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Curran: Brady has it both ways with his Monday comments

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Curran: Brady has it both ways with his Monday comments

Tom Brady knew the questions Jim Gray would pose during their hour-long chat at the Milken Institute on Monday.

This would be the first “live” Brady of this offseason of discontent. The last access – the final episode of the "Tom vs. Time" documentary – was filtered through the editing and production of filmmaker Gotham Chopra.

The impression at the end of that piece was clear. Brady, according to his wife, Gisele Bundchen, was running an appreciation/fun deficit at work. Brady was philosophical in the final scene, asking aloud why, exactly, he sacrifices all he does. 

And that impression melded with what I’d been told: the 2017 season left wounds.

So, on Monday, Brady could either drive a stake through the heart of the notion he’s felt unappreciated by the organization or he could breathe life into it.

He chose to do both.

When Gray asked if he felt appropriate gratitude for his accomplishments, Brady proclaimed, "I plead..the Fifth!"

Continuing a moment later, Brady said, "Man, that is a tough question. I think everybody, in general, wants to be appreciated more in their professional life, but there's a lot of people that appreciate me way more than I ever thought was possible as part of my life. You have different influences in your life and the people I work with, they're trying to get the best out of me. So they're trying to treat me in the way they feel is going to get the best out of me, and I've got to get the best out of myself.”

A translation? “The answer may incriminate me. The answer isn’t easy to utter. Many people don’t feel fully appreciated at work and I am one of them. But they believe they get the best results at my place of employment when they make you feel wholly replaceable no matter what you’ve done. So I’m going to live with that.”

If that wasn’t the upshot, why then did Brady joke about not answering and why did he consider it a tough question?

Asked by Gray if he’s happy, Brady replied, "I have my moments."

Hit pause there.

If Brady said nothing more on the topics of happiness and appreciation, Monday would have been a bleak day. Nothing resolved. Brady heading back reluctantly to the salt mines sometime this spring.

But he chose not to. He instead chose to elaborate and convincingly leave the impression that, even if he’s weary of Bill Belichick’s bedside manner, he’ll suck it up because it’s for the best. Belichick is what he is.

“We’ve had a great relationship, a very respectful relationship for a long time. I feel like he’s the best coach in the history of the NFL,” said Brady. “He has a management style [with] players, and he would say, ‘Look, I’m not the easiest coach to play for.’ I agree.  He’s not the easiest coach to play for, but he’s the best for me. I think what he’s proven is that whatever talent he has, he maximizes his talent. What more could you ask of a coach than that? That’s what I want as a player...He’s been an incredible coach, he’s been an incredible mentor to me. He’s taught me so much football. To be a 22-year-old kid and come and learn from him, I wouldn’t be sitting here without his coaching. I wouldn’t have the success without how incredibly talented he was, along with a lot of the other coaches, a lot of the other players, a lot of the other people in the organization. Because it takes everybody to do it.”
 
So Brady is standing down, it seems. But not without a couple of final rabbit punches. And those weren’t limited to his appreciation level.

His comments on Malcolm Butler’s Super Bowl absence were pretty pointed and detailed.

“I wish he would have played, but the coach decided not to play him, and we still had a chance to win,” Brady said.

Explaining he didn’t realize Butler was out of the game, Brady said, “For a team, this side of the room is the offense and this side is the defense. We don’t interfere with them much. I didn’t know. Malcolm kept coming over to me during the game and was like ‘Come on, TB, let’s go!’ And I kept going, ‘What defense are we in where Malcolm’s not on the field?’ Is it short-yardage, goal line? “And then after the game, I found out. So I just didn’t know. And I asked Malcolm, and Malcolm said, ‘I don’t know. Coach has just decided something different.’ I said, ‘OK.’ So I don’t know what was a part of that decision-making, but I know we were trying to win the game. I don’t think we were trying to do anything but win.”

And his answer that the “guy who owns the team” is better suited to give an answer on Butler to Patriots fans than he is was also a little eye-widening.

But the upshot is that – even with the team reportedly spending the draft process sniffing around Baker Mayfield, even with Brady still apart from the team during workouts, even with the agitations and irritations of playing for Belichick – Brady went on record as saying he wants to play until his mid-40s and that he’s locked in through the end of ’19.

If, in the end, that’s all that matters to you, then who’s to tell you you’re wrong?

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This surprising Patriots trend doesn't bode well for Eagles matchup

This surprising Patriots trend doesn't bode well for Eagles matchup

The New England Patriots have opened as 3.5-point road favorites for their Week 11 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.

That should surprise no one: The Patriots have been favorites in their previous 38 road games dating to Nov. 2014 and generally are favored against any opponent they play. That's what happens when you win 11 or more games in nine consecutive seasons.

What may surprise you, though, is that New England isn't all that great as a road favorite.

Here are the results from the Patriots' last 13 regular-season games as road favorites since the beginning of the 2018 campaign, courtesy of the "Boston Sports Info" Twitter account:

2019
Week 9 at Baltimore: 20-37 LOSS
Week 7 at New York Jets: 33-0 WIN
Week 5 at Washington: 33-7 WIN
Week 4 at Buffalo: 16-10 WIN
Week 2 at Miami: 43-0 WIN

2018
Week 15 at Pittsburgh: 10-17 LOSS
Week 14 at Miami: 33-34 LOSS
Week 12 at New York Jets: 27-13 WIN
Week 10 at Tennessee: 10-34 LOSS
Week 8 at Buffalo: 25-6 WIN
Week 7 at Chicago: 38-31 WIN
Week 3 at Detroit: 10-26 LOSS
Week 2 at Jacksonville: 20-31 LOSS

The Patriots have lost six times as road favorites since the beginning of last season and are 7-6 in those contests. 

As you may have gathered, that's the same number of regular-season games they've lost overall in that span, meaning all of their losses in their last 25 regular-season games have come as road favorites.

New England had better hope that 3.5-point line doesn't waver, either. According to Boston Sports Info, quarterback Tom Brady actually has a losing record (10-15) in his career when the Patriots are favored by three points or fewer.

That stat makes sense when you get past the sticker shock: It's hard for any club to beat good teams on the road, and New England's incredible run of success under Brady and Bill Belichick means it's favored in virtually every game, even on the road versus quality opponents.

The Patriots are coming off one of those losses in Baltimore earlier this month, and the Eagles will present another tough test in Sunday's Super Bowl LII rematch.

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LSU QB Joe Burrow drawing Tom Brady comparisons after beating Alabama

LSU QB Joe Burrow drawing Tom Brady comparisons after beating Alabama

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow led his team to an incredibly exciting win over Alabama on the road Saturday afternoon, and with that has come comparisons to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

No, we're not kidding.

Former UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel, who's currently a college football analyst for CBS Sports, compared Burrow to Brady during his appearance Monday morning on "The Dan Patrick Show." It actually wasn't the first time he's compared Burrow to Brady.

The only thing Burrow and Brady have in common right now is they both earned impressive wins over Alabama. Brady's final game at Michigan was a victory against Alabama in the 2000 Orange Bowl. He was selected 199th overall (sixth round) by the New England Patriots in the 2000 NFL Draft and has since won six Super Bowl titles. Burrow likely will go No. 1 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Burrow is enjoying a tremendous season and Saturday's win established him as the clear favorite for the Heisman Trophy. However, we should be a little more cautious about throwing his name in the same sentence as the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Burrow has a long way to go before he reaches that level, but in fairness to him, it does look like he has the talent and poise needed to be a very good quarterback at the pro level.

Oddsmakers view Pats vs. this NFC team as most likely Super Bowl matchup

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