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Joe Thornton and Tom Brady

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11-06-2003, 05:40 AM
  #1
Stock Rocks
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Joe Thornton and Tom Brady

They are their respective teams' leaders.

Both have alternately shined and wilted under the intense scrutiny of playing in a demanding sports city such as Boston. Let's review the situations:

Tom Brady

- Was a 6th-round pick and nobody except for perhaps Brady himself, ever believed that he'd knock off Drew Bledsoe and become the team's starter.

- Won it all, including a Super Bowl MVP, becoming the youngest QB to ever accomplish the feat.

- Doesn't have the dominant physical tools of other top players at his position, but brings intangibles of a winner, smarts and football sense with him.

- Gets along well with the media- has an easy-going demeanor, but chucks that on gameday and is a fierce competitor.

- Heavily criticized by fans when he makes mistakes (4 INT game vs. Buffalo, 3 INT game vs. Washington come to mind). Despite heroism in SBXXXVI, doesn't get as much leeway from Patriot Nation as his predecessor seemed to.

- Seems to have worked hard to address flaws in his game such as an inability to deliver the long ball (see exhibit A vs. Miami and exhibit B vs. Denver) and a lack of mobility outside of the pocket. Is always among the most dedicated in the team's offseason workout program. Leads by example in this regard- always in the trenches with everyone else.

Joe Thornton

- Was the top pick the year that the B's missed the playoffs for the first time in almost 3 decades, and was viewed as a potential savior and future franchise player

- Has impressed after a terrible rookie season, improving every season and finally breaking the 100 point barrier last season. He's a slow starter, but has been very productive in the regular season. He hasn't been able to get much done in the playoffs, however- 1 series win in six years.

- Named captain before many felt he was ready. Inconsistency draws immense criticism, but then Thornton quiets critics with a 5-assist game or similar dominant performance.

- Because of physical dominance, gets manhandled by opponents. Outspoken criticism of officiating in past may be a reason for the lack of call support he receives. Fights back and gets penalized instead of dealing with it and making opponents pay where it hurts: on the scoreboard.

- Very good with the media and fans- always has a smile and has Brady-like easygoing persona. Doesn't seem to adopt the same gameface mentality Brady does at crunch time, however.

- Skill set is at the top of the league. Few players can do what Thornton is capable of, which is why fans get on him when he doesn't dominate every game.

I have immense respect for both players. They take their lumps, but don't seem to let that get them down. As far as Brady is concerned, I have been appalled at the attitudes of some fans who get on him at the slightest hint of trouble. Maybe that's what being a fan is all about, but let us not forget that he led us to the promised land just two years ago after a 41-year drought. Maybe it's just me, but Brady has earned the trust and confidence, and if you had any doubts, then you need to watch the huge wins over Miami and Denver to see what a real leader and clutch performer does when the game is on the line.

Joe is just 24 and still learning about what he needs to do. While I may not agree with those who harp on his shortcomings in the leadership department, I do concur that he has to get better and be more disciplined. At the same time, I can't fathom anybody who seriously thinks that the Bruins would improve their team by trading him. There's no way the B's could get enough of a return to justify that kind of a move. We should be grateful that the B's have a player like this, but at the same time, he is capable of more.

In the end, I think the fact that Brady has won a championship and Thornton hasn't even come close is the clear factor that separates the two. I shudder to think of the abuse that Brady would've endured last season and at times especially after the Buffalo and Washington debacles had he not stepped up with the most brilliant QB performance in franchise history on the way to the SB. As for Thornton, he's been a lot of sizzle, but less steak when the games really count. So, until he can get the B's to the next level, or at least out of the first round of the playoffs, fans will continue to demand more from him.

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11-06-2003, 05:54 AM
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Gee Wally
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both have and continue to grow....

I think we as fans sometimes get caught up in looking for "the next one".

The next Orr, Bourque, Neely, Gretz, Messier, etc....

and we, myself included, sometimes can't see what is right under our noses...

maybe in 15 years we'll be looking for the next Thornton.. I think so..


but then again..what do I know...

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11-06-2003, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gee Wally
both have and continue to grow....

I think we as fans sometimes get caught up in looking for "the next one".

The next Orr, Bourque, Neely, Gretz, Messier, etc....

and we, myself included, sometimes can't see what is right under our noses...

maybe in 15 years we'll be looking for the next Thornton.. I think so..


but then again..what do I know...
I was thinking the same thing while reading one of the bashing threads the other day. As fans our memories tend to get a little foggy also. We tend to forget that Bourgue did make mistakes and Neely didn't always bring it every night. Our memories are more positive of our favorites and more negative of our non-favorites

Hoepfully we don't lose Thornton and it's at least 15 years before we start looking for his replacement

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11-06-2003, 07:25 AM
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Thornton is more of a Drew Bledsoe than a Tom Brady. Both came in with high expectations and are great leaders of mediocre teams. Both have all the skills they need but never seem to be in the position to capitilize and neither has taken the next step to greatness.

Brady's a scrapper who's always had to fight for his spot whether as a third stringer at michigan or fourth in line in NE. Stock Rocks- I'd only disagree with your belief that Brady never thought he could unseat Bledsoe. Brady has never thought of himself as backup talent and knew how to work his way through a depth chart from his time at Michigan. Don't mistake his humble face for the press, his ego is huge, and it is in part the reason he has been able to step right into the starting job.

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11-06-2003, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eat It
Stock Rocks- I'd only disagree with your belief that Brady never thought he could unseat Bledsoe. Brady has never thought of himself as backup talent and knew how to work his way through a depth chart from his time at Michigan. Don't mistake his humble face for the press, his ego is huge, and it is in part the reason he has been able to step right into the starting job.
Read more carefully.

Here is what I wrote:

"and nobody except for perhaps Brady himself, ever believed that he'd knock off Drew Bledsoe and become the team's starter."

Translation: Brady always believed in himself. Thank ya, thank ya very much.

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11-06-2003, 07:50 AM
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A key differentiator between Brady and Bledsoe is the decision making. I believe Brady is better. Whether it is IQ, "football IQ" or something else, Brady has more of something that Bledose has less of.

In time, it will be interesting to see where Joe Thornton places on the "hockey IQ" meter. Put it this way... I see there being parallels between Thornton and Bledsoe. It will be interesting to see if Thornton ever evolves into the kind of great player that transcends individual greatness, i.e., great stats.

 
Old
11-06-2003, 07:54 AM
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Oh Yeah?
Well.... uh... my mistake.

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11-06-2003, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Eye
A key differentiator between Brady and Bledsoe is the decision making. I believe Brady is better. Whether it is IQ, "football IQ" or something else, Brady has more of something that Bledose has less of.

In time, it will be interesting to see where Joe Thornton places on the "hockey IQ" meter. Put it this way... I see there being parallels between Thornton and Bledsoe. It will be interesting to see if Thornton ever evolves into the kind of great player that transcends individual greatness, i.e., great stats.
I use Thornton-Brady because those are the guys who are in Boston right now.

Bledsoe may be more apropos to hold up next to Thornton, but he's in Buffalo, and out of the Boston pressure cooker.

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11-06-2003, 11:06 AM
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I think another key distinction between Tom Brady and Joe Thornton is that Joe has yet to sell his soul to Beezlebub, Lord of the Damned like Tom did in exchange for the gigantic horseshoe he had up his bum in 2001-02.

But, you know, I'm sure they both have Palm Pilots. It's only a matter of time until Tom beams over the devil's contact info.

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