By: Jake Mackey
The Patriots have started their 2016 regular season by unveiling a new banner high above Gillette Stadium. It is not one that is as marveled as their four Super Bowl banners, but it is not nearly as hated as that awful 16-0 banner. Instead it is simply a massive banner with the face of Tom Brady, draped down the lighthouse in the north end zone. Very similar to Notre Dame’s, “touchdown Jesus”.
(Photo Credits: NDPhotos.com, CSNNE.com)
When I first saw this, the Patriots fan in me was giddy. Neither Brady nor the team has said anything about this whole fiasco all summer. Now, during the morning of the suspension’s start the stadium unloads this banner so Brady’s figure will be overlooking the team throughout the four weeks.
The sentiment on Sunday was all for this move. Then as I tuned into 98.5 The Sports Hub on Tuesday at 2 o’clock the sentiment flipped. Felger and Mazz started talking about how Brady was over Garoppolo’s shoulder now and it is not helping the kid out and certainly how it flies in the face of the Patriots, “team first”mantra. While these are all solid points, to that I say, Garoppolo is a grown man in his third NFL season, he should be able to handle a little pressure and has had nearly five months to prepare for this situation.
If Garoppolo gets shook by a banner of the best player in the history of the franchise, then there are some serious issues. We all saw how mediocre Garoppolo was in the preseason and how shaky he looked in Carolina when Brady was right over his shoulder ready to come into the game.
Brady is in his head before the season even starts. Is seeing a fan in a number 12 jersey going to get Garoppolo shaken as well? This is all part of the process. Tom Brady is the Patriots, and he has been since 2001. Garoppolo now has to take over that role for a quarter of the season. He has to be that voice in the huddle, on the sideline, and in the locker room that great teams need from their starting quarterback.
Based on what we have seen from the preseason, I am not confident Garoppolo is going to be that guy. He looks shaky and jittery. You can’t compare him to Brady, because you are only setting yourself up for disappointment. However, you should expect him to look like a viable NFL starter, and if this banner shakes in even the slightest bit to where the team needs to take it down, then your best bet is to just start Jacoby Brissett.