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Tom Brady: Fight or Flight

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PonyExpress, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress Rookie

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    When a person is under acute emotional stress, such as a fight or flight situation, certain physiological changes occur to the human body. Circulation alters, and the Blood is drawn away from the extremities and toward the body's core. This change in circulation is reflected in altered heartrate, breathing patterns, and a sudden lack of coordination, especially in the hands and feet. Sport is a measure of man's ability to master himself in these moments, governing his instincts while still executing refined skills. Complex motions, especially involving the use of the arms and hands, become especially difficult. In real life I would put accurately firing a rifle in battle in this category, and in sports the act of throwing, catching and hitting a ball, among others.
    I think 99% of people struggle in these situations, although with additional exposure over time they may learn to master their fear and adrenaline somewhat. This process explains why highly refined athletes like Steve Young, Peyton MAnning and Roger Clemens suddenly lose their coordination, are unable to throw strikes, hit open receivers or even think clearly, doing the inexplicable due to some innate emotional instability.
    I think 1% of humanity has an innate genius whereby they naturally master this physiological process. They either are unaffected by the change in circulation, or the change, by some quirk of fate, does not even occur. I believe That is Tom Brady's gift. His talent does not consist in rising to the occasion under pressure, but merely in remaining himself, and staying the same. Therein lies his genius.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2006
  2. HAMMERMILL

    HAMMERMILL Rookie

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    I think on a cellular level,all his cells look like little tiny footballs:)
  3. teamplay

    teamplay Rookie

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    You're on to something, Pony...when I watch other QBs, virtually everyone comes unglued a few plays a game due to something they didn't anticipate...in those very rare instances when it happens to Brady, it's a shock.
  4. Poll

    Poll Rookie

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    This reminds of a documentary on NGC in which courage of soldiers in WW2 was investigated. One percent of all soldiers were heroes, one percent were psychopaths without feat, and the rest were just followers.

    Maybe this applies to sports as well.
  5. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I know I've seen this written about Brady before, along with Montana, etc. This is very deep stuff and I think very fundamental to why he is almost freakishly calm and calculating when everything is flying around him.

    In fact, I see direct correlation of the respiratory and heart beat measurements of test pilots and astronauts to successful NFL quarterbacks. Whenever I watch old film footage of the Mercury and Apollo astronauts, I can easily imagine Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr and Lenny Dawson hanging out and fitting in with John Glenn, Alan Shepherd and James Lovell. I honestly believe there is an entire book that could be written about the similarity of components necessary between successful test pilots/astronauts and NFL quarterbacks.

    I have been very critical of Matt Cassel last year and this year for having "happy feet" and looking jumpy in the pocket. It is not necessarily all Cassel's fault - - anyone would look that way in comparison to Brady.
  6. fgssand

    fgssand PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think it is a stretch to go from the psychological impact of war time or an astronaut going where man has never been to that of a game. The game is not life & death (except to us here in patsfans.com).
  7. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress Rookie

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    I think the physiological process is very similar. After all, football as well as many other sports were designed to mimic war, and often to train men for war. Wasn't the victory at the Marne won on the playing fields of Eton? That's why football in its origins was so fundamental at the US Service Academies in training cadets, and most of the great coaches were all WW I & II vets. Even BB draws on the Navy football background of his father, and others, with high regard. Many of the original drills, training habits, tactics and strategies of football were right out of military PT. Physical and close combat are "war" at its most basic level, with the injury risk diminished.
  8. scott99

    scott99 Rookie

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    Wow......This sure is a whole lot of well thought out.....ummmm....psychobabble.
  9. Big_Os_Hometown

    Big_Os_Hometown Rookie

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    You refer to the prophecy of the one who will bring balance to the Force
  10. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    If I was in Brady's shoes, I think I'd find a whole lot of comfort in the fact that: (A). I'm playing a GAME for a living and it's neither life nor death, and (B). no matter what happens, I'm a young, handsome multimillionaire already set for life. I think those factors might take a little edge off the extraneous stress.
  11. FloridaPatsFan

    FloridaPatsFan Rookie

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    There is another sport not mentioned here that is definately the epitomy of what Pony is talking about. Golf. Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods all had an ablility to perform a very difficult task under extreme pressure. Its what seperates the Greats from the mere mortals. Tom Brady is going to win more NFL championships before he retires because of his ability to handle pressure and still perform. As the athletes mentioned started their pro careers at an unusually high level of tolerance to pressure and only got better at it over time. This could happen with Tom Brady.
  12. onegameatatime

    onegameatatime Rookie

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    In an interview, Montana said that when the game was on the line, time seemed to slow down. I think for most people, it psychologically speeds up and people get jittery.

    In the 2002 SB, as if we did not need more evidence, 2 things told me TB was special: (1) he took a nap between practice and game time, and (2) if you watch the final spike before the FG, he calmly waits for the ball to come down, catches it with one hand, and hands it to the ref as if it was no big deal. Amazing!
  13. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    Actually top clutch players don't play equally well under pressure, they play better.

    Those physiological effects have to do with blood chemistry, nervous system etc.

    It is absolutely no accident the same players always come through in the clutch.
  14. PatsFan-NH

    PatsFan-NH Rookie

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    Actually this statement may also explain Peyton's inability to win in the post-season.

    The other night one of the preview shows was talking about Eli VS Peyton.

    One of the guys was a Peyton fan and he said that Peyton was such a preparation freak that he set up cameras aimed at him from the Corner Back position and then broke down the film to analyze what they saw when they looked at him.

    Now on first hearing that sounds very good, very thorough and very prepared. But that may be the key to him. He is such a control freak, that he has to see and think out every option before-hand. He can't compose well on the fly. When the game moves into areas that he hasn't planed for, he can't function well, or sometimes at all. His preparedness has become a crutch because you can't anticipate everything.

    Even though he may call 'unexpected' or changed plays at the line, they are probably all thought out and planed for specific situations. When it comes to a real change he chokes, unlike Brady who though he plans and prepares can also improvise. Because Brady is used to working without a net from time to time his stress level is lower and he has less physical problems.

    Peyton will never achieve that because his very approach dooms him to failure. The more stress, the more he plans, and the less able to improvise he is, the more likely he is to choke. A vicious cycle.
  15. dante828

    dante828 Rookie

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    This was a great analysis of Peyton Manning. I had never quite thought of it that way before but your exactly right. Peyton gets in trouble when he starts to think too much about what he is doing. In regular season games, against bad, predictable teams, this is not a problem, because Peyton pretty much knows what he is going to see, and nothing really shakes him up. However, against teams like the Patriots (and the Steelers) he is faced with innovative, unpredictable defenses, which cause him to start thinking about everything he is doing. He starts to outthink himself, gets happy feet, starts throwing the ball all over the place, gets frustrated, and starts blaming everyone else.

    This flaw is going to keep him from ever winning anything, unless he gets lucky and catches a year where most of the good teams just aren't that good and he never runs into a good, unpredictable defense. However, I find this unlikely.
  16. MDPATSFAN

    MDPATSFAN Rookie

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    Happy feet is right!....The more he becomes unglued, the higher those knees go...almost as if he's running in place.
  17. mikey

    mikey Rookie

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    I thought Mr Brady's most "acute emotional stress" occurred not on the football field, but at his home back during the 2000 NFL draft.

    I read he was so emotional distraught that he took a baseball bat and thought about smashing all the cars parked on the street.

    True, it wasn't a "life or death" situation, but he was that close to being out of of the league before his career started.

    But instead of "flight", he decided to "fight" and repay the team which gave him the opportunity to be who he is today.

    .
  18. BJ_McWild

    BJ_McWild Rookie

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    LOL!!! Awesome!!!

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