Barry Chin/Globe staff
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Carson Wentz is the latest Super Bowl hopeful who will not be with his team for the NFL playoffs. Philadelphia’s wonderboy quarterback tore his ACL in Sunday’s victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
It happened to Derek Carr last season on Christmas Eve, just when it looked as if the Raiders might be a threat to the Patriots in the AFC playoffs.
It happened to Aaron Rodgers early this season when he broke his collarbone. In this single football season, it has happened to Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer, Josh McCown, Deshaun Watson, Sam Bradford, and Ryan Tannehill. It happens to just about every quarterback in the league at one time or another.
But it does not happen to Tom Brady. Not anymore, at least. Brady lost one full season when he got his knee taken out in the season opener in 2008, but that was a decade ago and now the Patriots of today sleep with the knowledge that their 40-year-old quarterback seems to be bulletproof.
Admit it, Patriots fans. You never even think about Tom getting hurt anymore. It doesn’t matter that he’s 40 and it doesn’t matter that he gets hit a lot. Tom seems to know just how to fall. Tom preaches pliability. He knows how to sense danger when the pocket is collapsing.
Bill Belichick is certainly confident about Brady’s health. After getting a look at Brady this summer, the Hoodie was comfortable trading Jacoby Brissett. A few months later, Bill shook up the Patriot universe again, trading The Future — Jimmy Garappolo — to San Francisco.
Who needs a future quarterback when you’ve got Tom Brady as Benjamin Button.
While all others around him get older and more brittle, Brady just gets younger, better looking, and more pliable.
The Patriots played the Dolphins on “Monday Night Football” and America had another chance to see the quarterback who hasn’t missed a game due to injury in almost 10 years.
In the days leading up to the Miami game, there was some buzz about Dolphin cheap-shot artists who might be harboring bitterness from the first matchup between these teams, which was only two weeks ago. But there’s no need to worry about Tom. He bounces back from everything.
New England’s Nov. 26 rout of Miami provoked a reasonable media question about why Brady stays on the field when the Patriots have big leads at the end of games. Rather than explain his thinking, Belichick scoffed at the question.
The answer is pretty simple. Leaving Brady on the field is something the Patriots do because it’s what they have always done. And clearly they are not worried about anything happening to Tom.
The Eagles were not so lucky.
Will Philadelphia survive the loss of Wentz for the rest of this season? It’s unlikely, but NFL history is peppered with teams that somehow survived losing their first-string QB. Bill Parcells’s Giants won a Super Bowl with Jeff Hostetler playing quarterback in place of Phil Simms. The undefeated 1972 Dolphins got to the Super Bowl thanks to 11 games of relief pitching by backup Earl Morrall. Morrall was the same guy who filled in for Johnny Unitas when the Colts marched to Super Bowl III.
None of that for Brady. He had the one year on the shelf (before he found pliability) and missed four games at the start of the 2016 season for Some Stupid Reason, but he doesn’t do injury. Maybe it’s the avocado ice cream. Maybe it’s the whole TB12 Method. Maybe it’s Alex Guerrero. Maybe it’s just plain good luck. Tom is always there.
Try this on: Only eight NFL quarterbacks have started 123 consecutive games (regular season and playoffs). Brady has done it twice. He started 128 straight games before tearing up his knee in 2008, then came back and played 126 straight before Roger Goodell dropped the Deflategate hammer. Now Tom’s on his third streak. Monday night was his 28th straight start since the Deflategate punishment.
Anybody remember Brady coming out of the AFC Championship game in the 2001 season with a sprained ankle in the second quarter at Pittsburgh?
It happened. Drew Bledsoe came to the rescue that day and there was minor speculation going into the Super Bowl that Brady might not be ready.
Silly question. Brady is always ready. He is the greatest of all time, the healthiest of all time, and maybe the luckiest of all time.
Enjoy what you are seeing, people. You are not likely to see it again.
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