That didn't take long. After a month of mostly mediocre football that exacerbated the "Patriots are finally done" speculation, all that was needed was one absolutely dominant win over a very good Bengals team to quiet the critics. Not surprisingly, 37-year-old Tom Brady led the way, as he's done so many times before.
Because if there's anything that gets Brady going it's a challenge. It sounds like a cliche but it's also true. In a league full of competitors, Brady might be the most competitive. We saw it Sunday night on the opening drive when he showed the fire we had yet to see the season -- but was the hallmark of previous successful campaigns. And to hear former teammates-turned-media member Ross Tucker tell it, Brady's legendary "I will win no matter the cost" approach to life extends well beyond football.
Here's Tucker writing for Sports on Earth:
I probably only went out socially with Brady on two or three occasions, but even then his competitive spirit reared its head.
We went to a local barbecue place near the stadium in Foxboro after practice one time, and there were two different occasions where Brady's eyes displayed his trademark fire.
The first was when some of the veteran offensive linemen started talking to the rookies about a chugging contest. No big deal for these guys and given that they were fresh out of college, you would think they'd be at the top of their game. I was surprised to see Brady take part. The rookies looked at the seemingly pretty boy quarterback and laughed. I think I snickered myself.
We all should've known better.
I still have never seen anybody chug a beer faster than Tom Brady. You should've seen the way he slammed down his cup -- it was like he was spiking the ball after a TD. It was hilarious. It was awesome. It was textbook Brady.
Tucker said that Brady also insisted on paying for the meal -- and he wasn't going to back down from that, either. So, to recap: Not only is Brady a first-ballot Hall of Famer, he's a tireless worker on the field, in the film room and when it comes to impromptu beer-chugging contests.
Your move, Peyton Manning.