When the pressure is greatest, my money is still on the Uggs lover.
Sunday at Miami, all Brady did in the fourth quarter was throw for 195 yards -- that should've been 209. Brady's primary targets were a former undrafted free agent (5-11, 195-pound Amendola) and a former college quarterback drafted in the last round (5-10, 198-pound Julian Edelman). Not exactly Randy Mosses.
Brady's two best deep threats -- undrafted rookie Kenbrell Thompkins and rookie second-rounder Aaron Dobson -- were out injured. With 1:15 remaining, needing a touchdown to win, Brady passed the Patriots from his 20 to Miami's 19, even converting a fourth-and-8, then whipped a sweet, shades-of-Marino strike to Amendola breaking open at the goal line.
Amendola bobbled it just long enough for a recent Dolphins pickup, Michael Thomas, to catch up and dislodge the ball. It should've been caught. The Patriots would've been 11-3.
Two plays later, Brady threw to backup tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, subbing for Gronkowski, who managed only seven games this season before being lost again, to a knee injury. Hoomanawanui clearly was interfered with by Dannell Ellerbe. No flag. Should've been first-and-goal at the 1. Shades of the flag picked up in the end zone late at Carolina, when Luke Kuechly clearly interfered with Gronkowski.
But yes, on fourth down, an obviously frustrated Brady tried to force one last pass to yet another smallish receiver, 6-foot Austin Collie. Apparently Brady didn't see that new guy, Thomas, lurking underneath the route. Game-ending interception.
But do not forget what Michael Jordan once said in a Nike commercial: "Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. That's why I succeed."
Like Jordan, Brady isn't afraid to fail because he has beaten the clock so many other times. It wasn't Brady's fault his 18-0 Pats lost to the Giants, costing him a fourth Super Bowl ring. With 2:42 left in the game, Brady hit Moss for the 14-10 TD. It took David Tyree catching an Eli Manning prayer in his face mask to cancel Brady's heroics.
But I still give Brady 55 percent of the blame for the pass a wide-open Welker failed to catch that almost certainly would have beaten Eli's Giants two Super Bowls ago. Most Pats fans hold Welker responsible. But Brady's pass was shockingly high and outside.
This just in: Brady isn't perfect.
I don't know Brady, but, from a distance, his on-field versus off-field personas are as jarring as any QB's since Roger Staubach -- whom I did know when he played for the Cowboys. In interviews, Staubach was the nicest, kindest do-unto-others father and husband -- but in fourth quarters, he went to some crazy place that scared (and inspired) teammates. Staubach could play an uninspired, out-of-sync first three quarters, then flip that psycho-killer switch. He didn't get nervous as the pressure mounted. He got mad.
The miracles that man made remain, foremost the Hail Mary in Minnesota from which longtime Vikings fans have never quite recovered.