ATLANTA — Nickell Robey-Coleman didn’t just poke the bear. He kicked it, he stabbed it, he targeted Tom Brady and the Patriots so hard Roger Goodell would have run onto the field himself and thrown the flag.
For unnecessary stupidity.
Trash-talking Brady as Robey-Coleman did in a Bleacher Report feature — “Age has definitely taken a toll. … He’s definitely not the same quarterback he was.” — might mean nothing. Brady was already obsessed with winning his sixth Super Bowl.
Of course, it also comes at a time when the old GOAT has been searching frantically for any and every sign of disrespect to stoke his already-raging fire. So it might mean plenty.
And so might this: When I asked him Monday if he thinks Brady might target him on Super Sunday, Robey-Coleman said:
“Maybe so. I assume he will.”
And how do you feel about that?
“Let’s do it!” he said. “It’s a competitive sport. I’m ready.”
Asked if he was worried Brady might use what he said as motivation, Robey-Coleman said:
“I’m not scared of Tom Brady.”
Then why, long after he had opened mouth, inserted foot, did he decide to show off his backpedal at Super Bowl Opening Night? The trusted old Out of Context excuse.
“I addressed his age but it wasn’t nothing about his lack of performance or his lack of skills,” Robey-Coleman said. “His skills are still the same, his arm’s still the same. Nothing has changed.”
And: “He’s the GOAT, a legend. I’m not taking nothing away from him.”
Sorry. Too late.
Brady looked as if he had swallowed bad clam chowder when someone asked about Robey-Coleman’s trash talk.
“I don’t have much to add,” Brady said.
Remember how Steelers cornerback Anthony Smith guaranteed a win over the 12-0 Patriots in 2007 and spent much of his day as a designated pigeon, with Brady throwing for 399 yards and 4 TDs in a 34-14 beatdown?
Remember when a Lions cornerback named Alphonso Smith talked smack to Brady and was victimized for a pair of TD passes in a 45-24 Patriots Thanksgiving victory in 2010? Smith did the following preseason:
“You’ve got to make sure who you pick a gunfight with,” he said. “Tom Brady and [Bill] Belichick is not the guys that you should pick a gunfight with, especially being in your second year in this league, which means you know nothing.
“I was one of those young guys that didn’t know anything. Chose to get in a gunfight with John Wayne and some other famous old Western guy.”
To his credit, Robey-Coleman did not hide. He answered all the questions lobbed at him by the media mob that surrounded him.
“He’s gonna throw ’em, and I’m gonna try to deflect ’em,” he said.
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Robey-Coleman, a former Bill, also detailed how much he hates the Patriots, which by itself isn’t a big deal given the size of that bandwagon. But he did his teammates and coaches no favors when he referenced Belichick’s delight in rubbing it in with a big lead.
“Stick a dagger in them,” Robey-Coleman said. “They’re not a team that you want to play around with. Stick the dagger in them and don’t leave it in them! Take it out! And let them leak. Let them leak slow. Put the dagger in them, pull it out, and let them leak slow. Just kill ’em slowly. That’s how you do them.”
Maybe it won’t mean a thing when those words end up on Belichick’s bulletin board. This is, after all, the Super Bowl, and the Rams haven’t won their second one since Super Bowl XXXIV.
Now, Plaxico Burress predicting a 23-17 victory in Super Bowl XLII over the Perfect Patriots had Brady laughing it off … and doing nothing about it in the 17-14 Giants upset.
“We’re only going to score 17 points?” Brady said. “OK. Is Plax playing defense? I wish he had said 45-42 and gave us a little credit for more points.”
Brady would add:
“I learned a lesson early in my career: No matter what you say during the week — and God knows we say a lot this week — we’re gonna be focused on going out and winning this game. We’re confident, but I don’t think we share our thoughts with everybody.”
Of course, Chiefs cornerback Fred “The Hammer” Williamson decided to share his thoughts with everybody before Super Bowl I against the Lombardi Packers — he vowed to drop the hammer, a forearm to the head — on Packers receivers. He wound up getting knocked out following a collision with RB Donny Anderson … much to the delight of the Green Bay sideline.
“I was like the Pied Piper, they were coming after me,” Williamson told the Las Vegas Desert Sun three years ago. “I took a knee to the forehead and they were dancing on the sidelines, ‘We got The Hammer! We got the Hammer!’ I think knocking me out of the game was more important to them than winning it.”
Then there was Cowboys’ flamboyant linebacker Hollywood Henderson, who told the media before Super Bowl XIII that Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw “couldn’t spell cat if you spotted him the c and the a.” Bradshaw finished 17-for-30 for 318 yards, 4 TDs and 1 INT in a 35-31 victory.
Robey-Coleman, who was involved in the infamous non-call that infuriated the Saints and all of New Orleans and beyond, placed even more of a blinding light on himself Monday night.
And only hours after the story broke, Robey-Coleman, the self-proclaimed slotgod, tweeted:
“I respect any team I line up against. Words were definitely taken out of context. That’s never been me. #slotgod #RamsHouse”
Yes, Joe Namath guaranteed that Super Bowl III shocker over the Baltimore Colts. Robey-Coleman isn’t Namath. Robey-Coleman will be easy to identify on Super Sunday. He’ll be the one wearing the bull’s-eye. Brady won’t have a difficult time finding him. Robey-Coleman isn’t scared of Tom Brady. Maybe he should be.