Tom Brady talked officiating, losing his Ohio State-Michigan bet, and a veteran quarterback problem in WEEI interview

"I think that's always in the back of my mind."

Tom Brady
Tom Brady at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 25 prior to a game against the Jets. –Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Tom Brady’s latest appearance on WEEI’s “Mut & Callahan” provided insight into a variety of topics during a Monday morning interview.

Following the Patriots’ 27-13 win over the Jets on Sunday, Brady began by giving an update on a hand injury.

“It’s good, just nothing at all. I’m feeling good,” Brady said. On the team’s performance, the Patriots quarterback offered measured praise, noting that there was still plenty of room for improvement.

“A little better on third down,” Brady said, “I mean we could’ve done better in the red area, scored more points, but just a good win to go on the road and beat the Jets.”

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On Sony Michel, Brady credited the rookie running back’s toughness.

“It was good,” Brady said on seeing Michel return from what looked like another injury. “When he got tangled up in Chicago, it was kind of a similar thing where he just got his body contorted funny and we missed him for a while.”

“For him to just want to come back in, and then I don’t know if it was the first carry or a few carries later, he break off a long one, it just does a lot for us.”

How the Patriots used a penalty to their advantage

The Patriots were called on several penalties Sunday, though one had a happy ending for New England. Towards the end of the first quarter, running back James White was called for offensive pass interference which Brady didn’t understand.

“I have no idea how they called that,” Brady said. “He didn’t even touch him.”

And Brady took the opportunity to explain his thoughts on officials making calls, citing the penalty on White as an example:

That particular one I didn’t really understand. The other ones, I didn’t really see the chop block, or the holding. They get some wrong, they get most of them right. It’s a tough job for them. The ones I don’t understand are when there’s no penalty and they call it. I mean I don’t know how you throw a flag when it doesn’t happen, because you don’t see it. But sometimes I think they see maybe a reaction and throw it. They even out over the course of the year. I know the officials aren’t trying to get them wrong. They’re trying their best. They make mistakes, we make mistakes, we’re not robots.

However, the Jets made a strange decision, accepting the penalty to replay third down (with longer yardage) instead of declining (and welcoming fourth down). Brady said he was happy with the outcome.

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“Yeah I was glad,” Brady explained. “I knew we were kicking the field goal, which we didn’t want to do, and the fact to give us 3rd and 12, that’s just a great opportunity for us.”

On the very next play, Rob Gronkowski hauled in a 34-yard touchdown catch, leading to a 7-7 tie instead of what would likely have been a 7-3 deficit.

“Gronk just did a great job on the route, really made a great catch, stretched out, got hit as he caught it,” Brady said of the tight end’s touchdown. “Those are the types of plays he makes for us.”

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Asked if the Patriots’ offense would’ve stayed on the field regardless if the Jets had declined the penalty (resulting in fourth down), Brady answered saying, “I’m not sure if we would’ve gone for it.”

Losing to Ohio State (again)

The news for Brady was less than stellar in college football, as his alma mater (Michigan) lost on Saturday to Ohio State, 62-39.

“Unfortunately I lost a bet to Nate Ebner,” Brady glumly confessed. “I already paid him his money and I have to wear some ridiculous outfit. But man, the freaking Wolverines, they can’t win a big game. That was pretty crappy to watch.”

Asked what the “ridiculous outfit” will consist of, Brady acknowledged what it might be.

“I think it’s one of his jerseys. An actual game jersey that I’m sure I’ll be wearing on Wednesday,” Brady said of the midweek team practice.

This isn’t the first time Brady has had to pay up to a Patriots teammate with Ohio State ties. Former New England linebacker – and current Tennessee Titans head coach – Mike Vrabel once benefited from a similar bet.

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“Yeah I actually had to wear that on the field,” Brady recalled of wearing Vrabel’s No. 94 Ohio State jersey. “I mean we’ve lost to them so much, I don’t feel like I ever win any of these bets, but that’s alright. Keep trying.”

When asked we he simply refrains from future college-related bets, Brady explained his perpetual commitment.

“I can’t, that’s weakness,” said Brady. “I have to accept the bet, unless it’s Alabama-Michigan and I know we probably won’t win that one.”

What about the money stakes?

“It was only a couple hundred bucks,” Brady reasoned, “although I did beat [Brian] Hoyer [of] Michigan State this year, so I won $500 off Hoy, and he had to wear a Michigan [sweater].”

“I don’t think Nate’s going to be so nice,” Brady concluded.

Being deemed a “game manager”

Earlier in his career, Brady was occasionally labelled a “game manager” quarterback by NFL writers. Brady was asked about the term, which can be used derisively towards less flashy quarterbacks who are perceived to have a limited upside.

“No, never,” Brady said when asked if the label ever bothered him. “I mean I don’t think that’s a negative thing.”

“Again I think a great quarterback to me is just one that puts his team in a position to win,” Brady outlined. “And if you look around for a long time, that’s what you see.”

While discussing the subject, Brady elaborated on an interesting piece of self-criticism.

“Everything’s risk-reward, and I think maybe part of my problem as I’ve gotten older is I want to make so few mistakes, maybe there’s not as much aggressiveness as I would like because with aggressiveness comes a little more risk,” Brady said. “We have like a 95 percent chance of winning when we don’t turn the ball over, and I think that’s always in the back of my mind.

“Being a little less fearful with the ball, and a little more aggressive, I thought we did a better job of that yesterday, and hopefully we can keep that going.”

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