FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – On the day ESPN.com is running a 32-team series on the best late-round draft pick for each franchise, here is a question that was sparked after listening to Richard Deitsch’s SI Media Podcast with ESPN football analyst Louis Riddick:
At the 42-minute mark of the podcast, Riddick – who played for Bill Belichick’s Cleveland Browns from 1993-1995 -- was discussing quarterbacks and what determines their NFL success when Brady inevitably was mentioned.
“You really have to be dialed in on what the makeup of this player has to be in conjunction with what his physical characteristics have to be. And here’s the kicker: Any player that fails in the NFL, everyone talks about ‘Well, that’s just the bust rate in the NFL – 50/50, some guys make it, some guys don’t’ -- as if it’s always just the player’s fault. Some guys are wired for it, some guys aren’t.
“[Some in the] NFL [are] so cocky and arrogant to think that they have all the answers; it’s never their fault, they never did anything wrong. 'If I’m coaching in the NFL, I must be one of the best in the world.' Newsflash – they’re not. Not every team is built equally, not every team has the most competent people. I can tell you this, in 1992, I played for the Atlanta Falcons. When I went from the Atlanta Falcons to the Cleveland Browns in 1993, I realized just how different it is in the NFL from one coaching staff at one program to another. That was like going from kindergarten to getting PhD level coaching. That’s how different it was, and it still exists that way in the NFL.
“So depending on where certain guys go, they have no shot versus they have every shot in the world to reach their full potential. So when you see players bust versus players who have success, a lot of times don’t just blame it on the player. Trust me, some of these guys are getting coached by guys who don’t belong coaching Pop Warner football, let alone coaching NFL football. Some coaching in the NFL is a flat-out joke. And some of it is deserving of what we all think it is in terms of the accolades we give them.
“If you’re going to get coached in New England, I promise you, you’re getting PhD-level coaching. You go get coached at some of these other places, I couldn’t tell you what kind of coaching you’re getting. If Tom Brady doesn’t go to New England … if Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t get drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers and gets drafted by some of the old coaching staffs of the Cincinnati Bengals, Ben Roethlisberger may not be in the league anymore. Tom Brady may not be in the league anymore.”