Aaron Rodgers’s injury should be a jolt of reality for Tom Brady

Green Bay, WI     11/30/14       Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers shaking hands with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after they defeated the Patriots 26-21 at Lambeau Field  on Sunday November  30,  2014.  (Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff)
Topic: Patriots
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Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers shakes hands with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after they defeated the Patriots 26-21 at Lambeau Field on Sunday November 30, 2014. –Matthew J. Lee/Boston Globe

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COMMENTARY

What’s the pliability success rate against curses?

Granted, I know we all sort of look at jinxes around these parts with the seasoned rationale that comes with breaking 86-year-old droughts once solely attributed to a portly baseball player. But that awakening into common sense doesn’t mean that we can’t occasionally taste the fear that comes with blaming black magic.

Which is why the injury to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ought to scare the sunstroke-fighting electrolytes out of Patriot fans.

Credit — or, eventually, perhaps, blame — 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Marc Bertrand for reminding us that Rodgers, who is likely out for the remainder of the season with a broken collarbone suffered against the Minnesota Vikings, is the latest of Sports Illustrated’s 2017 NFL preview cover men to go down in a heap of shattered dreams.

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Week 1 claimed Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson with a broken wrist that will keep him out until at least Thanksgiving. Week 5 saw Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt go down with a broken leg. That left only two players to grace SI’s regional covers earlier this year starting for their teams on Sunday. Until Rodgers was carted off the field early in the afternoon.

Which means…oh, no.

I know, we should be over the whole, overblown SI cover jinx nonsense, particularly considering the amount of times Brady has graced the magazine with his presence over the years with little-to-no repercussion. But even the most-hardened, curse-busting zealot has to take pause for this, right?

Brady is the last man standing.

Like everyone needed this hanging over their heads. Never mind that the 40-year-old Brady already came into the season with the hex police shaming his decision to take EA’s money for the death knell of appearing on the Madden 17 cover. Forget the matter that Brady and the Patriots opened the 2017 season against the Kansas City Chiefs, the same team they hosted a decade earlier only to watch their quarterback’s knee buckle and begin the Matt Cassel era  nobody asked for.

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Sports Illustrated has to come after him too?

All voodoo aside though, there’s justification why such imprints of coincidence should scare you. Even considering the New York Jets’ inability on Sunday to get to Brady, who wasn’t sacked once for the first time this season, it almost seems a ticking time bomb to arrive at the moment when Brady doesn’t get up after sustaining what have become all-too-common hits.

Brady has been sacked 16 times already in 2017, one more than all of last season. He’d already been hit 32 times heading into Sunday, and was on pace to succumb to 51 sacks. That would be a career-high.

Brady went down 41 times in 2001. He was 24.

“I understand part of the position is standing there and taking hits,” Brady said last week after missing practice with an injury to his (non-throwing) shoulder . “I just try to prepare my body as best I can for it so when you take them your body can respond and then you can kind of get back to feeling as good as you possibly can as quickly as you possibly can.”

But it was last Thursday night in Tampa Bay that probably caused some semblance of concern, especially seeing the NFL’s worst pass-rushing defense sack Brady three times, half of the Buccaneers’ total over their first five games. Brady was slow to get up on some of the collisions that evening, lending burden to the possibility that the New England offensive line might not be decent enough to protect the Patriots’ most valuable asset.

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New England’s next opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, are 21st in the league with 12 sacks.

“Every game’s a little bit different,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “We’re certainly going to see a good pass rush this week and a little bit different type of rush than what we saw against the Jets. Every week’s got its own challenges.”

Belichick would just assume discuss his apple-picking adventures with Linda as much as he would address the notion of a curse potentially derailing his team’s Super Bowl aspirations. Maybe he thinks the Madden Curse plays as equaling-out leverage with Brady’s forthcoming SI cover jinx.

Perhaps the SI gods will be kinder to Brady seeing as the magazine’s editors managed to group his name in with the “Patriots” rather than highlighting the personal moniker they way they did Watt, Johnson, and Rodgers. Hey, it could even be that Julian Edelman, a man who would seemingly sacrifice life or limb for his idol, did just that, taking the season-ending bullet for Brady with his torn ACL.

After his team’s win at the Meadowlands Sunday, Brady was informed that Rodgers would likely miss the remainder of the season.

“That sucks,” he said.

Hope he got on the phone shortly after that, trying to figure out what the TB12 vitamin folks have ready for the go against paranormal acts of vengeance. Maybe it’s the only way.