And so the Kyle Trask era begins in the NFL.
I was surprised only that word of Brady’s decision got out so quickly. There was no question that he had decided to retire. His words following last Sunday’s loss to the Rams were entirely different from anything we had ever before heard him say at the end of any of his 22 NFL seasons. Once he invoked his wife’s sacrifices and his kids’ growing needs, there was no turning back.
The Greatest? Yes. Hell, yes. It’s not close. Are you kidding? There is no legitimate or honest debate. And it’s not just (just?) the ten Super Bowl appearances (ten?) and seven (seven?) titles. It was the depth of his commitment, which I would maintain exceeded that of any other player in the 153-year history of the National Football League. And, you know, there have been some other pretty committed guys…
Not only did he never cheat the game—meaning the sport—he never cheated A game. Ever. Folks talk about “respecting the process”? Tom Brady WAS the process. In Brady’s mind, there was a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things. And he unfailingly opted for the right way, both because it made sense and because he could do it no other way.
There was a right way to prepare. And that right way was “totally.” Each and every time.
OK. Let’s address this right now. No. “DeflateGate” does not define him. Sure. He was looking for an edge. Yeah. He told the equipment managers, “You know how I like the football.” Every quarterback ever conveyed that same sentiment to every equipment manager ever. Trust me. It’s telling to me that no other quarterback said one damn word about DeflateGate. He never specifically told anybody, “Take that thing below the legal limit.” But he wanted it pushed to the ragged edge. I get that. For the record, Aaron Rodgers prefers balls inflated ABOVE the legal limit. Different strokes for different blokes.
I will never forget the first one. SB 36 (I ain’t no Roman!). Brady has to take over late in the season after Bledsoe’s horrific injury. (How would you like YOUR spleen ruptured?) It was just months after 9-11. We’re all hurting.
I remember pregame introductions in that game against the Rams, The Greatest Show on Turf.
In 35 previous Super Bowls, introductions had been made either individually or by position group. After the Rams had been introduced one at a time, I remember Pat F. Summerall intoning, as only could, “And now, CHOOSING to be introduced as a team, the New England Patriots.” And 53 guys in blue shirts WALKED onto the field in New Orleans. Chilling.
Yeah. You know what happened in that game. It happened late. It always seemed to happen late. With apologies to James Silas, Brady WAS “Captain Late.”
I roll my eyes when I hear people say Brady was great “despite his lack of physical talent.”
Yeah, he ran like a glacier. So what? Too many NFL teams are overpaying their QBs based on their 40 times. That’s like paying a five-star chef according to their auto mechanic skills.
So that kind of eye-hand coordination is not “talent”? That accuracy is not “talent”? That unprecedented ability to read defenses (especially pre-snap) is not “talent.” That kind of toughness and availability is not “talent”? That manner of superhuman cool under pressure is not “talent”?
And arm strength? How could anyone with eyes question his arm strength? Even late in his career (like, you know, THIS season) that thing had the muzzle velocity of your average bazooka.
Brady wore numeral12. But the number that drove him was six, as in “6th round draft choice.” That wasn’t a chip on his shoulder, it was a rusty hubcap.
The Greatest? The only argument would be who gets the silver medal.
I hope he dogs a half-gallon of ice cream tonight.
Thank you, TB12. You were a sight to see.