Morning Sports Update

Tedy Bruschi on the similarities the 2021 Patriots have with 2001

"These fans in New England, they know."

Tedy Bruschi
Tedy Bruschi intercepts Kurt Warner during a Rams-Patriots matchup in November, 2001. Globe Archives

The Celtics defeated the Raptors 104-88 on Wednesday night. Jayson Tatum’s 22 points and Robert Williams’s eight offensive rebounds led the way for Boston.

Tonight, the Bruins host the Oilers at 7 p.m.

Tedy Bruschi on the 2001 parallels: After a 2-4 start to the season, the Patriots have won three in a row to get above .500 for the first time in 2021.

New England’s midseason momentum swing, directed by a first-year quarterback, has led to an increasing number of comparisons to a previous Bill Belichick team.

The 2001 Patriots, led by then-backup quarterback Tom Brady, also started slowly before emerging at 5-4. That particular team then lost to the Rams in Week 10 before going on a nine-game winning streak to close out the season (including a win over the Rams in the Super Bowl rematch).

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A member of the 2001 team, Tedy Bruschi, commented on if he also sees the similarities between the two teams during an interview on WEEI’s “Merloni & Fauria” on Wednesday.

“I do see the similarities in terms of the process of growth of a quarterback that was an unknown, a defense that had multiple signings that had to come together,” said Bruschi. “[Mike] Vrabel was a new signing, I mean, [Roman] Phifer was new. There were a lot of [new] linebackers, which [Matthew] Judon here, [Jalen] Mills, various guys are coming in playing particular roles that are very important. You can see similarities in that.

“The similarity in record,” Bruschi continued. “We were 5-5 after we lost to the then St. Louis Rams. So there is a process that this type of coaching always gives you that type of result. And you see it. These fans in New England, they know. They can see good coaching. They can see good playing and then it sort of [comes together] at the right time, come around Thanksgiving. I can feel it, too.”

Bruschi noted that there are differences, however. The 2021 Patriots made fourth-quarter mistakes in some of the team’s earlier losses that the 2001 team rarely made.

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And he also added that even in their best possible version, the 2021 team—like their 2001 predecessors—will also need an element of luck to get anywhere close to the Super Bowl.

“Did we get a couple of breaks or two? Yes,” Bruschi explained, “like the Tuck Rule against the Raiders in the snow and all that, sure. But, pressure plays made by pressure players were done over and over consistently again. You win an AFC Championship with two special teams scores, so a lot of things need to happen for it to turn out like it did in [2001].”

Trivia: Seven members of the 2001 Patriots recorded multiple interceptions during the regular season, but which player led the team that season?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He played under Bill Belichick’s coaching with both the Jets and Patriots.

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Odell Beckham Jr. could take “a few days” to make his decision:

On this day: In 1987, Boston sports celebrated multiple achievements. In baseball, Red Sox ace Roger Clemens—having gone 20-9 with a 2.97 ERA—won his second straight American League Cy Young Award.

And in basketball, Larry Bird dropped 42 points and totaled 20 rebounds in a 120-104 win over the Pacers.

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Here’s how the Boston Globe sports section looked the following day:

Globe Sports Section 11.11.1987

Daily highlight: Indiana goalkeeper Roman Celentano made four saves in rapid succession to help his team survive in overtime long enough to eventually beat Northwestern, 1-0.

Trivia answer: Otis Smith

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