View Full Version : League's star system protects Brady

11-08-2009, 07:58 AM
League's star system protects Brady

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer was knocked out of a 2005 playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a knee injury caused by a low - but legal - hit delivered by Steelers defensive tackle Kimo von Oelhoffen on the Bengals' first pass play.

The play went for a 66-yard touchdown to Chris Henry, but Palmer went out after tearing his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments on the play.

The Steelers won the game and went on to win the Super Bowl. Whether the Bengals would have gone to the Super Bowl if Palmer hadn't been knocked out is one of those great "what ifs?" of NFL history.

Last year, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, was knocked out in the first quarter of the first regular-season game by a low - but legal - hit from Kansas City safety Bernard Pollock.

Matt Cassel, who in a strange twist of fate is now quarterbacking the Chiefs against the Jaguars today, came in and led the Patriots to an 11-5 record.

The league didn't like the idea of its premier quarterback not being in the playoffs, and it passed a new rule banning low hits from players who are on the ground.

The rule created controversy, when Baltimore's Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs were called for roughing Brady earlier this season. Ngata was called for a helmet hit, so that was obvious, but Suggs was called for a low hit when he barely brushed Brady's knees. Brady hopped over him and seemed to be looking in the direction of the referee for a flag.

The Ravens protested, but the head of the officials, Mike Pereira, backed the call, saying the referee should err on the side of caution to protect the quarterback.

As it turns out, there have been only three other roughing-the-passer penalties against Brady this year.

So the controversy kind of died down until talkative Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter said last week on the NFL Network that Brady "gets his own rules" and said he tries to get calls.

Somehow, the allegation that the league is trying to protect Brady was treated as news.

Duh. Of course, the league is.

When the league's top star goes down, the league takes notice.

It's like when you go to a Broadway play. Nobody wants to hear that the understudy is filling in for the star.

Because the Dolphins go to New England today, Porter was likely trying to work the refs in advance.

It probably won't work.

If Porter's on the ground and lunges at Brady's knees, Porter is probably going to get called for a penalty.

Brady denied that he works the refs.

"I think the ref calls what he sees," Brady said, according to the Boston Globe. "I don't think I've ever influenced a call. The refs we have are very good. If they make a call on that, great. If they don't, that's fine."

As far as Porter's comments, Brady was diplomatic.

"Some people get more motivated by that stuff than other people. I think it's just guys having confidence. Joey has a lot of confidence, and he should. That's a really good team, and he's a great player," Brady said.

Brady's not the type to get in a war of words with an opponent, but that doesn't change the fact that the league wants to protect him.

Fear of flying

Speaking of Brady, he sounded just like another husband whose wife won't listen to him during a radio interview in Boston last week.

His wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, is learning to fly a helicopter to make it easier for her to commute between Boston and New York, and Brady's not thrilled about it.

Bundchen, who's pregnant, told him "it's safe" for her to be flying solo for two, according to the Boston Herald.

"I guess I just have to go with it. There's some things I'm definitely not gonna win, and that's one of them," Brady said.

"I don't feel quite safe with that. We always like to have somebody who's had, whatever, thousands of hours [flying], you know, that's probably what makes me feel the most comfortable. I don't think solo flight's good for anybody. There's a lot of things that can happen up there to one person."

With the money Bundchen is making (she makes a lot more than Brady), you'd think she could hire a pilot rather than flying solo.

Brady said his wife, who never paid much attention to football before they met, is a quick study.

"She questions every transaction that's made by our team. So she's like most of the Patriots' fans now. She's got a big opinion on everything," Brady said.

Colts to be tested

With Peyton Manning directing the league's No. 1 passing offense in yards gained, the fact that the Indianapolis Colts have the No. 1 scoring defense - allowing 13 points a game - has been obscured.

In fact, their scoring defense has been better than their scoring offense. They're tied for sixth in scoring points.

But the defense is going to be tested in the next eight days. The Colts face the Houston Texans and Matt Schaub today, and that's just a warmup for the annual duel with Brady next Sunday night in one of the featured games of the season.

Because the Colts and Patriots usually finish first in their respective divisions, they've played ever year since 2002, when they placed in different divisions during realignment.

The Colts have won four of the past five, including a playoff victory, but there should be an asterisk next to last year's result because Brady was hurt.

Now the Indy defense faces a major challenge because safety Antoine Bethea will be the only member of the projected starting secondary on the field today.

Cornerback Marlin Jackson suffered a season-ending knee injury. Safety Bob Sanders is out for the year with a torn biceps, and cornerback Kelvin Hayden is expected to miss at least four weeks with a knee injury.

Sorry in D.C.

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder rarely talks to reporters during the season, but he issued a public apology for his team's 2-5 record.

"We've let everyone down, including ourselves, and we know that, and we're just apologetic," he said, according to The Associated Press.

It remains to be seen if Snyder is going to take serious steps to solve the problem.

He needs to hire a strong general manager and let him run the team.

But Snyder wants to run the team himself and has a habit of overspending for big names whose best days are behind them.

This story contains information from interviews, other beat writers, Web sites and news service reports.

vito.stellino@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4279

11-08-2009, 08:48 AM
Yet Ben can get mauled and get no calls. Ben's legs, chest, and head would literally have to fall off before HE gets a call. Yet the drama queen gets them all. Unbelievable.

And Palmer?

He's a b*tch anyway.