With the brawl between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns drawing considerable attention – and even more fines – the rest of the NFL is being asked to provide their thoughts on the matter. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was put in this exact situation on Friday. In response, he simply explained how the Patriots focus on maintaining their composure and avoiding needless penalties.
Brady was asked about Myles Garrett hitting Mason Rudolph over the head with his own helmet, as well as the fight between the two teams that followed. The veteran QB didn't go into specifics about which player was in the wrong or the situation in general. Instead, he simply explained how this fight could be used by other teams around the league.
"Yeah, I just think that Coach [Bill] Belichick just tries to use it as teaching moments," Brady said. "[He] talks about not throwing punches, not touching the referees, and staying on the sidelines."
Video: Tom Brady on Browns-Steelers fight, the only unsportsmanlike conduct penalty of his career, and the emotional game of football. pic.twitter.com/Dz4neHf4Jm— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) November 15, 2019
As Brady continued to explain, football is a physical and very emotional sport. Things happen quickly, and emotions sometimes play a role in unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Brady even brought up the only penalty of this variety from his career, which happened back in 2002. He was penalized for shoving a member of the Chicago Bears.
Since 2002, Brady has certainly been involved in emotional moments both on and off the field. He and Bill O'Brien once got into a screaming match on the sidelines back when the Houston Texans coach was serving as the Patriots offensive coordinator. He hasn't removed emotion from his game, but Brady and his teammates have simply found ways to avoid getting penalized at critical moments.
As evidence of this point, the Cleveland Browns are currently the most-penalized team in the entire NFL. They have 87 accepted penalties on the season, including eight for roughing the passer. The Patriots, on the other hand, are 27th in the league with only 56 accepted penalties. This followed a 2018 campaign in which they were 29th.
Throughout Belichick's career as head coach, the Patriots have built up a reputation for avoiding penalties and costly mistakes. This team does not beat itself, which is one factor in the nine Super Bowl appearances since 2000. The same cannot be said about other teams in the NFL.
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