MOOKIE BETTS said it best.
Taking to Twitter after Sunday night’s incredible Patriots win over the Chiefs, he tipped his cap to a fellow star.
“Enjoy it while it lasts. You’re watching a living legend!”
As soon as Matthew Slater won the coin toss for overtime, that game was over. Forget G.O.A.T., Tom Brady is a G.O.D. — the Greatest on Demand.
Forget the age. Forget the sub-par games during the regular season. Forget quarterback ratings (Patrick Mahomes had a high rating Sunday). Forget all the things that don’t matter. Brady comes through just about whenever he has to come through.
Brady and Bill Belichick. Bill Russell and Red Auebach? The combination, said to be contentious at times, is magical.
Monday, on WEEI, Brady was asked about his get-together with his coach after the game, said, “We’ve always got along great. ... He’s been just a great, great mentor in my life. He’s taught me more than anyone could about the game of football.”
Yes, Brady did say, “Unbleepingbelievable, Bro” on TV after the game.
As Patriots fans finally exhale, some other nuggets from a truly classic football game:
• Brady revealed to NBC’s Peter King that the Pats came up with eight new plays the morning of the game in the hotel ballroom, including the overtime pass to Rob Gronkowski.
• Jason McCourty has been to the Super Bowl before, but only to help his twin brother with tickets and things. Now, a year removed from an 0-16 season, he will play alongside Devin, like he did in Pop Warner title games. “Surreal,” Jason said Sunday.
• From Sports Illustrated’s Mike Reiss: “On Feb. 3, 2002, the Patriots beat the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI to start their dynastic run. “On Feb. 3, 2019, the Patriots will face the Rams in Super Bowl LIII. Hollywood script type stuff.”
• The Patriots tied the Steelers for the NFL record of 36 postseason wins.
• Gronkowski became the first tight end ever with 1,000 career postseason receiving yards.
• From Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston: (Sony) Michel: 29 attempts (season-high); (James) Develin: 41 snaps (season-high); Team: 48 rush attempts (season-high); Team: 13-for-19 (68%, season-high) on 3rd down; TOP (time of possession): 43:59 (season-high); Turned back the clock. Slowed things down. Kept K.C. off the field.”
• From Pats receiver Chris Hogan: “These tight games are taking years off my life.”
• From the Pats Monday: “In the local Boston market, the Patriots produced a 58.5 household rating and 76 market share, which is the second-highest household rating in team history, trailing the Patriots’ 61.0 rating in their Super Bowl XLIX win over the Seattle Seahawks.”
• Brady to Hogan on the field after the game: “Just remember, I’m too old, you’re too slow, we have no skill-position players, we’ve got no defense. We’ve got nothing. (Bleep) that!”
• Classy Brady. He quietly asked to see Mahomes after the game because they didn’t meet on the field. “I just went and said hi,” Brady told King. “I mean, he’s feeling like you think he’d feel when you lose a game like this. It hurts. He’s a hell of a … I mean, what a great young player. So impressed with his poise, his leadership. He is spectacular.”
• Josh Gordon on Instagram on the team he left behind: “To the most passionate, dedicated, honorable, & hardest working group of men I’ve ever met. The integrity, love, and passion you guys share for the game will echo throughout your legacy.. #onemore”
• Brady is 73-1 in his career when leading by at least 14 points at halftime.
- The Pats have taken a beating over the years for their drafting. Was Michel a good draft?
• The Patriots are 60-1 under Belichick when they have a 100-yard rusher.
• From ESPN Stats: “Tom Brady is now 3-0 in OT games in the playoffs. His opponents didn’t touch the ball in any of those wins.” As old pal Bob Lobel points out (Ralph Kramden tribute?), “Heads we win, tails you lose.”
• Gronk played every down of that game.
• Please don’t forget Hogan’s one-handed catch and Philip Dorsett’s touchdown catch.
• From Andy Hart of Patriots Football Weekly: “Tom Brady has thrown the ball 90 times in (this) postseason. Against Bosa, Ingram, Jones, Ford and Houston. He’s not been sacked yet. The #Patriots offensive line and legendary OL coach Dante Scarnecchia are killing it.”
• The Patriots are 5-5 in their 10 Super Bowls. The Steelers have the most titles — six.
• The Patriots are part of three of the seven Super Bowl rematches in the history of The Game.
• From the Pats: “With a victory in Super Bowl LIII, Belichick will join George Halas and Curly Lambeau as the only coaches with six championships.”
• Interesting from CBS: When Brian Flores is officially named as the new coach of the Dolphins, he will become the 32nd new coach in the AFC during Belichick’s years in New England.
• The Patriots will see old pals Brandin Cooks and Aqib Talib in Atlanta.
They wuz robbed
The Patriots will play the Rams. They should be playing the Saints, who lost to the Rams because of an egregious no-call of pass interference that will apparently see the NFL look at having a buzz-down for a replay on plays like that.
From Mark Maske of the Washington Post: “The NFL will consider making pass interference subject to review by instant replay, sources say.”
There were so many questionable calls in the Pats game, but none actually DECIDED the game. The call in NOLA decided the game.
I have long felt Cris Collinsworth is the No. 1 NFL TV analyst. His work Sunday night after Sunday is brilliant.
Sunday, Tony Romo took his place near the top. His insights – almost to the point of play calling — was incredible.
Does he talk too much? Yep. Is it a bit hard to listen to what he’d do late in games after he had so much trouble in his career in big situations? Not really. His energy and analysis in this particular game was marvelous.
Bryce Harper, who has been in the news so much lately for NOT signing a new contract somewhere, tweeted a salute to Romo’s analysis, saying, “Confirmed: Just called Tony Romo to see where I’m going to play next year.”
He CAN wear on you, but his enthusiasm added to the greatness of that game.
Column pal Don Gould, on Facebook Monday, said, “Not always an easy listen. He shouldn’t feel obligated to fill the entire time between snaps. And he should come up with some different adjectives instead of using the same ones ad nauseam. If I had a dollar for every utterance of ‘physical,’ ‘physicalness’ and “physicality, I’d have a (bleep) load of dollars.”
I agree with all that. I also agree he’s one of the people who actually adds something to his telecasts.
In other news
Marcus Smart was fined $35,000 for the nutty he threw in Atlanta the other night. … Bruce Cassidy after Saturday’s loss to the Rangers sent the Bruins into their break: “I’d like to think our guys think we’re the better team in these games, but you have to play like it.” … The Celtics are No. 7 in The Athletic’s latest NBA Power Rankings. ... The crash that caused Tuukka Rask’s concussion Saturday was scary but would have likely been worse back in the day, Kevin Paul Dupont pointing out, “Rask fortunate NHL nets no longer anchored to ice like old days. Old nets could have cost him his career — or worse.” Also from Dupont: “Rask becomes at least fifth Bruin this year to sustain concussion. Joins: (David) Backes, (Charlie) McAvoy, (Jake) DeBrusk and (Urho) Vaakanainen.” … Remember, Cooperstown makes its announcement today. The current resident of the White House endorsed political ally Curt Schilling, but if he had hopes of influencing anyone, he probably should have done it before the ballots were in. The deadline was Dec. 31.
… Is the pitch clock coming to baseball this season? … From Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com from the Sox’ Winter Weekend: “Dave Dombrowski still expects to trade a catcher before Opening Day. Blake Swihart will get a chance to compete as the starter.”
… The Bruins have already played their final regular-season games with conference rivals Montreal, Toronto and Buffalo? Ridiculous. … MLB Network, going on the last two seasons, had Aaron Judge ranked over Betts as the top RF in the game. That’s just silly.
From blogger Keith Smith at one point past week: “Boston (the Celtics) has lost as many road games this season as they did all of last season. Boston is closer to being out of the playoffs than they are to being the 1 seed. No one could have ever have seen either of those being things in mid-January.”
Finally, a USA Today mock NFL draft has the Patriots taking Duke QB Daniel Jones, with the explanation, “Right? He owns a Tom Brady body (6-4, 220) and, as a Dukie, presumably Brady smarts. This has to be the year Bill Belichick launches the Garoppolo 2.0 plan. Right?” That was at the 29th pick before the conference title games. Now, New England will pick 31st or 32nd.
Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.