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Clock ticks for Tom Brady and the Patriots

Super Bowl XLVI Getty Images

Tom Brady said after the game he hopes to make it back to a Super Bowl. That’s not a thought that would cross his mind early in his career.

The Patriots’ window for a championship hasn’t closed, but there’s no guarantee they will ever get so close to a title again.

Brady will be 35 years old next. New England will have a chance to win a title as long as Brady is playing at a high level and Bill Belichick is the coach. Brady hasn’t shown signs of decline yet, but it’s rare for a quarterback to continue playing so well at his age.

On NBC SportsTalk Tuesday night, I spoke about New England’s future with Russ Thaler and former NFL linebacker Pete Najerian. New England has major issues to solve this offseason at wide receiver and on defense, but they also have a lot of young talent.

The Patriots have become experts at changing on the fly. They have the draft picks, talent, and resources to be one of the favorites in the AFC this year. They will also have to show they can mentally rebound from a devastating loss.

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54 Responses to “Clock ticks for Tom Brady and the Patriots”
  1. ttommytom says: Feb 7, 2012 10:00 PM

    They need a pash rusher or two and a guy that can stretch the field. Everyone knows this.

  2. trbowman says: Feb 7, 2012 10:03 PM

    Wrote this just the other night!

    A couple more years with Brady before the window has closed for the Patriots

    Why do you think Brady has gotten even more, shall we say…. uptight in recent years?

    Because he knows that clock’s ticking and father time is an inevitability.

  3. truthfactory says: Feb 7, 2012 10:04 PM

    This year they got EXTREMELY lucky with scheduling and didn’t have to beat a team with a winning record until the AFC championship game (and they should have lost that one).

    Next year it looks like it may be just as easy. They only play 4 teams that had a winning record in 2011 and the best QB that they are scheduled to face is an often injured Matt Schaub.

    Don’t be surprised if we see them skate to the Superbowl again next year too…

  4. 2sausage11 says: Feb 7, 2012 10:05 PM

    Fix the D and 1 WR that can go deep. I can see them in the SB again next year

  5. edgerules says: Feb 7, 2012 10:06 PM

    More overreacting? Like ttommytom said, they need help with rushing the passer, and they need a deep threat or two. They should have learned that from last year. Getting an aged Ocho Cinqo was not the answer.

  6. nfl1818 says: Feb 7, 2012 10:07 PM

    major issues ? they have major but very select issues – they are in the 8th inning of a multi-year transition – the are possibly 1 stud from being a good D

  7. duanethomas says: Feb 7, 2012 10:09 PM

    Riddle me this Pats fans, Brady Lovers.

    Besides Elway how many QB have won a title after age 35?

    How many coaches have won a Super Bowl title after being with the team for over 10 years?

    Study history. The Pats are stale and barely made it this year. Give a thanks to Evans and Cundiff.

  8. truthfactory says: Feb 7, 2012 10:10 PM

    Randy Moss
    Aaron Hernandez
    Wes Welker
    Rob Grankowski
    Ty Law
    Troy Brown
    Asante Samuel
    Teddy Bruschi
    Rodney Harrison
    Vince Wilfork
    Richard Seymore
    Best O-line in football
    and Bill Bilichek

    Can we PLEASE stop with the “Tom Brady has done more with less” statments??? He has 2 of the top 4 TE’s in football, the BEST slot WR in football, and all everyone talks about is the “lack of a deep threat”.

    Guess what… 70% of teams in the NFL lack a real deep threat! Stop with the excuses. He has had, and does have plenty of talent, the best coach in the world, and one of the easiest schedules 2 years in a row. Can we stop with the “Brady has done more with less” statments?? Does he really need a PERFECT team to win a super bowl???

  9. bearsrulepackdrool says: Feb 7, 2012 10:13 PM

    If I didn’t know any better I’d say this article was written by Rex Ryan.

  10. captatl says: Feb 7, 2012 10:33 PM

    OOOPS, Not what I thought the headline meant. Thought it was more in line with it is 9:52 and Gisselle told him he had better be home by 10:00!!

  11. rogerbrad says: Feb 7, 2012 10:39 PM

    ttommytom says:
    Feb 7, 2012 10:00 PM
    They need a pash rusher
    ————————————————

    Brady a great pasher… He throws pashes way down the field.
    :-)

  12. rogerbrad says: Feb 7, 2012 10:42 PM

    truthfactory says:
    Feb 7, 2012 10:10 PM
    Does he really need a PERFECT team to win a super bowl???
    —————————-

    Yep. That’s what he needs…

  13. spaldingclan says: Feb 7, 2012 10:42 PM

    you are high if you think Arron Hernandez is a top 4 TE

  14. tim1999 says: Feb 7, 2012 10:53 PM

    The stats clearly tell the story – Brady’s playoff cache has been in decline ever since the Patriots made the offense all about him. They no longer use the running game, the screen game, their offense is actually quite predictable with Brady in the shotgun formation with an empty backfield most of the time.
    The Patriots need to get back to their winning roots – a good balance on offense between the run game, the passing game and having a real ability and DESIRE to control the clock via ball possession. When your priority is the passing game it’s difficult to slow things down and manage the game via control of the clock.
    Brady’s age may actually be a good thing for the Patriots coaching staff. It will force them to take the controls back and to begin to run a well rounded offense once again.
    The Patriots haven’t won anything since they became all about Tom Brady.

  15. armchairqb says: Feb 7, 2012 10:56 PM

    How about some WRs? Not one WR on that team could’ve cracked the starting line-up for the Giants.

    Might help if they gave their all-world QB something more to work with than chewing gum and baling wire. Draft the poor guy some big-time players from big-time college programs.

    Enough with the “Belichick guys” from North Texas State and the secondary that’s been cut 100 times by every other team in the league.

    They have a great coach, a great QB … maybe they need a great GM. And Belichick ain’t it.

  16. Deb says: Feb 7, 2012 11:01 PM

    I fell in love with the Steelers as the dynasty era wound down. Being young, I thought regularly going to the Super Bowl was a given. During that long 26 years between championships, I gained a real appreciation for how hard it is to get to the top of the NFL. You’re blessed if your team can at least be in contention more often than not. But the window of real Super Bowl potential closes very fast for every great team.

  17. 1historian says: Feb 7, 2012 11:11 PM

    “The clock ticks”.

    Wow, man that is DEEP.

    Of the 53 guys on the 2007 SB team there are 7 left.

    This current team came within one play of winning the Super Bowl.

    Their QB threw for more than 5K yards during the season.

    7 of the guys on the team them would have gone to the Pro Bowl had it not been for more urgent commitments.

    They have 2 picks in each of the 1st 2 rounds of this year’s draft.

    They have had 11 straight winning seasons, been in the playoffs in 9 of them, been in 5 Super Bowls, winning two,

    There are a hell of a lot of teams that would love to have their problems.

    You patriots haters are dancing on their grave – in your dreams, because there is no one in it, it hasn’t been dug and won’t be for a good long time.

    But you are funny.

  18. tweeter75 says: Feb 7, 2012 11:12 PM

    Time to bust out the video taping equipment again!!

  19. stangz11 says: Feb 7, 2012 11:20 PM

    If they can get just one guy who can rush off the edge, a consistent CB, and a deep threat wideout they’ll be fine for a few years.

    Desean Jackson perhaps? If he isn’t franchised?

  20. brian91388 says: Feb 7, 2012 11:33 PM

    truthfactory says:
    Feb 7, 2012 10:10 PM
    He has had, and does have plenty of talent, the best coach in the world, and one of the easiest schedules 2 years in a row.
    ————————-

    Um, I’ll give you his schedule this year, but that 2010 schedule was BRUTAL. They played all four teams that made their conference championship game. They played a playoff team 7 out of 16 weeks, and they beat all of them (while splitting with the Jets).

    While I don’t think Brady can complain about his offensive talent right now, your grouping in guys like Harrison, Bruschi, etc. that have NOTHING to do with this team. Zero. So yeah, he has two great tight ends, one great WR, and a great offensive line..he was a few minutes away from winning a Super Bowl. He should’ve played better, but what’s your point? It’s hard to win in this league, I’m not sure if you heard but there are 31 other teams with professional football players.

  21. latopia says: Feb 7, 2012 11:51 PM

    Clock’s also ticking on Gisele and Tom. The supermodel didn’t marry the star quarterback to bask in his decline.

  22. ttommytom says: Feb 7, 2012 11:53 PM

    lol…I had to read yours 4 times before I saw the mistake. I see Pass…. using a small phone excuse…one thumbs up for you.

  23. roamingabriel says: Feb 8, 2012 12:08 AM

    Greg, who were you having a discussion with about how future hall of famers are going to fare in the future?

  24. hairpie says: Feb 8, 2012 12:13 AM

    truthfactory says: Feb 7, 2012 10:10 PM

    Randy Moss – Thought to be washed up in Oakland
    Aaron Hernandez – 2nd year player
    Wes Welker – cut from SD, traded by Miami
    Rob Grankowski – 2nd year player
    Ty Law – Defense (nothing to do with Brady)
    Troy Brown – Role player
    Asante Samuel – Defense (actually COST the Pats a SB)
    Teddy Bruschi – Defense
    Rodney Harrison – Defense
    Vince Wilfork – Defense
    Richard Seymore – Defense – Traded to Oakland
    Best O-line in football – Aahhh… no.
    and Bill Bilichek

    Can we PLEASE stop with the “Tom Brady has done more with less” statments???

  25. omegaichiban says: Feb 8, 2012 12:22 AM

    Randy Moss, begged to come back…do need a stud DE. Those 3 3pt Super Bowl wins are casting a different shadow now. Welker should have caught it. I like the Patriots, but don’t you think if Bledsoe stayed healthy they still win that SB?

  26. truthfactory says: Feb 8, 2012 12:40 AM

    spaldingclan says:
    Feb 7, 2012 10:42 PM
    you are high if you think Arron Hernandez is a top 4 TE
    —————–

    The guy is tall, fast as heck, great route runner, great hands (minus the drop in the SB) and a nightmare for defense to matchup with. What more would you want in a TE?

    1. Gronkowski
    2. Grahm
    …who else would you put ahead of Hernandez??

  27. patsfiend says: Feb 8, 2012 12:41 AM

    duanethomas says:
    Feb 7, 2012 10:09 PM
    Riddle me this Pats fans, Brady Lovers.

    Besides Elway how many QB have won a title after age 35?

    How many coaches have won a Super Bowl title after being with the team for over 10 years?

    Study history. The Pats are stale and barely made it this year. Give a thanks to Evans and Cundiff.
    ====================

    The Pats are so stale they’ve had the best record in the league, won a bye in the AFC three years running, and were a couple plays away from winning the super bowl this year. They are so stale they introduced (again) a whole new offensive attack to the league.

    Riddle me this… what set of owner / QB / coach at any age do you think is more competent and competitive going into next year?

    Yeah, the window is closing on Brady, and we all know it, but the book on this trio has not yet been completed, and they’ll be back in the fight next year, ready to roll.

    Signed,

    Brady, Bob, and Bill lovers / slurpers / apologists of the New England Patriots

  28. enx31 says: Feb 8, 2012 12:48 AM

    you are high if you think Arron Hernandez is a top 4 TE

    ——–

    Sorry, you dictate needing to spell names right after you say anything about being high and how good a player is.

  29. imaduffer says: Feb 8, 2012 12:49 AM

    The Pats have become to predictable. Time for some major changes. And it starts with the D.

  30. grannyvi4 says: Feb 8, 2012 1:03 AM

    Tom Terrific hasn’t shown signs of decline yet? Really? In two regular season games this year Brady and the offense spotted the opposing teams 20 and 17 points during the first half without putting up any points at all until the 2nd half. They had a winning season, but some of those games were squeakers — they don’t crush the opposition like they used to (with a couple exceptions, like Denver).

    Between his knee injury a few years ago, and Father Time breathing down his neck, I’d say Brady has gotten a little nervous in the pocket over the last year or two. He’s still a good QB, but he’s not at the level he was a few years ago. So, PFT, let’s not pretend he hasn’t slowed down a step or two over the years like any other human being.

    And truthfactory: Well….since he didn’t have the perfect team and since they didn’t win the Super Bowl….I dunno.

  31. lawboy2000 says: Feb 8, 2012 1:29 AM

    It is quite possible that the hyper-technical intentional grounding call signaled the end of the Patroits era just as the hyper-technical tuck rule started it.

  32. hooterdawg says: Feb 8, 2012 2:12 AM

    “Brady hasn’t shown signs of decline yet, but it’s rare for a quarterback to continue playing so well at his age.”

    Brady’s subpar/inconsistent play in both the AFCCG and the SB suggests incremental decline is already ocurring. What elite QB is red hot for two Qs ( including 16 for 16 at one point), and then get shaky in the 4th Q by scoring nothing? Do all the Brady apologists really think that the receivers suddenly all sucked because they couldn’t ‘make a connection’ with his off-target tosses ?

  33. thepasswordis12345 says: Feb 8, 2012 2:14 AM

    Get Dwayne Bowe to New England. That guy will be a monster with Brady throwing him the ball. Bowe, Gronk and Welker in that offense? Defenses will experience first-hand what the fire-bombing of Dresden was like.

    If they can bolster their pass rush and draft or sign a decent cornerback, this team has what it takes to get back and win one.

  34. mclovin07 says: Feb 8, 2012 2:25 AM

    Call me crazy, but I could see the Pat’s calling up the Vikings for Jared Allen this offseason…and the Vikes better not trade him!

  35. sundog05 says: Feb 8, 2012 2:38 AM

    The Patriots also haven’t won any meaningful playoff games since they got caught cheating. If it weren’t for Lee Evans smoking crack before the AFC Championship with Cundiff, the Patriots would be done for the next 10 years.

    The Tuck Rule, The Brady Rule, Spygate….. it’s time for the Pats to go back to the days of Eason and Grogan.

    Why should Brady try anymore. 3 rings. HOF bound and he’s got to serve Giselle.

    Hang ‘em up dimple boy. You done good.

  36. titsburgfeelers says: Feb 8, 2012 3:43 AM

    HAhahaha

  37. bobhk says: Feb 8, 2012 3:51 AM

    Have been saying the same thing for a while. Only Elway has won a superbowl past 35 (has a QB even gone to the superbowl after 35 years of age?).
    Elway also was never injured.
    The drop off is pretty sudden when it comes (Elway, Favre being a notable exceptions). Manning was fine the season before and suddenly….

    But, the schedule is easy for the Pats.
    So many people have been harping how Brady’s done with less and I agree with the poster who said, he’s had pretty good talent and not won.

  38. august1969 says: Feb 8, 2012 5:56 AM

    spaldingclan says:
    Feb 7, 2012 10:42 PM
    you are high if you think Arron Hernandez is a top 4 TE

    Look at the season stats numbnuts. He is 4th.

  39. pjammer11 says: Feb 8, 2012 6:16 AM

    Arron sucks!! His brother Aaron is pretty good though!!

  40. joetoronto says: Feb 8, 2012 7:16 AM

    hooterdawg says: Feb 8, 2012 2:12 AM

    “Brady hasn’t shown signs of decline yet, but it’s rare for a quarterback to continue playing so well at his age.”

    Brady’s subpar/inconsistent play in both the AFCCG and the SB suggests incremental decline is already ocurring. What elite QB is red hot for two Qs ( including 16 for 16 at one point), and then get shaky in the 4th Q by scoring nothing? Do all the Brady apologists really think that the receivers suddenly all sucked because they couldn’t ‘make a connection’ with his off-target tosses ?
    ************************************************
    Well said.

    He’s definitely on the decline, but he’s going to be good for a while yet.

  41. gotcaughtcheating says: Feb 8, 2012 7:28 AM

    Brady will be a great fantasy quarterback, per usual — and a 55 percent passer once he faces real competition in January, per usual.

  42. jambalayahimalaya says: Feb 8, 2012 8:32 AM

    I’m sick and tired of reading the same hackneyed phrases over and over again. “Clock is ticking”, “window is closing”, “geese are migrating”, “Winter is coming”. Give me a break. Brady can play at a high level for another decade. And no he doesn’t have to throw for 5000 yards every year. It’s a testament to his greatness that he’s shattering records here and there at this point in his career like it’s no big deal. The problem is Belichick and his obsession with stockpiling draft picks for the next year so he can trade them again for more picks the year after. All that’s cute but where did that get him this year in the SB? It got him to where he has to tell Mayo and the others to pull Bradshaw into the end zone in case he is too shy to score. I guess that’s what a defensive genius does. What a joke. Belichick squandered away multiple SB opportunities. And as for the matter of the deep threat, you can thank O’Brien for that. He took McDaniels’ high octane offense and crapped on it. When that upset 81, they shipped him off. This is so frustrating. Every year in the draft they make genius moves on paper that doesn’t translate into any championship results. Belichick gets way too much credit. Everyone is like “Wow when Brady went down in 2008, the Patriots still went 12-4!! Belichick is great!” No one talks about how their 2008 schedule was the EASIEST ever! NFC-W, AFC-W. They won all the easy games and lost ALL the tough ones. I have stopped buying into Belichick’s genius. Serves him right to lose the SB. Hopefully some sense dawns into him and for once they trade up in the draft and grab some players who can become a demonic pass rushing force. Is it too late to get 81 back? What a dumb move that was. And stop blaming Welker. He’s the one primarily responsible for getting the Patriots to the playoffs every year. Him and Brady and now the TEs. I’m so pissed!! Belichick treats the system as his personal laboratory where he can tinker and tweak and thumb his nose at the rest. When 85 wasn’t working out, they should’ve cut him in the middle of the season. Or at least used him somehow, anyhow as the “deep threat”. Man, this is so getting on my nerves. It’s all Belichick’s fault. Damn it all.

  43. sj39 says: Feb 8, 2012 8:33 AM

    Tommy will never win another Super Bowl.

  44. east96st says: Feb 8, 2012 8:49 AM

    Soft schedule which will give them home field advantage in the playoffs. No one in the AFC seems to be able to regularly beat them at home, so, no reason they can’t be back in the Super Bowl next year. I think the reports of Tom Brady’s “decline” are greatly exaggerated. 16 straight completions in the Super Bowl is pretty damn impressive at any age. Who will beat them? Pitt and Balt are getting old on D. Denver and San Diego are a joke. Bengals are still a year or two away. Houston seems to be the only real threat. Who else in the AFC scares anyone come playoff time?

  45. jambalayahimalaya says: Feb 8, 2012 8:50 AM

    “He’s definitely on the decline, but he’s going to be good for a while yet.”

    On the decline? When he was winning Super Bowls people said he’s a system QB. When he’s shattering records every season, he’s on the decline? Some of these comments make no sense to me. At least nowadays they are not getting blanked out in games by the Dolphins and Bills like they would occasionally in the early 2000s. How many times has a Brady offense scored 0 points after 2007?

  46. steviemo says: Feb 8, 2012 9:33 AM

    The only tight ends I’d take ahead of Hernandez:

    Graham
    Gronkowski
    Finley
    V. Davis
    Gates (but only for a year or two)
    Witten ( ” “)

    Two of the top 7 TE’s in the NFL. Not bad.

    But they can’t seem to win it alll without their “video library.”

  47. giantlucksacks says: Feb 8, 2012 9:44 AM

    Brady is 3 plays away from having 6 rings.

    Colts – 3rd and 4 where David Patton ran the wrong route. Yes, they would have beat the Bears.

    Tyree.

    Welker.

  48. rc33 says: Feb 8, 2012 10:12 AM

    The clock ticks….no kidding?

    Everyone in human existence is technically “day to day” as well.

  49. sportsinhd says: Feb 8, 2012 10:55 AM

    The well run teams will sneak into the Super Bowl every few years. This year that well run team was New England-does a lot of things well, has Brady, but also has a serious amount of deficiencies. Despite the gaudy record, they weren’t world beaters this year, they just took advantage of their schedule. Last year’s Steelers were a lot like this year’s Patriots-did a lot of things well, had Ben, and also had some serious problems (no 0-line). They got lucky with Baltimore and the Jets both imploding at Heinz Field. The Patriots got lucky hosting Tebow and Evans missing a touchdown pass.

    What it all means is that the window on the Patriots getting to the Super Bowl is open for another three or four years. They draft well, have Brady, and a smart coach. Will they win another Super Bowl? Probably not, too many holes, and guys like Rogers, Manning II, and Brees are all just a bit better right now.

  50. db105 says: Feb 8, 2012 12:53 PM

    The Pats are on a downward trend. They were only 27-5 the past 2 seasons and were just a play or two away from winning the Super Bowl. Looks like they need an overhaul to get back on top. Lol

  51. neatz says: Feb 8, 2012 1:12 PM

    august1969 says:
    Feb 8, 2012 5:56 AM
    spaldingclan says:
    Feb 7, 2012 10:42 PM
    you are high if you think Arron Hernandez is a top 4 TE

    Look at the season stats numbnuts. He is 4th.

    ===
    Thank God you are not a GM of any NFL team otherwise Patriots would have taken a first round pick from your team for Hernandez.
    The TE better than Him right now
    Gronk
    Jimmy Graham
    Vernon Davis
    Antonio Gates
    Dallas clark
    Jason Witten
    Brent Celek

    Maybe better if better QBs

    Mercedes Lewis
    Jermaine Gresham

  52. CKL says: Feb 8, 2012 1:13 PM

    duanethomas says:
    Feb 7, 2012 10:09 PM
    Riddle me this Pats fans, Brady Lovers.

    Besides Elway how many QB have won a title after age 35?

    How many coaches have won a Super Bowl title after being with the team for over 10 years?

    Study history. The Pats are stale and barely made it this year. Give a thanks to Evans and Cundiff.
    ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
    There’s not a single SB winner I can think of who hasn’t had some luck involved. Also, history doesn’t mean much as far as future results these days. It’s a different game, even from Elway’s days. Up until Sunday, not a single team in history had ever been 9-7 and won a SB or had given up more points than they scored and won a SB.

  53. beeronthefridge says: Feb 8, 2012 2:11 PM

    The mark of a declining qb is first loss of accuracy on the long pass followed by loss of accuracy in the middle game.

    The SB showcased brady’s inaccuracy in the bomb and inconsistency in the middle pass.

    And no, his childish antics and tantrums don’t make him any younger.

  54. rc33 says: Feb 8, 2012 4:55 PM

    “childish antics?”
    This is mind-numbing.
    You’re talking about Jacobs right, not Brady?

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