Tom Brady has been an NFL starter for 16 seasons, and for 16 seasons, Tom Brady has never played on a losing team. The Patriots are 183-52 when he’s under center, and that includes five Super Bowl titles and a staggering 14 seasons in which Brady led the team to double-digit wins.The regular-season pinnacle came in 2007, when the Patriots finished 16-0 — and improved to 18-0 in the postseason before running into an upstart Giants outfit led by Eli Manning in Super Bowl XLII. That Pats team was as close to unstoppable as we’ve seen — Brady completed 69 percent of his throws, tossing 50 touchdowns to the likes of Randy Moss (98 receptions, 1,493 yards, 23 TDs) and Wes Welker (112 receptions, 1,175 yards, 8 TDs) — beating opponents by an average of 20 points.
We mention all this because the Patriots are again defending Super Bowl champs, and they spent the offseason getting markedly better. So much better, in fact, that they’ve drawn comparisons to that ’07 squad. Not surprisingly, Brady wants no part of that conversation.
“It is really unfair to set expectations. To me, in my mind, it’s really a setup,” Brady said Tuesday during an apperance on WEEI’s “Kirk and Callahan” program. “You’re talking about some magical years that we’ve had that may never be duplicated again.”
Or maybe they’ll be duplicated in the coming months. But Brady reiterated that he has no interest in similarities between the past and present.
“It is so far from those types of things,” he continued. “You’re talking about some incredible teams that I’ve had an opportunity to be on and lucky to be on. This team is so far from where we need to be and we have so far to go. For this team, we need to be focused on so many other things than what people may think about us or say about us. There is so much improvement we need to make. I love the guys I’m playing with this year. It’s a totally different version of a team we’ve had. We’ll have our own strengths and weaknesses, but how the season plays out will be determined by what happens moving forward.”
That’s all well and good, but it’s not unreasonable to think that the Patriots will be 6-0 ahead of their Week 7 Sunday night Super Bowl rematch against the Falcons. (The Pats face the Chiefs, Saints, Texans, Panthers, Bucs and Jets over the first month and a half of the season.) And should they be undefeated, we’ll be hearing about — wait for it — how Brady’s ’17 team compares to its ’07 counterpart.
Through it all, Brady will remain undistracted.
“This team will be able to write our own chapter, and hopefully it’s a good one,” he said. “But it’s going to be determined by the work ethic that we do and the trust we have in one another. We are still a long ways from building that. We’re going to build it over the course of the year.”