Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Brady Inexperience Lie

There seems to be a running recurrent in the post-Brady injury apocalypse to call Tom Brady "inexperienced" when he came in to the NFL, which was why he was taken in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.

While I would normally chalk this up to the MSM developing and holding to a story line, this one drives me mad, because I watched two seasons of Tom Brady as Michigan's starting quarterback. I have fond memories of Tom's years at Michigan and I need to define "inexperience", because the statistics back up the facts, which should hopefully put this argument to bed.

Tom Brady came to Michigan in 1995 and redshirted that season, allegedly landing at seventh on the depth chart at quarterback.

During the 1996 season, Lloyd Carr's second as Michigan's head coach, Tom Brady saw action two games, UCLA and at Minnesota where he attempted a grand total of five passes in mop up duty during a pair of blowout victories.

During the 1997 season (sighs longingly for a better time), Tom Brady was Brian Griese's backup. Brady saw action in four more blowouts and attempted 15 passes in three games (Brady's appearance in the Penn State game consisted of negative yardage runs, which would lead me to think victory formation kneel downs. I do not have the time to download the torrent to be sure.)

During the 1998 season, Brady, now a redshirt junior, was named the starting quarterback, but that was not without controversy, as wunderfrosh Drew Henson was also turning heads and leading many fans and in the media to see him quickly supplanting Brady in the starters role. Brady, however, started every game for Michigan in 1998. The only game in which Brady did not see a majority of the time was the Syracuse debacle (or the Donovan McNabb DAMN! show, however you want to look at it.) and Henson was largely ineffective as a passer (though with Anthony Thomas, you really don't need an exceptionally effective quarterback). Henson was 19 for 45 for the entire season in limited time.

This brings us to the 1999 season. Brady is a senior, and Henson is pushing him, leading to a platoon between the two. The stats ( bear us out here. Brady started every game. The reason people tend to remember Henson as the "starter" is that Brady was concussed during the Syracuse game at the Carrier Dome, which had him knocked out after attempting just ten passes, and the Michigan State debacle, where Henson was leaned on for far too long in the game when he was ineffective and Brady rallied the team to a near miraculous comeback, but fell short. That game, as it sticks in the craw of many Michigan fans, leads to false memories. Henson was not the starter and did not start a game for Michigan until the 2000 season. Save the Northwestern blowout and one pass in the Orange Bowl, Henson did not see the field again during Brady's tenure at Michigan.

All in all, Tom Brady started for two full seasons at Michigan, a total of 25 games. He threw for over 5,000 yards in his career (then a Michigan record, believe it or not), and completed roughly five out of every eight of his pass attempts and threw a touchdown pass one in every 20 passes. All this for a team that had Anthony Thomas, who ran for 2,000 plus yards and 32 touchdowns during Brady's junior and senior years. I don't know what people want out of Brady in his college experience. He, admittedly, finished behind Joe Germaine and Drew Brees for all-Big Ten quarterback honors in 1998, and was all-Big Ten second team in 1999 (again behind Brees.) But Tom Brady was not an unknown when he was drafted with the #199 pick in the 2000 draft. He was experienced.

1 comment:

Byko said...

And yet Hofstra's Giovanni Caramazzi and (then named) Southwest Texas State's Spergon Wynn were picked ahead of him, not to mention that Wynn had more INTs than TDs that season.

Can I just call shenanigans on the whole thing? Yeah, I wasn't even a Michigan fan back then and I wouldn't make the inexperience remark.