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Luck and the NFL

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Steve Zabel, Jan 17, 2008.

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  1. Steve Zabel

    Steve Zabel Banned

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    I hope you can forgive me. Life long Patriots fan from the late 60's-70's (Hate Fairbanks). I left our country to serve in 2 Gulf conflicts and have just got back after 6 years as a governement contractor. So my football acumen may be off. As I survey the landscape, I am drawn to several ironies that surround the Patriots from my time the new "PATS" and just wanted everyone's thought. When I left in 1991, Walpole High School drew more fans than the Patriots and the Dolphins were considered the model franchise. 18 years later (which I know is a long time) the Dolphins are on the 5th coach in 5 years and the Patriots are the NFL model.

    In 1993, Drew Bledsoe and Rick Mirer were the 2 hot QB's drafted. If my memory serves me correctly, Mirer was considered the better player early on. By 1999 he had moved on to 4 teams, clearly not making the progress the pundits thought. Fast forward to 2001. We draft a skinny kid named Tom Brady, (who lets face it was so highly thought of that Damon/Brock Huard, Michael Bishop and Drew Bledsoe were ahead of him on the depth charts) In fact the Patriots give Bledsoe 100 million dollars to be the QB over the next 10 years. (I know it's romantic to say the Patriots knew what they had with Brady, but lets face it. Why give Bledsoe the money if you knew Brady was going to be the QB he is.)

    An injury, a tuck game later, an ankle injury in the AFCCG vs. Pitt and a 48 yd FG later and a legend is born.

    When you look back on it, has anyone asked what would have happened if Bledsoe did not get hurt vs. the Jets? If the refs had not called for a review of the fumble vs. Oakland?

    I guess my point is in all walks of life people get luck, good and bad. It's what you do after you get that luck. I know luck is the product of hard work, but there are alot of people who work hard and just don't get the break.

    I know. I was moved off a mortar line because I was considered too tall. 3 minutes after they moved me, the PFC who replaced me was killed by a sniper.
  2. SamBam39

    SamBam39 Rookie

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    Luck gives you opportunities.

    What you do with them is a reflection of your abilities.


    Most coaches would've put Bledsoe back in when he was healthy.
    Belichick had the intelligence not to.

    Many teams still would've lost that game after the tuck ruling.
    Brady and the Pats bore down and won it.

    You didn't get killed by that sniper.
    So, what are you gonna do with this opportunity?
  3. 80Brown

    80Brown Rookie

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    Regarding Bledsoe, given how he was playing I think they would have come to the conclusion that Brady was worth a shot in spite of the huge contract....but probably during the 02 season. In fact, had Bledsoe not gone down in 01, it very well may have been a controversy during training camp in 02.
  4. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Rookie

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    Amazing insight SZ! Luck or Fate, whatever we choose to call it plays a huge part in all our lives. Just like the move that took you out of harms way, we all have moments in our lives that change its course forever. Sometimes just little thing and other times huge...as in your case.

    We can only speculate as to what may have been Brady's fate had those twists of fortune never ocurred. But why question fate? In my own life, the thoughts of the "coincidents" that have changed my life actually comfort me greatly as I'm sure yours do as well.

    So I do not often wonder "what would have happened" to Mr Brady if "X" had never happened. I believe he was destined for greatness and nothing could have changed that. But the truth is we'll never know for sure. These things are and will remain one of life's mysteries. And I for one like it that way.

    Nice post!
  5. Steve Zabel

    Steve Zabel Banned

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    I've been a Special Education teacher for 6 years. Nothing more rewarding.
  6. MassPats38

    MassPats38 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Steve-

    Welcome back!

    First, I hope they didn't leave you over there between the two conflicts. I spent some time over there for both (and a few in between), but they let me come home for a little over a decade between the wars. It only took 90 days for you to get those national defense service medals awarded for each war, so I hope the 18 years is not an extreme form of overachieving. In all seriousness, I'm sure it's good to be back on U.S. soil. With my comparatively brief visits during conflicts, I always liked coming home.

    Second, sorry to hear about the PFC. I've known of a few who did not make it back and the names and faces never seem to leave your memory.

    Third, as to your question, I agree completely. All the planning in the world will not win championships or guarantee success. Some degree of luck is involved. In this franchise, Eason had the ability but not the head (there is no way to measure that intangible - intelligence tests do not evaluate the ability to think under fire), and the Pats chose him over Marino. In 1998, the Pats finally appeared to find the running back of the future (Robert Edwards) and lost him before next injury to a catastrophic injury in a flag football game. The Celtics chose Len Bias, a player who by all indications would have kept the franchise strong, and he died before the season. Reggie Lewis was a key contributor and he died as well, sending the team into the cellar.

    Tom Brady was a lucky find. Anybody who says otherwise must have a crystal ball given the fact that no team would let someone with his collective abilities fall to 199th in the draft. If the Patriots knew his full capabilities, why did he sit on the bench for a full year and into his second season? He was the exception to the rule in predicting successful NFL quarterbacks, and he has changed the face of the franchise. I am thankful as a fan the team was that lucky. The Patriots, to the organization's credit, built on lucky breaks with skill and planning. Today's team was created in part on luck, but the model for that team is research, planning and execution.
  7. xmarkd400x

    xmarkd400x Rookie

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    The Patriots knew Bledsoe was not the answer. Well, more to the point, BB knew Bledsoe was not the answer. In David Halberstam's "Education of a Coach" it comes right out and says it. BB was the defensive coordinator for the Jets before he was the head coach of the Patriots. He knew Bledsoe's weaknesses and how other teams would eventually exploit them. He was also impressed with Brady, who would often take the scout offense and run the Patriots playbook with them after practice.

    It was sort of like the Bernie Kosar situation, where he learned not to cut the franchise QB. The Mo Lewis hit was the perfect catalyst to bring in Brady. Did BB know that Brady was going to be as good as he is? No. But, He did know Brady was up and coming, and the Bledsoe was on his way out. Brady was #2 on the depth chart for a reason.
  8. MassPats38

    MassPats38 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I would agree that Bledsoe was not a Belichick favorite. The question raised by the thread is does success involve a degree of luck. Brady was the bottom of the depth chart his first year and climbed. Belichick used a throw-away pick on Brady in the draft, which given the draft theory applied by the Pats means he was the best available pick at 199. Belichick may have wanted to replace Bledsoe but could have done so at the beginning of 2001 after a year of evaluation of Brady's abilities (practice and preseason). As he was left with no other alternative after the injury, it could be said even he was not confident Brady was the answer at the time.
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