Tom Brady acknowledged Monday that statistics do matter.
But the only statistics that matter are wins and losses. Analytics, passer rating, completion percentage under pressure . . . Brady has no use for them.
“I think that people pay to watch the games on TV because there’s a scoreboard,” Brady told reporters after the Patriots’ annual Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards ceremony. “That’s what it’s all about. If there was no scoreboard, people wouldn’t tune in and watch.”
An article from ESPN last week, by a writer for analytics website ProFootballFocus.com, garnered a great deal of attention — and, among Patriots fans, disbelief — by claiming that Brady was no longer one of the NFL’s top five quarterbacks.
Statistics such as Brady’s relatively low completion mark when facing pressure and the number of times he was sacked in 2013 were cited, without taking into account the wholesale changes made to the Patriots’ receiving corps and the fact that only one receiver, Julian Edelman, was available for more than 12 games.
When he was asked directly what he thinks are the most important stats when it comes to quarterback play, Brady didn’t hesitate to say it’s all about the W’s and L’s.
“There’s only one stat that matters, and that’s because the competition in the NFL is very high,” he said. “Extremely high.
“On a daily basis, you’re competing. I think some individuals compete against other guys and some compete against themselves. So even if you don’t have someone that you’re competing against, if you’re the type of person that competes against yourself, you’re always going to get better because there’s always competition.
“And the guys that I’ve been around that find ways to do that, motivate themselves — those are the best players, because they’re not going to wait for a Sunday in September to find out if they’re competitive. You figure that out in March, in February, the end of February, when no one else is really working, but the competition that’s inside you, how that’s going to really help your team and build your team to be more competitive. That’s all infectious.
“You can’t sit here and compare one year to another year, compare this player to that player. I think winning games is the most important thing, certainly for this organization.
“When you come here, you learn that pretty quickly: Whatever matters to you as an individual, it’s far distant from what the team goals are. And the team goal is one thing: to score more points than the other team.”
Brady’s age — he’ll turn 37 Aug. 3 — has been a frequent point of discussion in recent years, despite Brady saying he wants to play into his 40s. He reiterated that again Monday, saying that he loves playing for the Patriots and he plans on doing that “for as long as I possibly can.”
This is the third week of on-field organized team activities, with New England holding its mandatory mini-camp next week. Brady underscored the importance of offseason work, and how practicing well now can pay dividends down the road.
“I think the thing that I’ve learned over the years is you have to pay the price in advance. You just can’t go out on the field and expect to be better without putting the time in, extra effort,” Brady said. “I try to be really consistent and dependable for our guys, and I think that’s what the quarterback needs to do.
“You can’t go out there and screw up a bunch of plays and make a bunch of wrong calls — before you get to the line of scrimmage, the play wouldn’t work. I try to keep everything coordinated and get all the guys understanding what I’m looking for out of them so we can all anticipate what we’re trying to do.
“Football is a very anticipatory sport — the more reactive you are, the harder it’s going to be for you. So we’re going to try to dictate the things that we want to do on offense, whether that’s tempo or plays or yards or route combinations, and it’s all of us being on the same page in order to really efficiently and effectively do that on a consistent basis.”
As ever, that drive for Brady and his teammates starts with owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick, now in his 15th season at the helm in New England.
“I think what they demand of us and the expectations that they have for us are pretty high,” said Brady. “I don’t think there’s any time we come out of a meeting thinking, ‘Man, we’re great, we’ve got everything figured out.’
“It’s really the time of year where you’re going to make a lot of mistakes, you’re going to give great effort and you’re going to fail, and you’ve got to gain trust in each other and become more consistent and dependable and so that when you’re out there on the field you can trust the guys that you’re playing with.
“When you play this for a while you reflect on all the great teams you’ve had, it comes down to a lot of guys that are willing to pay the price for each other, and I think that’s what you’re trying to establish this time of year, is what kind of team you’re going to be, who’s willing to put it all on the line when there’s no glory in it.
“There’s no glory in an OTA practice, there’s no glory in the weight room or out there on the conditioning field, but it will show up at some point. It’s a long season. At some point, the mental toughness, the discipline of the team always shows up, and those are the things we’re trying to work on.”Shalise Manza Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.