Quarterback Matthew Stafford reportedly didn’t want to play for the Patriots. Patriots legend Tedy Bruschi suggests the feeling is mutual.
“He’s not tough enough to play here,” Bruschi said Wednesday on WEEI, via Radio.com. “He’s just not tough enough. I don’t think he’s tough enough to be coached hard. Do you realize the mental toughness that Tom Brady had to have for 20 years to deal with Bill Belichick and that type of coaching? I mean, constant pressure every single day. Does Stafford sort of grab you as a guy who could handle that? I just don’t think so.”
Then came the hammer: “He went to Sean McVay and his little best-friend relationship and go have fun over there. That’s fine.”
It seems a little harsh, and a little bitter. And a little petty. It’s hard not to wonder whether Bruschi’s assessment is influenced by feedback he has received from past and current Patriots assistant coach Matt Patricia, who served as Stafford’s head coach — and presumably coached Stafford hard — for more than two years in Detroit.
Any NFL starting quarterback that competes against NFL-caliber defenses has significant mental toughness. Stafford constantly played through injuries. Stafford played for perpetually bad teams. Stafford played with a revolving door of coaches and a perpetual cloud of dysfunction hovering over the franchise.
Could Stafford handle playing for the Patriots? Sure. But that doesn’t mean he should want to. He wanted to play somewhere else. That doesn’t mean he’s not “tough enough” to play in New England.