By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Bill Polian is always good for a chuckle.
Whether it’s claiming to have had a first-round grade on Tom Brady prior to the 2000 draft, or flip-flopping on an issue as serious as domestic violence after getting a stern talking-to from the league, or being factually incorrect about Hall of Fame worthiness, or getting confused about how smear campaigns work, or making sweeping generalizations about drug users, or reportedly urging his team from afar to break Doug Flutie’s leg, or praising the Bears for doing a terrific job in the draft, or inspiring the Patriots to preemptively call security on him for the safety of their employees, Polian has a knack for being wrong in a most comical way.
Fortunately, for the sake of our entertainment, he remains steadfast in his mission to provide humor. And unsurprisingly it was once again the Patriots who were stuck in Polian’s craw.
Here’s a real live comment from Polian on his Sirius XM show, as transcribed by Hector Longo of All22.com:
“Tom Brady was a quarter away from losing the Super Bowl last year pretty decisively.”
Yes! If that isn’t the most tremendous way to measure sports accomplishments, I don’t know what is. The 2016 Chicago Cubs were one game away from losing the World Series. Hey, the 2004 Red Sox were a few outs away from losing in the ALCS, so you can pretty much forget that curse-buster, too. The Chicago Bulls may have won six titles in the ’90s, but the Knicks and Pacers both took them to seven games in Eastern Conference playoff series and they needed six games — twice! — to beat the Jazz in the Finals, so did they really win those titles?
And, listen, the USA hockey team trailed 1-0 and then 2-1 to the Soviets in 1980. People forget that.
Can the opposite be true, too? Greg Norman was pretty close to winning that 1996 Masters, you know? And Jean Van de Velde pretty much won the 1999 British Open, so that’s how we should remember those two guys. And congratulations to the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors, who led 3-1 in the Finals and really played like champions through those first four games.
Oh, Bill. You’re great.
What’s crazy is that wasn’t even Polian’s best work. He continued:
“[The Patriots] are a great team. They are not as great as people think they are. They’re not invincible. What they are is exceptionally well-constructed and exceptionally well-coached. But, Tom Brady isn’t going to play forever. He showed some signs of being human last year on a number of occasions, including in the Super Bowl.”
I don’t know about you, but I literally laughed out loud at the last part.
Tom Brady threw two interceptions last season. Two. Many quarterbacks throw two interceptions on consecutive drives. But Tom Brady threw two interceptions total, in 12 games, on 432 pass attempts. With 28 touchdowns, he set an all-time NFL record for best TD-to-INT ratio. His 112.2 passer rating was second-best in the NFL and was the second-best mark in Brady’s Hall of Fame career.
He finished tied for seventh in touchdown passes despite only playing in 12 games.
And yes, he threw an interception in the Super Bowl — a bad one, at that — but … you know, he also threw for 466 yards (a Super Bowl record) on 43 completions (a Super Bowl record) in leading the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
In a game in which the New England offense ran a ridiculous 99 plays from scrimmage, the 39-year-old Brady was at his absolute best at the end. He went 21-for-27 for 246 yards and a touchdown (while also converting a two-point conversion pass) in the fourth quarter and overtime, and that’s despite taking three sacks in that span and five overall on the night.
Again, that was just in the fourth quarter and one drive of overtime. For comparison’s sake, take a look at Polian’s boy, Peyton Manning, who in his prime threw for 247 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the entire game during his Super Bowl win in 2006. He won his second Super Bowl looking very much “human,” when he threw for 141 yards and zero touchdowns.
[graphiq id=”l8jguy6vGsd” title=”Tom Brady Career Passer Rating” width=”600″ height=”464″ url=”https://sw.graphiq.com/w/l8jguy6vGsd” frozen=”true”]
Brady, meanwhile, has looked anything but human. What he did at age 39 was unprecedented in the history of the sport, and it’s reason enough to believe he’s in good position to perform similarly at age 40.
[graphiq id=”aPyjSlXO76l” title=”Tom Brady’s Super Bowl Performances” width=”600″ height=”520″ url=”https://sw.graphiq.com/w/aPyjSlXO76l” frozen=”true”]
Will it last forever? No, of course not. But hopefully Polian’s aggressively wrong opinions will continue to flow for all of eternity. The world needs entertainment.