New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady this morning responded to comments made by Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress, who said yesterday that the Patriots team that beat the Vikings 31-7 in 2006 was one of “the all-time great signal stealers.”
"We've been called a lot worse than that,” Brady said during his weekly interview with Boston sports radio station WEEI. “That game was so long ago. ... I remember us executing pretty well that night. I've heard different guys in the past say that. That's come and gone. That's been not a part of football here for a long time, and we've still won a lot of games. In '07, they changed the rule and so forth. I don't buy a whole lot into that. The team that's going to win this weekend is the team that plays better. I can promise you that."
Brady was great in that game in Minnesota, going 29 of 43 for 372 yards and four touchdowns, as the Patriots overlooked the run in favor of a spread-them-out passing attack.
"It was like a surgical procedure," Childress said of the '06 contest. "That’s back when we used to signal [plays] and things like that. I remember having a conversation with [former Vikings defensive coordinator] Mike Tomlin about that. These were some of the all-time great signal stealers. In fact, that’s what was going on. They were holding, holding, holding. We were signaling from the sideline. They were good at it. It’s like stealing signals from a catcher."
When it comes to signal stealing, which is less prevalent now with the coach-to-defender communication device, Childress said that his teams would try to do the same thing.
"It’s something that we do as well. It’s good for one; it’s good for the other," he said. "We didn’t change it up. We didn’t use wristbands. We didn’t change the menu at halftime. They were good at that. Obviously you don’t need to give Tom [Brady] any added advantage."
Brady also was asked about Childress criticizing quarterback Brett Favre for his decision-making during the Vikings' loss to to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.
"I think every head coach has different styles to motivate their players.," Brady said. "Coach [Belichick], he doesn't ever do that to anybody. It doesn't matter if I threw seven interceptions, he would never do that. But there's no doubt that he's going to bring that up to me at some point, probably right away, to say in front of the team, as well. He's going to make the point that he needs to make in order to try to get his players to play better.
"Coach Belichick does that. Tony Dungy did that. Everyone does that in different ways. We're all big boys. We can handle the criticism. If we don't do something well, we know that we didn't do something well. Often times, players are their harshest critics. When I don't play well, I know it. Sometimes it does hurt your ego a bit when somebody tells you you've got to do it better. But that's the truth. If that's what you need as a player, then in the end you'll be pretty happy that someone actually came out and said it, because maybe that will motivate you a little bit more to get it improved."