Darrelle Revis

Darrelle Revis: Patriots QB Tom Brady 'is the ultimate competitor'

Darrelle Revis: Patriots QB Tom Brady 'is the ultimate competitor'

There are many things that have helped make New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady such a great player for nearly two decades, and his ultra competitiveness certainly is near the top of the list.

In the latest NFL 100 roundtable, legendary defensive backs gathered to talk about Brady, and some of the attributes that have made him so great for so long.

Darrelle Revis had a unique perspective as the only player on the roundtable who had played against and played with Brady. Revis signed a one-year contract with the Patriots in 2014 and went on to win Super Bowl XLIX with the veteran quarterback that season.

The future Hall of Fame cornerback had an up close view of Brady's competitive fire in 2014, and he came away quite impressed.

"I had an opportunity to actually play with Tom," Revis said. "(We were) rivals for six years. I was on one side, playing for the New York Jets, competing against him and studying against him. Then also team up with him, and actually win a Super Bowl. When you're on the rival side, you're always studying and trying to figure this guy out week in and week out. You play them twice per year. Same conference -- you're trying to figure this guy out. What does he have that I don't have? What is driving him more than my drive? When I had the opportunity to team up with him and I was around him every day, I was like, 'Yeah, this guy is the ultimate competitor.'"

Part of Brady's competitive edge comes from different points in his career when few people believed in him. He always had to battle for his starting job at the University of Michigan, and then every NFL team passed on Brady several times during the 2000 draft before the Patriots finally selected him with the 199th overal pick.

Even after winning multiple Super Bowl titles and building a resumé worthing of GOAT status, Brady still receives a ton of criticism from certain members of the media. The chip on Brady's shoulder isn't likely to go away until he retires, and that drive will certainly help the Patriots in 2019 as they attempt to win what would be a record-breaking seventh Super Bowl championship in franchise history.

Aaron Rodgers has perfect response to Tom Brady's critics>>>

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Seven Patriots plays among 31-100 of NFL Top 100 list

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Seven Patriots plays among 31-100 of NFL Top 100 list

The Patriots are well represented among the first 70 of NFL's countdown of Top 100 plays. As part of the league's 100th anniversary, the NFL will count down its 100 greatest across five categories on NFL Network episodes over the next 10 weeks: Plays (Sept. 13 & Sept. 20), Games (Sept. 27 & Oct. 4), Characters (Oct. 11 & Oct. 18), Game-Changers (Oct. 25 & Nov. 1) and Teams (Nov. 8 & Nov. 15).

The list was selected by a panel of 50 voters (the same panel that votes for the NFL Awards and the All-Pro team), including our own Tom E. Curran, who listed his Top 20 plays earlier this summer, here. Voters were given a ballot of 100 plays and asked to rank 50.

Seven plays involving the Pats dot the list of plays 100-31, most will make New England fans want to hide their eyes, but all are unforgettable. Plays 30-1 will be revealed next Friday. There's likely a better batch of Patriots plays (Julian Edelman's catch in Super Bowl 51? Malcolm Butler's pick in Super Bowl 49?) in the Top 30.  

 

Great Patriots Debates: Which superstar cameo — Dillon, Moss or Revis — was best?

Great Patriots Debates: Which superstar cameo — Dillon, Moss or Revis — was best?

It's happened time and again. The Patriots identify a player who has established himself as one of the game's best elsewhere, a player who has become available for one reason or another — often it's a combination of the player no longer being in his prime and his relationship with his employer having eroded — and they mobilize.

It happened last year with Josh Gordon. Two years ago it was James Harrison who showed up in Foxboro after a beef with the Steelers. In 2016, the Patriots landed Martellus Bennett in a low-cost trade with the Bears. 

You don't have to be Bill Belichick to discern the value in these moves. The price tags are relatively cheap, and the dividends can be huge if the players re-discover what made them great once they join a new program, under a coach looking to accentuate their skills, with a quarterback who will squeeze what he can out of what's around him.

These players haven't necessarily been acquired with the long-term in mind. But just because their Patriots tenures were short doesn't mean they weren't hugely impactful. Some that have re-written record books. Some that have resulted in the franchise adding to its stack of Lombardis.

In today's Great Patriots Debate, we'll focus in on the most impactful superstar cameos in Patriots history: Between Corey Dillon, Randy Moss and Darrelle Revis, which acquisition should be considered the best of the best?

COREY DILLON

Dillon was a punishing runner who made an immediate impact in his first year with Cincinnati, breaking Jim Brown's single-game rushing record for a rookie (246 yards on 39 carries, four touchdowns), and totaling 1,129 yards in the 1997 season. He set the single-game rushing record (278 yards) in 2000, surpassing Walter Payton's mark. He made three consecutive Pro Bowls from 1999-2001.

In 2003, Dillon was banged up. He started in 11 games after having started all but two regular-season games in the previous five years, and he finished with just 541 yards. (Dillon was declared inactive for one game following a traffic accident.) He wasn't shy about sharing his feelings on his usage, and he openly lobbied for a trade after the season.

Dillon landed in New England in the spring of 2004 for the cost of a second-round pick — the steepest price of any of the three players featured here — and quickly turned around what was the NFL's No. 27 rushing attack in its Super Bowl-winning season the year prior. He ran for a career-high 1,635 yards (on a whopping 4.7 yards per carry), averaging over 100 yards per game, scored 12 times and made his fourth Pro Bowl. That postseason, en route to the team's third title in four years, he ran 65 times for 292 yards in three games, including a 144-yard performance against the Colts in the Divisional Round. 

The following two years saw Dillon deal with injuries as he ran for just over 1,500 yards combined in 2005 and 2006. As he saw his role diminished, he wasn't thrilled. (Check out Tom E. Curran's write-up on Dillon in his Top 50 Patriots of the Belichick Era series for an amusing anecdote involving Heath Evans.) But his one year of dynamite production keeps him in the conversation as one of the best trade acquisitions Belichick ever made.

RANDY MOSS

As bright as Dillon's skills burned in 2004, Moss' return to form — ignited by his pairing with a Hall-of-Fame level passer — was even more dramatic. 

In 2007, the Patriots were coming off a season when they fell one game short of a Super Bowl appearance due in part to their lackluster receiving corps. They overhauled the entire room, adding Wes Welker and Donté Stallworth as well as going after Moss. Having established himself as one of the greatest talents to ever step on a field as a member of the Vikings earlier in his career, Moss hit a low with the Raiders, finishing 2006 with 42 catches, 553 yards and three scores. 

Going into his 30-year-old season, he was available. The Patriots offered up a fourth-rounder, and the deal was done.

Moss responded with one of the best seasons a wideout has ever had: 98 catches for 1,493 yards and a single-season record 23 touchdowns. He almost single-handedly turned around the commonly-held perception on Brady. The quarterback was now more "game-changer" than "game-manager" as he finished that season with a record 50 touchdown passes. 

Though Moss didn't win a ring with the Patriots, he was one of the drivers of their perfect regular season and he caught the go-ahead touchdown with less than three minutes remaining in Super Bowl XLII. He maintained an upper-tier level of play the following season with Matt Cassel behind center, grabbing 69 passes for 1,008 yards and 11 scores for a team that narrowly missed the postseason. 

In 2009, Moss continued to rack up numbers — he had 83 catches for 1,264 yards and 13 touchdowns in Brady's return from injury — but he didn't love the contract he'd signed the year prior, and in 2010 he complained openly about not being appreciated. He was traded mid-season to the Vikings.

DARRELLE REVIS

This was a true cameo. One season. Wham. Bam. Super Bowl. Thank you, man. 

The Patriots had just lost No. 1 corner Aqib Talib to the Broncos in free agency when Tampa Bay released Revis prior to the 2014 season. The Bucs, who'd just hired former Patriot executive Jason Licht to be their general manager, tried to trade Revis and his $16 million salary but couldn't. Their loss was New England's gain.

Revis agreed to a one-year, $12 million deal with the Patriots, which included a placeholder $20 million option for a second year that helped the Patriots spread Revis' cap hit. It didn't take long before the cover man going into his 29-year-old season showed he still deserved to be in the conversation as the game's top corner.

The Patriots (who also added press corner Brandon Browner that offseason) were allowed to play a more physical, man-heavy style of defense thanks to Revis' addition. He helped lock up players like Greg Jennings, A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, Reggie Wayne, Golden Tate and Keenan Allen in the regular season. In Super Bowl XLIX, he held Doug Baldwin to one catch — a three-yard touchdown aided by a referee's pick. The following offseason, Revis hit free agency again and signed a monster deal to return to the Jets. 

His time in New England lasted only a year, but it was a Super Bowl-winning year, and he was Belichick's best defensive player. When we're talking superstar Patriots cameos, there's an argument to be made that he's the best there's ever been.

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