Kyle Van Noy has perfect message for Tom Brady critics in 'NFL 100' video

Kyle Van Noy has perfect message for Tom Brady critics in 'NFL 100' video

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady received more criticism last year than perhaps any other season of his Hall of Fame career.

His stats -- 4,355 yards with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions -- were very good, but not the MVP level numbers we typically see from him. Brady did look a bit more human than normal throughout 2018, but in fairness, his top receivers (Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Josh Gordon) all missed multiple games due to injury or suspension. The Patriots also went 3-5 on the road and finished at 11-5 overall, ending their streak of seasons with 12-plus wins at eight.

Brady saved his best football for the perfect time, though. He was remarkable in the playoffs, including late game-winning drives in both the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs and Super Bowl LIII versus the Los Angeles Rams. 

He recently was ranked No. 6 in the NFL Network series "NFL Top 100", which is voted on by the players. A few of them shared their thoughts on Brady in the video, including one of his teammates, Kyle Van Noy. The Patriots linebacker's message for Brady critics was spot on.

“Any time you get older, there’s negativity, but I just don’t get it.” Van Noy said. “People say he’s fallen off. It’s just like, what are you watching? He hasn’t had the craziest numbers, but he’s still playing at a high level. Just really a competitor. In the Chiefs game (in Week 6), he broke off a tackle and rushed it in the end zone. It just shows his fire, his desire to win and will to do anything. Even when you don’t think he can run, he’s still got it.” 

Brady reminded everyone in the AFC title game and Super Bowl LIII that when the game is on the line, he's still by far the most trustworthy quarterback. The AFC Championship Game was particularly impressive. He led a go-ahead touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter in a hostile road environment in frigid weather. He then led a similar touchdown drive in overtime to punch New England's ticket to the Super Bowl. Brady didn't play very well in Super Bowl LIII, but he went 4-for-4 on the Patriots' touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that led to their 13-3 victory. 

Brady turns 42 years old on Saturday, and despite being the oldest active starting quarterback, he's still one of the top players in the league regardless of position. Oddsmakers clearly aren't expecting a huge dropoff from Brady in the 2019 season -- the Patriots are the favorites to win Super Bowl LIV.

Click for Brady's reaction to replacing Rob Gronkowski in 2019>>>

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Jarrett Stidham focused on improving during 2020 offseason, not Tom Brady's free agency

Jarrett Stidham focused on improving during 2020 offseason, not Tom Brady's free agency

Tom Brady is set to hit unrestricted free agency for the first time in his 20-year NFL career. While the legendary quarterback could return to the New England Patriots in 2020, there's no guarantee that he will.

If Brady doesn't return, the Patriots will have a number of ways to address the quarterback position. They could target a free agent passer in one of the strongest free agent quarterback classes ever. They could spend a draft pick on one in a strong 2020 quarterback draft class.

Or they could roll with the only other quarterback option they currently have on their roster, 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham.

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Stidham spent his rookie season backing up Brady and played a grand total of 15 snaps for the squad. He completed 2-of-4 passes for 14 yards and threw an interception in that action.

Despite his relative inexperience, Stidham would theoretically be the next man up at quarterback if Brady leaves. But moving forward, he isn't thinking a lot about Brady's impending free agency. He's more focused on what he can do to improve heading into his second year.

"Right now, I can't really think too much about [Brady's free agency]. I have to worry about what I need to do to prepare to enhance my game, to learn as much as I possibly can," Stidham said per ESPN's Mike Reiss. "That's the biggest thing I've focused on, making a big stride from Year 1 to Year 2."

That said, Stidham did call his time learning as Brady's backup "priceless" and said that Brady is "phenomenal" in all facets of the game.

"He's a phenomenal teammate, a phenomenal person, obviously a phenomenal player," Stidham said per Reiss. "There was just so much that I got to learn from him. He was obviously very open to me about stuff that he's thought about the game of football, and stuff like that. It was great. I can't speak highly enough of that guy."

Perhaps Stidham's time learning from Brady has served him well. After all, Patriots fans haven't seen him in action since Week 7 and Phil Perry reported that Stidham was impressing his teammates and coaches alike in late-December.

But is he ready to be a starter? The Patriots moves this offseason will surely tell us more about their thoughts on that.

The Patriots won't definitively know what Brady's plans are for 2020 until he puts pen to paper somewhere. In the interim, it's at least encouraging that Stidham is putting in the effort behind the scenes to improve after spending a year learning from Brady. 

Eminem name-drops Tom Brady on his just-released album

Eminem name-drops Tom Brady on his just-released album

Tom Brady appears to have a kindred spirit as his career continues into his 40s.

Eminem name-drops TB12 on the track "Premonition" off the album "Music To Be Murdered By" which he released on Friday.

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The song takes on the critics of the 47-year-old rapper from Detroit and compares the critiques he gets to ones leveled at LeBron James, 35, and the Patriots quarterback, who'll turn 43 in August. 

Here's part of the song:

“Revival flopped, came back and I scared the crap out ‘em

But Rolling Stone stars, I get two and a half outta

Five, and I’ll laugh out loud

‘Cause that’s what they gave BAD back in the day

Which actually made me not feel as bad now, ‘cause

If it happened to James

It can happen to Shady

They do the same [expletive] to Brady

More people hate me than love me

This game will make you go crazy.”

It's not Eminem's first reference to Brady in one of his songs. In 2013's "Baby", he raps, "I'm what Tom Brady is to the Patriots of rap. Not a man, a weapon."

And it's just the latest Brady reference that has dotted hip-hop and rap since the mid-2000s when the QB led the Pats to the second and third of the six Super Bowl titles they've won. Other artists such as Drake, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane and Kanye West have referenced him as a symbol of excellence. 

Brady told the Boston Globe last year before the Super Bowl he appreciates it.

 “That’s always really cool,” Brady said. “I’m a big fan of so many of those guys. I have a lot of friends [in music] that I’ve met over the years that are fans of what we do, too...I think that mutual appreciation or admiration is really flattering.”