A collective sigh can be heard throughout New England today as Pats fans' worst fears have been confirmed via an MRI of Tom Brady's knee. Compared to wars and famines and hurricanes, I suppose losing our MVP quarterback for the season isn't literally the end of the world, but it certainly puts a damper on Fall football watching here in the northeastern states. I think most of us during the preseason, even for just a brief minute, contemplated a Patriots season without Tom at the healm, as he nursed a bad ankle for all the summer dress rehearsals, but with so much good karma shining on New England sports teams these past few years, it just didn't seem possible.
So it goes, albeit a knee not an ankle.
Enter Matt Cassel, a guy who hasn't started a game since high school. He was backup at USC and has been backup to Tom since 2005. So just like that, he's the man of the hour, just as Tom Brady was when Drew Bledsoe (remember him?) went down back in the old days before the Patriots won super bowls. It's hard to say how things will go from here, but he did ok this past sunday against Kansas City as he led the Pats to their first win of the season. I"m sure the Pats are calling around to see who might be employable to jump in if Matt doesn't get it done, but for now, he's finally a starting quarterback.
Here's what he had to say after the game...
"There is a number of times when I've been thinking, 'What the heck am I doing here?' " Cassel said. "It's been a long wait. But it comes down to just perseverance. You continue to push and you continue to work hard and you eventually believe that time is going to come. Yesterday was a great illustration of you keep preparing, you keep working hard because you never know when that opportunity is going to come. I woke up yesterday morning thinking, 'Oh gosh, I hope I get in late in the game. I hope we're beating them by a lot of points,' to be completely honest. Little did I know I'd be in there in the first quarter and I'd have to go down and score some points and lead the team."
Keep on working hard because you never know when that opportunity is going to come.
Gosh, you have to admire that attitude from a guy who's played backup for the past seven years.
Time will tell whether Matt becomes the next Tom or leads his team to a few losses and himself back to backup status, but all we can do is hope for the best and see what he and his boss Bill can do to keep up their winning ways.
In the meantime, here are some new shots from the Mountain View farm to calm your nerves...