Tom Brady Rule 3.0?

By Christopher DiMarino

This post might be out of the news by now but I love writing about semi-controversial topics to see what you think. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has always been a player surrounded by drama. It all started with the tuck rule and snowballed from there. He became the poster child of the “protect our quarterbacks” campaign whether if he liked it or not.

Brady is now enthralled in another controversy due to a play he made in the playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. The play involved him escaping the pocket and scrambling for yards. To avoid a hit he used the quarterback slide, which is at the center of this issue. This action was special because he added a component to it, he raised one of his legs and tripped up safety Ed Reed at the end. This was likely a defensive tactic meant to further brace him from impact, but it is very dangerous and brought bigger issues into question. Fellow Ravens safety Bernard Pollard scolded Brady and used this issue to push that the NFL cares more about offensive players than defensive.

Tom Brady Slide Versus Ravens

I immediately exploded into a riot about how that play should have been a flag for unsportsmanlike. Was Brady being a poor sport? Probably not. However, it seems the frequency of scrambling quarterbacks misusing the slide this year has skyrocketed. The San Francisco 49ers playoff game against the Green Bay Packers featured another misuse. The slides made by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in my mind resembled trips and I was surprised none of the defenders he “cut” weren\’t hurt. Kaepernick explodes out of the pocket at mach speed and when he doesn’t feel he can dodge for more yards, he slides to protect himself mere feet away from an impending defender.

This action puts the defender in a precarious position. He needs to treat the quarterback as a runner and make the play. However, at any second, the quarterback might begin to slide and the defender most make the cognitive check to ease up and tag, rather than follow–through with a full hit. This is a delicate balance. I felt for a while that for this slide to be a legal action, it needed to happen so far away from a defender that any hit afterwards would be blatant and easily warrant a flag. Instead, quarterbacks have tight roped along in terms of what is a safe move, and what is a move to try and gain a competitive edge.

This brings us back to the center of the issue with Brady. I can say with confidence that he was not trying to use the possibility of sliding as bait to try and get extra yards. However, I think the rule should be stressed such that the slide needs to begin well before a defender would break down to begin his tackle. This would be a huge boost to player safety which the league would have you think is the paramount issue in the NFL. This change would mean quarterbacks would almost never get hit when trying to slide and defenders wouldn’t get errant legs thrown at them. Yet at the same time, it wouldn\’t allow scramblers to steal extra yards unless they are willing to brace for impact.

Unfortunately, the base of this issue is that the slide is a huge advantage to the offense.  After all, this is an offensive driven league by popularity standards. For every die hard defensive fan who understands x’s and o’s, there are 10 occasional fans who only want to watch big games and only want to see big scores. The NFL needs to try and maintain integrity in the game, but also please the masses and attract fans. That is why I think that this issue will be swept under the rug, even if Pollard publicly tried to elevate it. He wanted to point out that player safety isn’t what the NFL cares about, it’s more concerned with offensive (quarterback) safety. I couldn’t agree more, and while I’ll concede that it would be a difficult rule change to make, Pollard might be absolutely right regarding the league\’s intentions.

What do you think?

  • after seeing that replay it looks as if he intentionally was kicking at reed, not defending himself from a hit…

  • hegave a little extra sauce at the end of it, and he was really close to that knee… they could care less about defenders in the NFL

  • Garrett Hunt

    The reason I personally love football is the combination of strategy and physicality. Issues on illegal hits all seem to be moving towards benefitting the offensive player to promote player safety. While player safety is no doubt crucial, so is the physicality of the game. Eventually these rules and fines will make it so that defensive players don’t play with the same intensity or ferociousness and take away from the physicality of the game. Hopefully i’m wrong and this doesn’t happen because it just wouldn’t be the same game to me and that is disappointing.

  • Garrett Hunt

    Ha yea if someone hit a QB like that…..

  • Garrett Hunt

    More specifically if someone hit Tom Brady like that……

  • Brady is a little B*tch, i wonder if he would have those rings if not for spygate?? hes a sore loser just like his coach, they seem to have the same personality… i wonder if they take showers together and talk over a nice glass of whine while listening to coldplay… hes a cheat and now a dirty player

  • I don’t know… the way I see it… why was Ed Reed trying to jump over him??? Why did not Mr. Ed have his body better under control to avoid a sliding quarterback… We all know you are not supposed to hit a sliding QB and Brady being the puss that he is, did not want to slide late and risk being hit.

  • Garrett Hunt

    Ed Reed was running full speed, so that was his only option. I agree Brady is a puss, but at the same time he is competitive and wanted the extra yards.

  • steepens

    Reed wasn’t going to let-up until Brady slid, period, and I don’t blame him. Reed’s only choice was to be impaled or hurdle, and either option could have injured him. I wouldn’t use ‘competitive’. Adolescent, needless, reckless, arrogant, and malicious are better.

  • steeltown

    Dont like either Team, dont like either player, dont care….. but IMO It appears Brady purposely kicked him, there was second effort with intent

  • Ahmad

    I’m agreeing with the ratbird on this one.

  • Garrett Hunt

    If you want to nitpick then I would say he acted adolescently, needlessly, or recklessly because he was being competitive. If he wasn’t competitive he wouldn’t have waited until the last minute to slide while a 200 pound monster was running full speed towards him to take his head off.

  • LucasY59

    I agree with the authors thoughts the QB should have to decide between sliding earlier or taking the hit if they want the extra few yards. There’s a huge advantage to the offense IMO, the NFL (Goodell) is making the defensive players do the impossible, go 100% and then in a fraction of a second pull up and not hit the offensive player. Its a problem with scrambling/running QBs and “defenseless recievers”

  • To me, Kaepernick’s actions were more detrimental that Brady’s, but nobody is paying attention to Colin, because Tom is the hot commodity. Colin should’ve been hit like a regular running back or fined for egregious plays. AND Tom should’ve been flagged and/or fined for that play, but like we all know, defensive players always get the raw end of the deal. Thank you, dumb ass Roger.

  • Richard Edlin

    I’d go further … If a defensive player blatantly kicks an offensive player and it’s spotted, then it’s a personal foul AND an ejection. Consistency means that this ought to be the result if they judged it to be intentional and a foul here too. If you don’t give the defender enough time to pull out and put them in a dangerous spot, it’s a dangerous personal foul.

    I can’t see the NFL refs sending Brady or any other QB from the field but that is the double standard too.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Or maybe it’s the Ed Reed rule. Reed bin penalized & fined for so many illegal hits he made, maybe Tags looks the other way now when Reed receives a shot in return.

  • steepens

    ‘Nitpick’? Ha. There’s a huge difference between competitive and adolescent and reckless behavior. You are saying that trying to impale a guy with your 2″ cleats is ‘competitive’. It might be competitiveness that causes the guy to carry the ball until the last second- it’s a whole other characteristic that caused him to show malicious intent.

  • Garrett Hunt

    Wow, did you read even read my comment??

    What you said – “It might be competitiveness that causes the guy to carry the ball until the last second…”

    What I said- “If he wasn’t competitive he wouldn’t have waited until the last minute to slide…”

    It took you 16 days to respond, then do it by putting false words in my mouth. I did not say “…trying to impale a guy with your 2″ cleats is ‘competitive’.” I said his competitiveness led to the adolescent and reckless behavior.

    Learn to read.