What’s best way for Chiefs to stop the iconic Tom Brady? It may start at his shoulders
The Tampa Bay QB is both adored and reviled, but win he does. If Andy Reid and the Chiefs want to make it two Super Bowl victories in a row, they will need to find a way to stop him
Of course it can be done. But Brady’s mystique has become legend, and in a game where it only takes momentum and a few big plays, Brady has proof of his eminence. And he’s also got sentimental energy from a lot of NFL aficionados to do it.
Brady has been elevated to deity status in the game. Some place him on a pedestal while others criticize every aspect of his persona, some of it political.
This is evidenced in a piece in The Nation by Dave Zirin who wrote: “What Tom Brady has done over two decades is the equivalent of dancing through raindrops without getting wet. He has dominated the most lauded position in American Sports — quarterback — to incredible effect. After being drafted 199th in the year 2000 to little notice, he is now set to play in his 10th Super Bowl this Sunday. No other quarterback has ever played in more than five.”
Earlier this week, USA Today columnist Nancy Armour questioned why Brady got a pass for his past support of the former MAGA president, while the New York Times’ Frank Bruni, putting a finger in the hot water of woke Brady backlash, opined this on Wednesday, “To my own astonishment, I’m rooting for Brady. Here’s why: He has actually been disrespected, and victory on Sunday would shame the naysayers forevermore.”
So, whichever side folks lean, adoration and respect for Brady or disdain and hate, the Chiefs still have to stop him in Super Bowl LV.
Brady, at 43, is fairly immobile. He is a dropback, set up and throw behind the center type quarterback. That’s his nest, his launch pad, his comfort zone.
The best strategy on defense would be to pressure Brady up the middle, force him out of the pocket and finish him off. If the Chiefs can hit Brady early, get him antsy and second-guessing, it would go a long way toward disrupting his experience and confidence.
Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark had a great sound bite this past week on what makes that so tough when rushing Brady. It’s his shoulders and Brady’s ability to shake and shimmy out of tackles and keep plays alive.
“He’s got these shoulders — have you ever seen Tom Brady’s shoulders when he’s in that pocket?” Clark said Wednesday. In an interview available on ProFootballTalk, Clark explained, “His shoulders are crazy sometimes. Like, I don’t know. Tom Brady’s, what, 43? I ain’t got nothing against nobody, a 43-year-old age range, around that age. But man, to be able to move his shoulders like that, playing in the league for 20, 30-some years — for him to be able to move his shoulders like that still is quite amazing.”
Brady’s ability to keep a play alive and then throw accurate strikes dismantles and demoralizes defenses. It’s his trademark and his tall targets that will give Kansas City all it can handle.
But the best way for the Chiefs to stop Brady is to simply score.
Reid has assembled the best offense in the league. It is explosive, consistent and deadly. With Patrick Mahomes at the helm, the Chiefs have developed the firepower to hit quick and often from beginning to end.
It’s the beginning that is critical.
If the Chiefs can put up a lot of points early and force Brady to feel the pressure to keep up, it could lead to some turnovers.
Sometimes offense is the best defense.
Come Sunday, if you are a Chiefs fan, or just a crosseyed Brady hater, that may be the best formula for taking down this legend.
Make him chase scoreboard.