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By Ryan Wilson
Man, let Tom Brady play a poor 20 minutes of football on the biggest stage in sports and the gadflies are there ready to pounce. Never mind that the Patriots quarterback set a Super Bowl completion record earlier in the game, or that a Justin Tuck sack midway through the third quarter changed everything. None of that mattered to the Boston Globe's Eric Wilbur who published a scathing rebuke of Brady's performance literally minutes after his Hail Mary pass fell harmlessly to the turf as time expired.
"Sorry, Tommy Boy, this one's on you. Your hideous performance led to the Giants' 21-17 Super Bowl title win. How embarrassing for your coach, your teammates, and your fans. … What happened to you?
"What an embarrassment for the Patriots organization and Bob Kraft. So now the Giants have taken Lombardi from you twice, and you haven't looked this bad in a playoff game since...well, two weeks ago against the Ravens. Maybe that moment will actually hit you as you're whittling down water slides in South America looking like Prince Valiant this spring."
Oh boy. So, to recap: Brady, a three-time Super Bowl champ and two-time Super Bowl MVP, and a future first-ballot Hall of Famer is, according to Wilbur, an "embarrassment" and his performance "hideous." We have no idea what Wilbur would do if he was a Jets fan.
But even in a town where expectations for the local sports teams are unreasonably high, there are limits to the criticism. Hours after Wilbur's post was published the backlash began. The Big Lead referred to him as a "Boston-trolling columnist" before dissecting his diatribe sentence by sentence.
ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith wrote that "Brady wasn’t at his best on Sunday, but he wasn’t as terrible as Wilbur thinks. And the suggestion that he doesn’t care is absurd." Smith linked to a piece by Yahoo.com's Dan Wetzel, who recounts an inconsolable Brady sitting at his locker well after the game had ended. And Bruce Allen of BostonMediaWatch.com noted that "Wilbur’s post … reads more like a drunken fan rant than something crafted by a veteran journalist."
Wilbur spoke Monday to 98.5 The Sports Hub.
“I guess because I dared criticize the god of New England," he said via SportsRadioInterview.com. "If he had won that game we would’ve lauded him as the greatest quarterback ever so if he messes up in the game and loses it why can’t he take some of the poison? It seems like fans can’t admit that.”
Asked if, a day later, he still believes what he wrote, Wilbur said, "I still believe it. There were a lot of people saying ‘you know sleep on this and you’re going to look bad in the morning.’ It was a little over-the-top and I admit that but I think that was purposely so just because like I said if he would’ve won the game it would’ve been ‘oh Tom Brady’ so you know what? Let him get a little bit of the criticism.
"I guess that’s what people don’t get," he said. "It was a little over-the-top and purposely so but then again you don’t understand Vancouver writers either so.”
We eagerly await Gisele's response to all this.
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