Almost exactly a decade ago, the Patriots-Steelers rivalry produced one of its more regrettable soundbites, and it completely backfired on its author.
In the run-up to a December clash between the two AFC powerhouses in 2007, second year Steelers safety Anthony Smith guaranteed a win against the (undefeated) Patriots. When asked about it, he doubled down:
Brady and the Patriots not only heard Smith, they went directly at him when the game began. Randy Moss caught a 63-yard touchdown running past Smith. And the Patriots used a double pass play to exploit Smith for a second score:
Brady himself found Smith after one score, making sure his thoughts were understood.
“I don’t care to repeat what I said, especially if my mother reads it,” Brady said afterward. “She wouldn’t be very happy.”
Smith denied hearing what Brady said, but even the drama-averse Bill Belichick couldn’t resist a swipe at the safety.
“We’ve played against a lot better safeties than him, I’ll tell you,” said the Patriots coach. By the game’s end, the stats told a stark picture. The Patriots passed 46 times for 399 yards and four touchdowns, barely bothering with a run game. A 34-13 victory offered a high profile reminder that not everyone can do what Joe Namath did.