Chad Pennington, Giovanni Carmazzi, Chris Redman, Tee Martin, Marc Bulger and Spergon Wynn. What do these quarterbacks have in common? Six National Football League franchises felt that these quarterbacks would bring more success to their organization than the No. 199 pick in sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft.
All six quarterbacks were picked ahead of Tom Brady, yet only three recorded victories in the NFL. Pennington had a record of 44-37 while Marc Bulger had an extremely mediocre career going 41-54. Chris Redman started 12 games over eight seasons going 4-8.
The other three you ask? A combined 0-3: Spergon Wynn was 0-3 in three starts, Tee Martin appeared in three NFL games but never started. Giovanni Carmazzi never appeared in an NFL game. Ironically, he lives a shepherd’s life as a goat herder.
On Feb. 3, a report was released that Carmazzi’s most prized goat, Tommy, broke loose and galloped his way to Mercedez Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia for Super Bowl LIII. There, he led his team to a 13-3 victory over the Rams of Los Angeles for his sixth Super Bowl Championship.
All the “experts” predicted a shoot out, something that has become the norm in today’s NFL. 2018 was the second highest scoring season in the Super Bowl era.
Sure, Brady didn’t have one of his best performances on paper but when it came to fourth quarter crunch time, he dropped a perfect 29-yard ball in the hand’s of Rob Gronkowski to set up rookie Sony Michel for the game-winning score.
The real story of the game was coach Bill Belichick’s ability to adapt and orchestrate the greatest defensive performance in Super Bowl history, holding 2018’s second ranked offense, and 11th all-time, to the fewest points ever scored in the big game.
This game contained so many unique storylines. The fact that Brady won his sixth ring 17 years to the day he won his first against the same Rams. The fact that two of the fourth highest scoring teams in the 2018 NFL season combined for the fewest points in Super Bowl history. And the fact that a 66-year old mastermind outcoached the 33-year old phenom, and supposed heir to Belichick, Sean McVay.
Although it seemed like McVay was overwhelmed going up against Belichick’s defense, one man who was certainly prepared was Ram’s defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Up until midway through the fourth quarter, Brady and company looked out of sorts with the exception of Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman, who raked in 10 catches for 141 yards, eight of which went for first downs.
All evening Brady looked uncomfortable. At times where he would have normally been conservative, he tried to do too much. He threw an interception on his first pass of the game and had a fumble where he would have normally taken a sack. Wade Phillips game plan was exceptional, and honestly should have been enough to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Los Angeles.
This begs the question, what happened to the offensive juggernaut of the Rams led by Todd Gurley?
Going into the game there was all kinds of speculation on the severity of his knee injury. Both McVay and Gurley himself insisted that the injury wasn’t serious and that he would still be the lead back on Sunday. This did not come to fruition as Gurley accumulated 11 touches throughout the game compared to back-up C.J. Anderson’s nine.
Was Gurley actually hurt? Or did Belichick’s defensive game plan prompt McVey to stray from the run? Either way, I believe the Rams gave up on the run too early considering how close the game was from start to finish. Furthermore, sticking to the run would have given the Rams defense, who were seemingly on the field the entire game, some much needed rest. Brady took advantage and slowly chipped-away at the Rams before breaking through with the game-winning score with seven minutes to play.
A sixth-round pick, six quarterbacks picked ahead of him and now six rings. Demonized for his perennial success, cheating accusations and unwillingness to give the press any information, Brady and the New England Patriots are ironically a classic Horatio Alger story that should be respected and revered, not reviled.
When everyone told Patriots owner Robert Kraft not to hire Bill Belichick, he ignored the noise and made the best decision in NFL history. When Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury, Belichick stuck with his unproven rookie over his $100 million man. And while most other franchises are overpaying for big name stars and tolerating egomaniacal and narcissistic players, the Patriots work hard to scout and find individuals that fit their system and put the team first. Just take Brady for example, the fifteenth highest paid quarterback in the NFL and the greatest quarterback of all-time.
This game wasn’t the shootout that fans expected and for those without a horse in the race, maybe not even entertaining. But if you’re a fan of great coaching, defense and determination, this was truly a treat. While many loathe the now six-time champs, this dynasty is something to be appreciated.
Enjoy it. You will never see this again.