The League

Peter Schaffer
NFL Agent

Peter Schaffer

Agent and professor of sports law

Continuity = Improvement

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Tom Brady's apparent total and complete recovery from a near
devastating knee injury at the beginning of the 2008 season places
the vaunted New England Patriots directly into the role of Super Bowl favorite. While that's not meant as a slight to other fine AFC teams -- Steelers, Ravens, Titans and Colts, among them -- it's hard to see how the Patriots and Brady would not pick up exactly where they left off.

It is important to note that the Patriots system is strong, powerful
and historically successful. Even without Brady at the helm for the
vast majority of the 2008 season and led by then un-proven Matt
Cassell, the Patriots where a formidable foe and Cassell put up near
record numbers. Even without Brady the team's offense was productive. With the return of Brady, the New England offense won't just pick up where it left off; it will improve on its dominance.

The reasons
for this are numerous and various. They all start with the man at the-
helm, Bill Belichick, clearly the pre-eminent coach of our generation.
We're getting to the point now that one can almost see Belichick
relishing the challenge of showing how well his team can play even
when they lose valuable and talented players to injury (Brady,
Rodney Harrison, every running back etc.), retirement or free agency
defection (Assante Samuels and Daniel Graham, among others). Belichick has demonstrated
that his work ethic, system, intelligence and players are second to
none and succeed under any and all circumstances.

The next factor is Brady himself. His selfless devotion, team first
approach, work ethic and physical talents are second to none in the
NFL. He is the poster child for what a true superstar is: A player
with incredible talent who gets what it takes to be the best and make
the players around him even better. Individual sacrifices equate to
success. he teams in the NFL, a league that requires a maximum team
effort for success, that have their star players out working everyone
else on the roster will be the teams that succeed. The next component
is the incredible supporting talent around Brady, a crop of offensive players that are nearly entirely back and primed to perform at the highest level.
Finally, Brady
leads the league in the most important factor know to being a
successful quarterback in the NFL. I'll call it the "Gretzsky factor," because, like The Great One, Brady has the ability to slow the game down in his head nearly to the point of slow motion. His ability to see things before his opponent, to see
plays unfold and predict the next move, is uncanny and mimics the
talent of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Yes, I'm putting him on the list with Unitas,
Marino and Namath.

The cherry on the top of this perfect sundae is the fact that, particularly in the
NFL, continuity equates to improvement. While many teams can claim
improvement by additions of talent either through the-draft or via
free agency, the reality is that a team that maintains its core
players year-in, year-out will improve simply by a longer tenure of playing together. In
football, the more that players player together, the better they
become not only as individuals but as a team. The Colts of their
recent hey day with the likes of Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark are a perfect example of this concept. The Patriots return nearly their entire
offensive roster, and this in and of itself will bring improvement.

Tom Brady has the proper mix of talent, success, work ethic, humility
and an ability to date super models, combined with a Hall of Fame
coach and almost a complete veteran team. His own success, and that of his team, is all but a foregone conclusion.

By Peter Schaffer  |  May 28, 2009; 12:25 PM ET  | Category:  NFL , New England Patriots , Peter Schaffer , Quarterbacks Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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I have to tip my hat to you. You wrote what I have been thinking for awhile now that Brady is back. The Patriots are clearly the team to beat with a healthy Tom Brady. They may have been the team to beat even if Matt Cassell was returning as their starting QB.

Posted by: BeltwayBoy | May 30, 2009 4:37 PM

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