Elfin's End Zone: Tom Brady, THE Reason To Go To The Redskins Game On Sunday

12:39 PM, Dec 11, 2011   |    comments
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) walks off the field following a win over the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Colts 31-24. (Credit: Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE)
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LANDOVER, Md. (Elfin's Endzone) -- The Redskins are going nowhere for yet another season. Their humdrum offense has scored just six touchdowns in their last four home games, all of which were defeats. And now tight end Fred Davis, Washington's top playmaker, and left tackle Trent Williams, its best lineman, are done for the year after stupidly failing three drug tests apiece.

So why should you put up with the high prices for parking, tickets and concessions and come to Landover on what will be a chilly Sunday afternoon?

Two words: Tom Brady. As the cliche goes, New England's quarterback is worth the price of admission.

And unlike such surefire Hall of Famers as baseball's Albert Pujols, basketball's Dwayne Wade and hockey's Martin Brodeur who have played plenty of games in Washington during their careers, this will be your second and last chance to see arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history in person inside the Beltway.

Brady has only played once in Washington (not counting preseasons) during his previous nine remarkable seasons with the Patriots and since he's not due in town again until he'll be 42 and retired into the arms of his fashion model wife Gisele Bundchen, he won't be back.

Shockingly, coach Steve Spurrier's "not very good" Redskins won that September 2003 game, 20-17. Washington went 2-10 from then on while New England didn't lose again en route to winning the Super Bowl.

So the man is winless in Washington when it matters, why make a special effort to watch him in person?

How about because Brady - along with Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana and Troy Aikman - is one of just four quarterbacks to lead his team to at least three Super Bowl titles?

How about because Brady directed the Patriots to the NFL's only 16-0 regular season in 2007 as they scored a record 589 points and he threw a record 50 touchdown passes?

How about because Brady is the most successful quarterback of the 46-year-old Super Bowl era (120-35 regular season, 13-5 postseason)?

And it's not like Brady's feats are all in the past. In the first two games this season, he became the first quarterback to follow a rare 500-yard performance with a 400-yard day. His 3,032 yards through nine games were a record. He's second in the league to Green Bay's amazing Aaron Rodgers with 3,916 yards and 30 touchdowns and has guided the Patriots to an AFC East-leading 9-3 mark.

If New England wins the division, it will be its ninth crown during Brady's decade as its starter (the New York Jets had the tiebreaker in 2002 and he missed 2008 with a torn ACL).

Don't believe me? Listen to the Redskins make the case for Brady's excellence.

"If he's not the greatest, he's gotta be in the top three," said defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, an 18-year NFL coaching veteran. "He's poised, big, got an unbelievable arm, makes all the throws, can move enough to stay alive in the pocket, (his) leadership (and) understanding of the offense (are) outstanding. And he does it day-in and day-out."

Haslett could have said year-in and year-out. While the Redskins haven't won 12 games since 1991, their last Super Bowl season, Brady has averaged that many victories during his decade in command of the Patriots.

"It was always easy with him controlling everything," said Redskins receiver Donte Stallworth, one of Brady's targets during that record-setting 2007 campaign.

Redskins linebacker London Fletcher, a 14-year veteran, said he's never faced a better quarterback than Brady against whom he's 2-11 beginning with their duel in Super Bowl XXVI nearly a decade ago.

Brady's only Super Bowl loss came six years later in a stunning upset by Barry Cofield and the New York Giants, but the Redskins' nose tackle still respects him like no other quarterback.

"You gotta hit him, you gotta harass him, you gotta bat balls, hopefully get an interception or two, maybe strip the ball," Cofield said. "He's a very tough guy. I've seen him take a lot of shots and he would pick himself up and make a great throw on the very next play. The only way you can hurt Tom Brady is to win."

Never having won in Washington is a minor blemish that Brady, the NFL's ultimate winner, should erase on Sunday. Come watch him do it.

WUSA-9's Redskins Insider, David Elfin, has covered sports since he was a junior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1975. He is the Washington representative on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee and is the author of five books on the Redskins including the new "Washington Redskins: The Complete Illustrated History."

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