I am going to do two things that I try not to do in this post. Talk Semi-Blasphemy about the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. The second is to agree with Ray Lewis. The first is because this blog is led by a fearless leader who really likes his New England teams. I respect that, so I will poke fun at him once in a while because of what happens to his teams but stay away from some controversies. The second is because I just think that Ray Lewis is a blowhard that usually makes no sense. But I am violating these rules because it goes to a larger point that Zeb was trying to make with the Dez Bryant non-catch and Ray Lewis was speaking about when he mentioned Tom Brady awkwardly.
Think back to 2001 and the New England Patriots. Drew Bledsoe gets hurt early in the season. And I still cannot believe that Zeb is at the front of the line for him to be a Hall of Famer. Anyways, in comes Tom Brady to lead the Patriots into the playoffs and that fateful playoff game against the Raiders in Foxboro. We all know what happens in the "Snow Job", Charles Woodson strips Tom Brady of the ball but there is a tuck rule that had been put in place in 1999 for some reason.
Imagine what would have become of Tom Brady had the Patriots lost that game. First thing is that the Patriots do not win that Super Bowl. Duh! The dynasty of the Patriots may have never came into being. Why? Because at that time Bill Belichick is not considered a certified genius at the time. After the disappointment of that loss, you think that Belichick would have stuck with Brady at quarterback, or turned back to the veteran Bledsoe who was ready to start that 2002 season healthy? If you say Brady, then stop reading this post. You are too delusional for rational thought.
If Bledsoe leads that 2002 team, I don't think that Brady is in Foxboro too much longer. They have a commodity that is valuable as a trade chip and a previous league MVP in front of him. I believe that the Patriots trade Brady and never obtain the dynasty that they have had in the AFC East for the past 15 years. There is something about Brady that is able to get the best out of his teammates that Bledsoe never could in his years in the league. So the Patriots might have become the 49ers of the 2010's. Good enough to make the playoffs and even possibly a Super Bowl, but not good enough to have a sustained run of being the favorite each year to win the entire thing. I believe that the 2003 and 2004 championships would never come into being because Brady and his magic were the reason for the win over Carolina. The Eagles defense would have had much more success against Bledsoe if he were still playing in 2004.
When Ray Lewis launched his nobody would have ever heard of Tom Brady except for the tuck rule rant, he was discussing how the NFL has way too many rules for the game that is being played. I think that Tom Brady would have become a starting QB somewhere else, he wouldn't be the superstar that he is today. But his point is this, we fans all saw a fumble that Charles Woodson caused during the "Snow Job". The only reason that it wasn't is because of a rule that the NFL had passed because of some incident earlier in history that they thought they needed to legislate. And that is what started Tom Brady on the path to super stardom. I happen to agree with that.
On Zeb's and Lewis's argument that the NFL has too many rules, I concur. But I also see the other side of the argument. Remember why the NFL says that the defense has the right to substitute when the offense does? It is called the Wyche rule. Sam Wyche used to substitute players quickly and run the play. He wasn't breaking the rules, but the "spirit" of the rule for substitutions. So a new rule had to be put into place. Sort of what will probably be put into place after the "4 OL formation" the Patriots utilized against the Ravens. It didn't violate the rules, but the "spirit" of the rules.
Less rules would make the NFL a more interesting game, but then we will go back to the era of hucksters and people being befuddled if a play is legal or illegal. More rules will make it more regimented and stifle innovation. It is a balancing act that the NFL needs to get correct. Sometimes, it fails on that. The Dez Bryant non-catch is one of those fails. So the next time that you complain that a rule is stupid, remember earlier in the history of the league, there was another call where the public said that they needed that exact rule to make sure that an injustice would not be committed again.