Tom Brady slide: Was it a dirty play?

January 21, 2013

Tom Brady comes in a little high for a landing. (Mike Segar / Reuters)

Update: NFL reviewing Brady’s slide

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady looked more like a baserunner trying to break up a double play than a quarterback when he slid with Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed closing in during Sunday night’s AFC championship game.

Stills of the slide make it look like something out of a Ninja movie and luckily there were no injuries. Of course, had the cleat been on the other foot — Reed’s — the NFL and the refs might have brought down all sorts of penalties. Now, it’s just a meme and a spirited debate about Brady’s tactics.

“You’ve got to keep them legs down,” Ravens safety Bernard Pollard said (via CSN New England). “You’ve go to keep the legs down. We all know and understand what’s going on there. And as a quarterback, when you go to slide, we’re taught … we can’t do anything. When you come sliding, and your leg is up in the air trying to kick somebody, that’s bull crap. We talked to the ref. They saw it. You can’t deny it.”


On Monday, Pollard wasn’t backing off. “When you slide, everything is on the ground. He knew what he was doing,” Pollard said (via MASN’s Ravens Buzz). “I’m the type of player where it has to go both ways. It really does. It has to go both ways. Hopefully the NFL will do something about it. If they don’t, that’s fine. If they do, then that’s fine.

John Harbaugh's recreation captured the essence of the move. (Adam Hunger / Reuters)
John Harbaugh’s recreation captured the essence of the move. (Adam Hunger / Reuters)

“But I think for me as a player, we all know the emotions and everything that go on on the field — we’re going to say things, we’re going to do things. But when it’s all said and done, if you want to keep the game clean, if you want to keep this going in the right direction, everybody needs to be penalized for their actions.”

Pollard, of course, is the guy whose hit ended Brady’s 2008 season in the opener and gave Wes Welker a similarly devastating injury in 2010. He left a calling card Sunday night with a hit that knocked out running back Stevan Ridley and caused him to fumble. He wished Pollard well but wasn’t sorry for that hit.

“This is a violent sport. We run fast, we hit hard, guys are big and they’re getting bigger and quicker year in and year out,” Pollard said. “I love to play this game, I love to tackle. That’s what I do. When you’ve got two guys running full speed at each other and you’ve got helmets and shoulder pads on, somebody is going to go down. But it’s not something that I’m proud of. I hope he’s all right. We’ll see.”

Pollard may have a point with Brady’s technique. John Harbaugh certainly wanted a flag and the reaction on Twitter was the same. Was Brady’s move dirty and should he be fined for it?

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

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After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren · January 21, 2013