After last year's Super Bowl, we learned that Tom Brady could not both throw and catch the ball at the same time. Now it looks like he is trying to be both the golden boy and the NFL's newest bad boy.
On Wednesday, the NFL announced that the New England Patriots quarterback was being fined $10,000 for his overly aggressive slide during the second quarter of last Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens.
After being flushed from the pocket, Brady performed a feet-first slide, supposedly to give himself up and avoid being hit by Ravens safety Ed Reed.
However Brady's slide was anything but graceful. If anything, it looked more like a move from Mortal Kombat than a football play. Reed, one of the stars of the Baltimore defense, was forced to make an acrobatic move to avoid getting spiked in the knee.
If you have not yet seen the play, you can watch it here.
Brady was not penalized on the play and neither player was injured. The Ravens went on to defeat the Patriots 28-13 to earn their first trip to the Super Bowl since 2000.
Brady, who was bidding for his sixth trip to the Super Bowl, texted Reed to apologize after the game, and the two later spoke over the phone. The NFL, however, was still swift to dish out punishment.
While the NFL has been frequently criticized of late for being too friendly to quarterbacks, making them nearly as untouchable as kickers, the league would have been hard-pressed to overlook Brady's hard slide.
If anything, fining Brady sends a bit of an unorthodox message from the league, essentially saying that it is okay for quarterbacks to be overprotected in the pocket, but step outside or scramble and you will be on your own.
Personal feelings aside, I was both shocked and amused that Brady pulled out the hard spikes up slide, especially since it seemed so out of character for the QB/fashion model.
Brady has never really embodied the whole bad boy persona, save for a few sparse examples where he let his temper get the better of him.
This was a rare instance where Brady flipped to being the aggressor, going after another player in what appeared to be a somewhat malicious manner.
Then there was the whole idea of making an attempt to injure a player, failing and providing your opponent with a reason to want to come after you even harder.
In fact, the Patriots' drive would stall in the red zone, forcing them to kick a field goal. New England failed to score again in the game, while Baltimore put up 21 unanswered points.
Hopefully the NFL fining one of their main poster children shows they are willing to adjust some of the QB safety rules.
If not, maybe one of the upcoming fighting video games will incorporate a "Brady Slide" as a special move.
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