Patriots

Tom Brady persuasive in his arguments to officials vs. Saints

Tom Brady persuasive in his arguments to officials vs. Saints

Tom Brady was screaming at the top of his lungs. He held up the index finger on one hand as he made a peace sign with the other to convey his message. The gestures seemed completely unnecessary because he was yelling loud enough that it looked like he might strain a muscle in his neck. 

The Saints defense had 12 players on the field. Brady was sure of it.

What had the Patriots quarterback all riled up was that he didn't see any flags on the field. And given the fact that he had just thrown one of the ugliest interceptions of his career, he was ready to explain himself -- and at a ridiculous decibel level -- to anyone who disagreed. 

PATRIOTS 36, SAINTS 20

Brady twice had to lobby with head official Craig Wrolstad’s crew, and both interactions were successful. He probably didn't do anything for his reputation in the eyes of those who look at him as a pampered quarterback who complains for calls, but that's fine with him. 

"I snapped it, and I was looking right at him as I snapped it," Brady said of Saints linebacker Manti Te'o, who was eventually called for a too-many-men penalty after Brady's protest. 

"He was probably three or four yards from the sideline. We didn't even have a play. I was just trying to get the penalty. I didn't see a penalty on the field and I said, 'What the heck? I saw the guy!' They said they were going to review it, there was 12 on there, and we got the call."

Brady was asked if he was amused by officials coming together and making a call after he . . . lends them a helping hand. 

"I wish," he said, "they would have thrown [the flag] right away to take away all of the drama."

Brady was in the ears of the officials earlier in the game, at the end of the first quarter, when flags were thrown on Brandin Cooks for offensive pass interference after a Chris Hogan touchdown to make the score 20-3.

Cooks set a pick on Chris Hogan's defender near the line of scrimmage at the 13-yard line, and the officiating crew initially ruled it to be illegal contact. 

But Brady swooped in immediately. He was certain that Cooks was within one yard of the line of scrimmage. It was close, but the officials eventually sided with the future Hall of Famer. 

"There is no offensive pass interference," Wrolstad said as Brady jogged toward the Patriots sideline to celebrate. "The contact in question occurred within one yard of the line of scrimmage. Therefore, it is a touchdown."

When it was suggested to Brady after the game that he had been pretty persuasive, he smiled. 

"I thought it was [legal]," Brady said of his argument. "When I looked over there, he was pretty close. Those are some judgment calls, sometimes a yard or a yard-and-a-half. They ran something on the next drive and threw a touchdown pass. [The Saints player] was like three yards down the field.

"I was like, 'If we got away with one then, they definitely got away with one.' I thought ours was legal. It was just a man-coverage play. Everyone has them and the officials call them differently. But I thought we made a good play, and it was a big touchdown."

And a big reversal, thanks in part to the quarterback who doubled as a litigator on Sunday afternoon.

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Curran: A look back shows how much Brady yearns for sixth ring

Curran: A look back shows how much Brady yearns for sixth ring

I spent some time last week trying to reconcile Tom Brady’s “sooner rather than later” statement to Oprah and the ensuing Instagram comment where he re-asserted -- in Spanish -- that 45 was his target retirement date, Brady said a lot last offseason. In more aggressively marketing the TB12 Sports Therapy, he did more national interviews that I recall him ever doing

One was with ESPN’s Ian O’Connor last May

Their conversation was stuffed with interesting quotes, but one that stuck out to me was his open pining for a sixth Lombardi.

MORE CURRAN ON BRADY

"The great part is the next one for me is No. 6," Brady told O’Connor. "And I'm not on No. 1. I'm trying to reach No. 6 and I'm on No. 5. If I got to No. 6, that would have great meaning to me.

“It's not trying to keep up with my idols,” he added. “It's not Magic, Jeter, Mariano [Rivera], Kobe, Duncan, guys more my age who I always admired. I just want to win because I owe it to my teammates. I'm working this year like I have none, and hopefully it results in a magical season."

While behind-the-scenes friction may have sapped enjoyment from 2017, the chance to get No. 6 was right there in Minnesota. Brady opened up his life in an unprecedented way in 2017 with the Tom vs. Time documentary and myriad interviews like the one with O’Connor in which he seemed to take more stock of what he was in the midst of accomplishing. It was all building to a climax.

And the Patriots didn’t win. And Brady -- despite throwing for 505 yards and three touchdowns -- was stripped with 2:16 left and the Patriots trailing 38-33.

That might be his first lament if he spoke candidly about how crushing it is to get so close and fall short. He had the ball with a chance to go down and score and the Eagles stopped his offense. Stopped him. But at some point, you have to believe he’d get to the absurdity of having to put up 40 on the Eagles to even have a chance at winning. That the Patriots couldn’t get off the field defensively, yet they still left Malcolm Butler holstered all night.

As angry as Patriots fans remain about that game and the lack of explanation for Butler’s benching, imagine Brady’s bitterness. It meant everything to all of them, but Brady -- in his comment to O’Connor -- indicated that No. 6 would have held special meaning for him.  

MORE CURRAN

Brady bristled when O’Connor suggested he was the greatest player the league’s ever seen, saying, "I don't agree with that. I know myself as a player. I'm really a product of what I've been around, who I was coached by, what I played against, in the era I played in. I really believe if a lot of people were in my shoes they could accomplish the same kinds of things. So I've been very fortunate.”

Still, his resume with No. 6 and a 6-2 record in Super Bowls would have been unassailable and, quite likely, an unbreakable record. Think about it. As brilliant as Aaron Rodgers is, he’s played in one Super Bowl. John Elway, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre combined for six Lombardis. Six Super Bowl wins would have looked like Cy Young’s 511 wins and Wilt’s 50.4 points per game.  

Another quote from the O’Connor interview that caught my eye was this one. “I don't like conflict,” Brady said. “It's just inherent in who I am."

That was May. He had no way of knowing what the next 10 months would bring. Or that he’d ultimately come tantalizingly close to No. 6, fall short and then realize he’d have to start all over again and play just as well at 41 to even get in position for another shot at a half-dozen. 

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Julian Edelman's appeal of suspension taking place Monday

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Julian Edelman's appeal of suspension taking place Monday

Julian Edelman's suspension appeal hearing is being heard on Monday, more than two weeks after news broke that he was facing a four-game ban for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy.

Dan Graziano of ESPN was the first to report the date of Edelman's appeal hearing. 

Per Graziano's report, Edelman's defense will be focused on the recognizability of the substance that triggered the positive test. (The MMQB's Albert Breer reported that the substance was not recognized by league drug testers.) Another aspect of Edelman's defense, according to Graziano, "involves a mishandling of the documentation and delivery of Edelman's test results." 

Edelman will lean on the counsel of attorney Alex Spiro during his defense. Spiro is a New York-based partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, LLP with plenty of New England connections. 

Spiro graduated from Wellesley High, Tufts University and Harvard Law, and he's handled a number of high-profile cases. He helped indict and convict Rodney Alcala, the "Dating Game" killer. Spiro was a member of Aaron Hernandez's defense team -- along with Jose Baez and Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. -- in Hernandez's double homicide trial. Spiro also represented Utah Jazz forward (then a member of the Atlanta Hawks) Thabo Sefolosha when Sefolosha was found not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest stemming from an incident in 2015. Sefolosha eventually earned $4 million from New York City in a settlement.