftermath of a crushing 35-34 loss to the Colts. Of course, hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan wanted to discuss the fourth-and-2 play call heard ’round the world, and they wanted to know what Brady really thought of Bill Belichick‘s decision to go for it.
Brady didn’t mean to verbally neuter his defense. When he compared his defense — which, once upon a time, was largely responsible for one or two of those rings on Brady’s fingers — to the seventh man off the Celtics’ bench, he didn’t mean to say that his defense is the equivalent of Shelden Williams or Marquis Daniels, guys who are there just for the sake of giving the important people some much-needed rest.
Bill Belichick’s defenses are forces to behold. They were once the pride and joy of Foxborough. You better recognize.
Brady didn’t mean what he said — at least, he didn’t mean it the way it came out. But still, we hope he watched his back in practice this week.
In other news, Jets defensive back Darrelle Revis submits a live news-conference gem of his own, and in honor of Belichick’s only mistake ever as a head coach, we present the deluxe edition of the world’s opinions on his fourth-and-two call.
“If you’re taking a 3-pointer at the end of the game, do you give it to Ray Allen or do you give it to the seventh man coming off the bench? You’ve got to give it to the guy who you think is going to make the shot.”
–Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, on WEEI, on his support for Belichick’s decision
Reporter: “Is it possible to have safety help over the top, while you’re playing man coverage, so it sort of allows you to be more aggressive when you have the safety help rolled over the top?”
Darelle Revis: “Do you know football?”
–Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis during a conference call on Wednesday
“If I would have made that decision and it wouldn’t have worked, I’d be hanging from the Empire State Building.”
–Jets head coach Rex Ryan, on ESPN.com, on what would have happened to him if he had made a mistake like Belichick’s
“I’ve been around Bill Belichick a long time, and he’s made a lot of great coaching decisions, but this was the worst coaching decision I have ever seen Bill Belichick make.”
–Former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, during the postgame of NBC’s Football Night in America
“Belichick’s too smart to have something so Grady Little-ish on his career resume, but there it is, and it can never be erased.”
—Peter King on SI.com
“The decision to go for it would be enough to make my blood boil for weeks. Bill Belichick sent a message to his defense. He felt that his chances were better to go for it on his own 28-yard line than to punt it away and make Peyton Manning have to drive the majority of the field to win the game.”
–Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi on ESPNBoston.com
“I like the swagger of a head coach who believes in his personnel. I’ll take that swagger of a coach any day.”
–Former All-Pro defensive back Deion Sanders on the NFL Network’s NFL GameDay Final
“Fourth-and-jackass. That’s our name of a now-infamous play in New England Patriots history. Move over, Tuck Rule.”
—CBSSports.com‘s Pete Prisco
“It’s hanging on — saw Swaggerman on the goalpost. Almost falling off, but he’s still on top of there, hanging on.”
–Jets safety Kerry Rhodes, on Boston.com, on whether the Jets have lost their swagger along with five of their last six games
“It’s like you hit your funny bone, but it’s not funny at all.”
–Cavaliers forward LeBron James, on ESPN.com, on injuring his wrist while dunking on Wednesday
“I remember throwing the cup, actually a cup of Diet Coke, not a beer, but I had been drinking, and I’ve had issues with alcohol in the past. I remember [Ron Artest] running into the stands and grabbing the wrong person, and I felt bad. I grabbed Artest from behind, the whole thing was kind of a huge blur. It happened so fast.”
—John Green, the fan who ignited a brawl with then-Pacer Ron Artest five years ago, on ESPN’s First Take
“I got on him, and I rarely do, about the 3s. Because even though he was wide open, it’s really tough. I mean, he was wide open, and he took two, but we had just taken two quick ones.”
–Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, on Boston.com, on his displeasure over Rasheed Wallace‘s shot selection at the end of Wednesday’s win over Golden State