Sunday, May 18, 2014

Comparisons Aren't Just Odious, They Can Be Downright Dangerous

Heaven knows what it could've been, but at some point out there at Eastern Illinois, Jimmy Garoppolo must've done something perfectly horrid to Ben Volin or to one of Volin's superiors in the Globe's sports department. Revenge is the only motive sufficient to explain why Volin and the Globe tied a can full of nitroglycerin to Garoppolo's one week old NFL career in this morning's paper.

I can think of no dirtier trick to pull on a rookie quarterback for any team than publishing a front page lead story on all of his resemblances as a player to Tom Brady. If said QB is a rookie Patriot, we're moving into war crime territory.

The Pats wouldn't have drafted Garoppolo in the second round if Bill Belichick hadn't thought he could be an NFL quarterback someday. Barring catastrophe, that day will not come until after the presidential election. In the meantime, the common assumption he's Brady's heir apparent will be burden enough on the poor guy. To state he reminds anyone of the young Brady is piling on the expectations to a point where Garoppolo's first exhibition game incompletion will become as much of a news event as the preseason allows.

Make that a controversial news event. If the "young Brady" meme takes hold, Garoppolo's stumbles as a rookie, and there will be some, will be judged not against his peers, but against the non-rookie performances of one of the historic greats at his position. That ought to help keep the kid chock-full of confidence.

Being the heir apparent quarterback sucks. Ask Steve Young. It made him an unhappy man even after the got the job. That's a Hall of Famer. Garoppolo hasn't even begun his audition for that tragic part. Hyping his chances of landing the role is cruelty disguised as praise.

Nobody remembers Tom Brady's rookie season. That's because nobody saw it. Brady never played in 2000. Belichick allowed himto grow from an awkward rook into the guy he trusted to replace an injured Drew Bledsoe in the decent privacy of practices and meetings.

I'm convinced that privacy is one reason Brady became the player nobody should be compared to now.


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