Tag:Bill Parcells
Posted on: February 15, 2012 11:17 am
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Should the HOF selection process be tweaked?

HOF

By Josh Katzowitz

The night before Super Bowl XLVI and a few hours after the Pro Football Hall of Fame votes had been announced, the three Eye on Football bloggers walked back to our hotel, debating whether the NFL enshrines players in the best way possible.

Criticisms already had begun to pour in -- how could Bill Parcells not be elected, how could the selection committee leave out Cris Carter? -- and the three of us pondered the best way to fix the selection process (or if it should be fixed at all).

I believed the status quo, for the most part, was fine, but Ryan Wilson seemed to me the most open to change.

Since that time about two weeks ago, the floodgates of criticism have opened and a torrential waterfall of suggestions from fans and players have formed a maelstrom of condemnation in which hardly anybody can escape.

Which is why, in part, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who has been a Hall of Fame selector for two decades and is one of the most-respected NFL reporters, is contemplating dropping out of the process altogether.

“I've been thinking of stepping down from the committee of 44 selectors. Many of you are right. Twenty years is a long time,” King wrote Tuesday. “I've stated my case -- in favor or opposed -- for many who've been elected and many who haven't. And I've thought, independent of the argument some have proposed for term limits for Hall voters, that maybe it's time for someone else to sit in judgment of these great players, coaches and league and club officials. Fresh voices are good things.

“In 20 years, sitting on the panel has gone from an honor to equal parts burden and honor. I never got in this for pats on the back. I got in it to try to do the right thing by my conscience. Sitting in judgment of the all-time greats is an often-intimidating job, because you realize you're acting as judge and jury to a man's career. When Chris Doleman got in this year, he said that night that the only thing better in his life would be when he died and met his maker. Don't think that's lost on me. It's an honor -- with a heavy weight attached. And the weight gets heavier every year."

Curtis Martin led this year's HOF class. (US Presswire)
But fans and players have criticized the process. When receiver Tim Brown didn’t make the Hall this year, he lashed out on Twitter. Other former players have criticized the fact that Carter still is on the outside. Some don’t understand why Cortez Kennedy made it in this year, and some can’t figure out how a five-time Super Bowl champ like Charles Haley didn’t.

Cleary, though, the toll weighs heavily on the 44 selectors, journalists representing each NFL market and other at-large voters, who have to elect at least four players (and leave out close to a dozen legitimate candidates) each year. I saw that in person the night of the election when I ran into a voter at the media hotel lobby and his eyes looked glazed and his brained seemed frazzled.

What should be done about the process? Anything? What would satisfy the general population -- who has began to see the selection process as unfair and, ultimately, incorrect? Anything at all?

Here are some of the ideas I’ve heard that the Pro Football Hall of Fame could choose to use in order to tweak the process. Some ideas, in my view, would hurt more than they’d help, but at least one is good enough to put into place immediately.

Term limits: Recently-elected Chris Doleman and Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio have championed the idea of getting new blood in the system every five years, and in theory, that’s not a bad idea. But in this day and age, when journalists move from job to job and beat to beat (and sport to sport), the number of long-time football writers will begin to dwindle. You look at the list now and you can see long-time NFL reporters like Rick Gosselin (from the Dallas Morning News), John McClain (from the Houston Chronicle), and Ed Bouchette (from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette ). I’d rather have them selecting the inductees, because they have perspective and can compare players across eras, rather than a younger soul whose institutional knowledge doesn’t go beyond the 1990s.

The Hall of Fame selectors have received criticism for not inducting Cris Carter (US Presswire)
In order to vote for baseball’s Hall of Fame, you have to be a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America for at least 10 years. Actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing something similar with football. But until then, term limits only limits the perspective the committee will bring.

Expand the vote: Admittedly, I like much about baseball’s Hall of Fame selection process, and the ability for a large group of people weighing in on the sport’s legacy is good policy for that sport. For football, I don’t see how expanding the voter pool will make the process any less cumbersome or fair. With the way the football committee is set up, each of the 15 finalists is presented by one voter and then the entire body debates that player. Say, for instance, you expand the 44 voters to 88. Then, you have a selection committee that has become twice as cumbersome and takes twice as much time to make a decision. Already, the process took seven hours this year to vote in the six members. Simply put, there isn’t enough time in the day to add that many more new people. And who says 88 is the right number anyway? What about 150 or 300?

If we’re talking about expanding the vote, then, we’re talking about scrapping the entire current system. If you want 300 people voting on the Hall of Fame, you have to go to a baseball-type system where you vote for the players you think are deserving and that’s it. No meetings, no debating. I think that could work, but logistically, in this system, there’s not a chance that could happen.

Add more variety: Why not add football executives or former players or living Hall of Fame members? The theory behind that idea would be to rid the committee of any perceived biases. But how does adding executives and players, who might have personal relationships to those up for induction, add objectivity to the proceedings? It doesn’t. Despite the idea that one person who has a beef against, let’s say, Cris Carter and keeps him out because of a personal vendetta, I really don’t think that happens as much as the public might believe. These voters take their jobs too seriously in order to upend themselves by making it personal. I couldn’t say the same for executives and former players who might vote in, let’s say, Carter because they’re good buddies with him. How is that any more fair?

Stop with the four-man minimum: I think the Hall of Fame might be better served with less inductees than with more. As it stands now, the selectors have to vote in at least four new members per year with a maximum of seven. I refer back to baseball, where if a certain class isn’t good enough, nobody gets in. There shouldn’t be a minimum requirement, because it should be hard to get into the Hall of Fame.

Make votes public: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. The voters for the AP polls in college football and basketball are there for fans to see. Why won’t the Pro Football Hall of Fame allow its selectors to do the same? I know plenty of the 44 who want their votes to be made public knowledge. And if there is a bias among some voters, this might help dispel their desire to keep out the players they don’t like.

So, what am I saying here? Basically, I think the current format works. Despite all the criticism that’s heaped on the selectors, I’m not sure there’s a better way to get players inducted. I’m biased, of course, because I think journalists make the best selectors. They’re trained to be objective, and they’re trained to research, ponder and think about every possible angle before making a decision like this. I’m content with the system the way it is. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good nonetheless.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 3:35 pm
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Posted on: February 4, 2012 10:00 am
Edited on: February 4, 2012 11:18 am
 

CBSSports.com's Super Bowl XLVI predictions


Super Bowl XLVI Preview: Will the Patriots get revenge this time around or will the Giants continue their run to another title?

Gregg Doyel

I've never felt so good about a pick in my life, because I've never seen anything as rock-solid as the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. The Giants have already beaten the Patriots this season, at New England, and they did it despite the unavailability of leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw and 1,000-yard receiver Hakeem Nicks. Plus, the Patriots weren't playing that game with receivers Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater forced to play key roles at defensive back, as will be the case Sunday.  

Forget what Vegas is saying. Everyone else is saying the Patriots will lose ... which is why I feel 100 percent certain that the Patriots will win. When everybody's convinced they're right, I'm convinced they're wrong. History shows people just aren't that smart.

Final score: It'll be a slugfest, but the Patriots will win 42-38.

Mike Freeman

Initially, I thought the Giants would actually beat the Patriots handily. Eli Manning would look at the Patriots defense, lick his chops, and light that defense on fire. Tom Brady would get harassed, an injured Gronk would be controlled, and Wes Welker would have a solid though not dominating day. It was all shaping up to a healthy Giants victory.

Then at the beginning of this week the Giants started chirping. And chirping. And chirping some more. It was a jab-fest for them with the team’s main message being they could get to Tom Brady both physically and mentally.

Normally, as Tom Coughlin would say, talk is cheap but this is Brady who thrives on talk and doubters. I’ve seen it happen with Brady on more than a few occasions. Not to mention the Patriots are on a revenge tour. I think the Giants would have been better served shutting the hell up. I know they are talkers. I know the Giants thrive on emotion and yapping but don’t pull on SuperBrady’s cape.

The Giants will still win but their mouths just turned this game from a comfortable win for them into one of the tightest Super Bowls ever.

Final score: Giants, 28-27

Clark Judge

I’ll take the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, and here’s why: Because they’re more balanced than New England, they’re hot, they’re confident and they have the pass rush to flummox the usually unflappable Tom Brady.

Oh, yeah, they also won their last two vs. the Patriots – including a 24-20 defeat this season.

But it’s that pass rush that convinces me. The Giants can bring pressure with their defensive line, allowing everyone else to drop into coverage, and if you don’t think that will affect Brady you weren’t watching the Giants shred Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Brady struggled in his last two starts vs. New York. He was sacked seven times, hit on countless other occasions and had more turnovers (4) than touchdown passes (3). He also lost both games. That counts for something, and I say it counts for a Giants’ victory.

Final score: Giants, 24-17

Pete Prisco

Quarterback and pass rush.  

That's the key to winning in the NFL these days. Get a great thrower and have a lot of guys to knock down the other team's thrower. The New England Patriots have the great passer in Tom Brady, but they lack the great pass rushers. The New York Giants have a very good passer in Eli Manning, but they have a lot of pass rushers.

Full Super Bowl Coverage
That's why the New York Giants will win Super Bowl XLVI. This time, unlike the last time they played in a Super Bowl, the Giants aren't huge underdogs. What I can't figure out is this: Why they aren't they favored.

The Giants are the better team. 

It's a tribute to Brady that the Patriots are here, but in watching him play the Giants in the past, he isn't the same Brady when he faces that the New York defense. Like I wrote this week, the Giants seem to be in his head. In the Giants' victory this season in Foxboro, Mass., Brady looked ordinary.  

That's the big edge for the Giants. They have the pass rushers. They don't fear Brady. They rattle him. That's why the Giants will beat the Patriots again in a Super Bowl. 

The NFL is all about quarterback and pass rushers -- and the Giants will show on Sunday. 

Final score: Giants, 31-24

Paul Dehner

Forget Gronkowski's ankle. Forget Aaron Hernandez. The defining story line of Super Bowl XLVI will be how the Patriots offensive line handles the intense Giants pass rush. Recent history of all New York's opponents on their postseason run insists that's more of a fleeting wish than a likelihood. The Giants have pounded every quarterback in their way into submission and eventual defeat. Tony Romo was sacked six times, Matt Ryan twice, Aaron Rodgers four times and Alex Smith three. The opponent didn't matter.

Tom Brady's only the next in line. When Brady can't throw, the Pats don't go. The Giants front four is coming and there isn't too much Brady can do about it. Jason Pierre-Paul and the rest of the Giants own the rare ability to disrupt timing -- the ultimate equalizer in the new, pass-happy NFL. They'll do it again on Sunday. That's the reason they'll loft the trophy.

Final score: Giants, 21-17

Alex Raskin

Another scoreless first half — like the one the New England Patriots and New York Giants had back in Week 9 — is improbable, but another defensive battle isn’t. Everyone is rightfully talking about each team’s respective high-powered offense. However, this game will be won on the defensive side of the ball and the Giants are up to the challenge.

New York has forced and recovered five fumbles in the postseason and the secondary has played significantly better since the Week 15 loss to the Washington Redskins. Throw in the Giants’ reliable linebackers and fearsome pass rush, and the advantage swings heavily in favor of the NFC Champions.

The Patriots’ defense intercepts passes and buckles down in the red zone, but the Giants’ big-play offense has a way around that. Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham allow quarterback Eli Manning to throw touchdown passes from anywhere on the field by going over or underneath opposing coverages.

Final score: Giants, 24-16

Will Brinson

It absolutely terrifies me that everyone -- and I mean everyone -- is on the Giants bandwagon. Eighty-five percent of the public money is on the Giants. Almost everyone at CBS is picking the Giants. Everyone outside of Boston is picking the Giants. It makes sense, because New York's front four is going to get pressure on Brady.

The Patriots best offensive weapon, Rob Gronkowski, is going to be limited. And how are the Patriots going to defend Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham? Not with Julian Edelman playing defensive back. Of course, the problem with all this is that the entire world's betting against the combination of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. That's somewhat illogical. Two things are going to make this a very close game: Gronk's ankle forcing him to stay in and block and Vince Wilfork turning into an animal for the second straight game. (Wilfork's my darkhorse for MVP.) In the end, though, it's going to come down to who has the ball last and I think it ends up being Eli.

Final score: Giants, 27-21

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Super Bowl Coverage (AP)

Josh Katzowitz

Seems to me like the buzz this week in Indianapolis is how the Giants will beat the Patriots for the second time this season. And for reasons I’m having a hard time explaining, I don’t think that will happen. Give New England coach Bill Belichick two weeks to figure out how to beat the Giants, and I think he does it.

Obviously, New York has some solid advantages. The Giants front four will provide plenty of issues for the Patriots as they try to keep Tom Brady untouched. Eli Manning shouldn’t have a problem picking on New England’s secondary. And assuming Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski isn’t 100 percent effective, New England’s offense will be a little less versatile.

So, really, the Giants should win.

But I can’t pull the trigger on predicting them to do so. And I don’t know why. Which, I guess, isn’t much of answer why I’m picking the Patriots to win. I just kinda think they will.

Final score: Patriots, 24-22

Ryan Wilson

It's hard to believe that Vegas has had New England as the favorites for nearly two weeks now because almost everybody likes New York. Never mind that Giants have issues in the secondary and Tom Brady is a future Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl winner, New York's front four somehow makes up for all that.

Four years ago, the Pats came into this game undefeated and unstoppable. The Giants' pass rush changed all that. And that's what happened this season, in Week 9, when the two teams met. We get the feeling that New England won't be able to protect Brady on Sunday either.

Meanwhile, Eli Manning is playing the best football of his career even without much of a running game behind him. The Patriots' defense has been better in recent weeks but they still struggle in both phases. And that's bad news if Brady isn't his usual self.

Final score: Giants, 24-21

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 12:28 pm
 

Coughlin not concerned Giants are too cocky

                                     (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- The seven days leading up to the Super Bowl feels more like seven months when you're looking for stories that haven't been beaten into the ground by Wednesday. It must be even more interminable for the coaches and players who have to endure it.

Before the Patriots left New England, Tom Brady told fans gathered at a pep rally that “We’re going down there, and we’re going down there for one reason. We’re going to give it our best and "hopefully" we have a lot more people at our party next weekend.”

The New York media ran with Brady's words -- ESPNNewYork.com's headline: “Brady planning victory party," The New York Post: “Tom’s taunt,” and the New York Daily News went with: “Tom’s talkin’ trash.”

Brady, of course, was asked about it once he arrived in Indy.

“Well, it was a pep rally,” he said smiling. “People were pretty excited. Certainly players were excited. I know 25,000 fans who were there were excited as well. It was great to see the support. We get great support, home and away, and hopefully we have some Patriots jerseys in the stands next Sunday night.”

Full Super Bowl Coverage
Giants defensive end Justin Tuck echoed Brady's sentiments when asked about it at Tuesday's Media Day: "Man, it was a pep rally," he said. "What was he supposed to say? I don’t think it’s Tom doing anything but getting fans riled up."

On Friday, it was Giants head coach Tom Coughlin's turn. He was asked whether he worries about his team being too cocky.

“I’m not sure what you’re referencing," he said. "I know that there are one or two quotes out there, but, to be honest with you, I don’t know that either one of them is any different than Tom Brady’s quotes. I think it’s just a matter of our team has played good football against a great football team. We always focus our team on confidence enough to get there and confident enough to get back. That’s the way we look at it.”

Mercifully, there's just one more day until the Super Bowl is here.


Super Bowl XLVI Preview
Will the Patriots get revenge this time around or will the Giants continue their run to another Super Bowl title? Pat Kirwan joins Scott Braun for the preview.

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 11:50 am
 

Like Coughlin, Belichick has no plans to retire

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Earlier this week, CBS analyst and former Giants quarterback Phil Simms said that he tells players that when they think their career is over to "play two more years. ... Because the rest of your life is a long time."

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No idea if that tenet holds for head coaches, too. On Friday, in his last meeting of the week with the media, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked if there was a chance he'd retire should New England win Sunday. It would be Belichick's fourth championship since 2001 and further solidify his Hall of Fame credentials on a career in coaching that began with the Baltimore Colts in 1975.

“Right now, I’m really thinking, ‘What’s the best thing I can do to help our football team on Sunday against the Giants?’ I want to really try to do a good job in the job that I have," he said. "I enjoy all the aspects of the job. I enjoy the team-building, the drafting, the free agents, team acquisitions, those kind of things.

"I enjoy bringing in the young players and working with guys who haven’t been in the NFL and teaching them the basic fundamentals in how to become a professional football player for the New England Patriots. I enjoy working with the veteran players, the Tom Bradys and the Vince Wilforks and the Wes Welkers and all those kind of players that can do really special things because of their not only talent, but experience."

He continued: "I enjoy the competition on a weekly basis. Not just on Sundays, but the preparation leading up into the game. I enjoy all of it. It beats working. It’s fun to address those challenges on a daily basis, so right now I’m really focused on the game and that’s where my energy is going to go, toward doing the best I can for the New England Patriots against the Giants on Sunday.”

If Belichick's words aren't convincing enough, his newfound effusiveness appears to be. So for now, the 59-year-old ain't going anywhere, sharing the sentiments of his counterpart Sunday, Tom Coughlin.

CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco asked Coughlin after the Giants beat the 49ers in the NFC Championship game if, at 65, he had any thoughts on calling it quits.

Retire to do what?” Coughlin said. "I feel good … I still love what I do."


Super Bowl XLVI Preview
Will the Patriots get revenge this time around or will the Giants continue their run to another Super Bowl title? Pat Kirwan joins Scott Braun for the preview.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 8:02 pm
 

JPP: Brady reacted to pressure that didn't exist

                                     (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- The last time the Patriots and Giants met in the Super Bowl, quarterback Tom Brady was sacked five times. On Wednesday, Brady was asked about the implication that he can be rattled in the pocket.

"It wouldn't be the Super Bowl if they (the Giants defense) weren't trying to knock me down or knock me out … but our offensive line gets paid too," he said. "We're going to try to eliminate (bad throws) … we had too many of those last time (against the Ravens). We're not going to be able to win the game playing like that."

The Pats and Giants met earlier this season too, and while Brady was sacked just twice, it was the perceived pressure that forced him into mistakes -- at least to hear Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

“I think it will have much impact on his performance because if you look at Week 9, when we played them, it’s like he felt us," Pierre-Paul said during Thursday's media availability. "When we looked back on the film, we watched the film, and we didn’t really rush like we can rush as a defense. He was throwing balls on the ground and stuff, but like I said, it’s going to be a battle. We have to get there. We have to. …

"(Brady) did react to pressure that didn’t exist, and he was just throwing the ball places where there wasn’t even a receiver there. Imagine us getting there even faster and actually doing our jobs and getting hits on him.”

Brady has a short history of underwhelming performances against the Giants (he's also played poorly in the games just prior to facing the Giants, too), but he's also one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history and a three-time Super Bowl winner.

[Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage]

Following the Patriots' conference championship win over the Ravens two weeks ago, Brady said he "sucked" and promised owner Bob Kraft that he would "play a lot better" in the Super Bowl. Good news for New York, however: turns out, Brady's human. Pierre-Paul was asked if the Patriots quarterback was was a god.

"He's not," he responded.

Which was made clear from watching him play against the Giants.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:11 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 12:13 pm
 

Former Jet Ihedigbo only looking ahead to Giants

                                        (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- James Ihedigbo spent his first three NFL seasons with the Jets playing for Rex Ryan and trying to beat the Patriots' brains in. Now with New England and about to play in his first Super Bowl, the fourth-year safety isn't interested in talking about the past.

"I've refrained from talking about the Jets because that's not what this games about," Ihedigbo told CBSSports.com. "This game's about us, the hard work we've put in to get to this point."

While many of the storylines have been about the state of Rob Gronkowski's ankle and how Tom Brady will deal with the Giants' pass rush, the Patriots' defense has their own issues. Chief among them: stopping Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, as well as a revitalized New York running game.

"The Giants are a very explosive team," he said. "Nicks and (Ahmad) Bradshaw didn't play the last time we saw them and that adds more explosiveness to their offense. You look at how well (Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs) have run the ball in the playoffs and it's been very effective for them. They may not have run the ball well in the regular season but in the playoffs they really stepped that up so our ability to stop the run is going to be key in this game."

For some perspective, the Giants ranked 20th in rushing efficiency during the regular season, according to Football Outsiders. Against the Falcons in the wild-card game, New York rushed for 172 yards, but just 95 against the Packers the following week, and 85 against the 49ers in the conference championship game.

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Clearly not the same running attack the Giants brought with them to Super Bowl XLII (they ranked fourth in the league in rushing efficiency that season), but Jacobs thinks he and Bradshaw will be an important part of any success the offense has this Sunday.

“We can keep them off balance. I think we’re good enough for any team… to prove that we can go out there and make a difference in this football game," he said. "Everyone’s been talking about tight-ends, wide receivers, quarterbacks and so on and so forth and it’s kind of good for the first time being a part of the New York Giants football team that the running backs are being talked about. We as running backs are going to embrace that, because it never has happened. We’re going to try to take it and stay under the lights for a little bit and be on top of the lights on Sunday.”

The Patriots defense has been maligned for much of the year but that unit has played better of late, too. As the unofficial leader of the secondary, Ihedigbo knows that the previous 20 weeks don't matter. Just the next three days. 

“I definitely have taken on a leadership role," he said Thursday. "I’ve played in a lot of big games in my young career in the NFL and those guys understand that. We all understand what it takes to win and what’s asked of each other. The bar is set high for all of us, because the way we play determines whether we win or lose. We play well, we win. If we don’t play well, it’s not going to be a good game.”


New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin spoke with the media on Thursday about the importance of building on their victory in 2007 and staying focused for the upcoming game against the Patriots.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 10:13 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 10:14 am
 

Brady has history of poor play before facing NYG

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By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Shortly after the Patriots beat the Ravens in the AFC Championship game, Tom Brady was asked about his very un-Tom Brady-like effort: 22 of 36 for 239 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

"Well I sucked pretty bad today but our defense saved us," was Brady's initial reaction. He expanded on those thoughts in the postgame press conference.

"As a quarterback, you never want to turn the ball over. …I wish I would've done a better job with that today. In some ways you always beat yourself up. I've been doing this for quite awhile. I'm glad we won, I'm glad we're moving on and hopefully I can go out there and do better in a few weeks."

Brady also made a promise to owner Robert Kraft that night: "I promise you I'm going to play a lot better in two weeks."

Full Super Bowl Coverage
It's an odd thing to hear from Brady because he's been so good for so long. As observers, we've almost come to expect every performance to be masterful, every decision to be clinical. When it doesn't happen, the cognitive dissonance is too much, even for Brady, the man largely responsible for the Patriots' three Super Bowl titles since 2001.

Which is why no one is concerned that Brady won't play like, well, Brady when the Patriots and Giants meet in Super Bowl XLVI in three days. But here's the thing: the Giants have said all week that the key to getting Brady off his game is to hit him. A lot. That game plan, coupled with David Tyree's head certainly helped New York to a Lombardi Trophy four years ago. Brady entered that game as the quarterback of an 18-0 team and fresh off a regular season that included 4,806 yards, 68.9 completion percentage, 50 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 117.2 passer rating.

In the Super Bowl, the Giants held him to 29 of 48 for 266 and one touchdown. He was also sacked five times after going down just 21 times in the regular season.

We're all aware of the damage New York's front four can inflict on a passing offense, even one with Brady at the center. But here's something else to consider: in terms of passer rating (57.5), Brady has his worst game of the season against the Ravens two weeks ago. In previous weeks he had completed fewer passes for fewer yards with more interceptions, but never in the same game.

The good news: every time Brady's passer rating has dipped below 90 this season, he's hit triple-digits the following week.

The bad news: Brady was coming off a similarly poor performance heading into Super Bowl XLII, the last time the Patriots and Giants met.

In that year's AFC Championship game, New England hosted San Diego and won despite an underwhelming showing from Brady who finished the afternoon completing 22 of 33 for 209 yards, with two touchdowns and three interceptions. His passer rating: 66.4, his second-lowest of the season (he bottomed out at 51.5 against the Jets in Week 15) and well below his 117.2 average.

After beating the Chargers Brady said "Now we're going someplace warm, because I'm freezing my you-know-what off."

Turns out, the weather didn't matter two weeks later in Arizona. Partly because of the Giants' stifling pass rush but also because Brady didn't look anything like the Hall of Fame quarterback we reflexively expect to put up 400 yards and toss four touchdowns every time he takes the field. And just like four years ago, Brady is coming of a forgettable game, and just like four years ago, he now has to face the Giants in the Super Bowl.

But maybe this is just coincidence. Then again, Brady didn't play particularly well against the Steelers this season, their opponent just before losing the Giants in Week 9. 

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com