want to document something before people start talking, and then
use short-term-memory-malfunctions to justify stupidity. And while
attacking that one major issue, I also want to provide some additional
details on the GOAT.
two decades I watched people critique Tom Brady and the Patriots
based on the idea that the AFC East was somehow an inferior conference.
That they faced an easy schedule free of challenges, which in
turn led them to undeserved heights. And now…
season, the NFC South will consist of the following for Tampa
to overcome in their quest to return to the playoffs and defend
a title: (1) A New Orleans team that enters the offseason with
massive salary cap issues and, in all probability, Drew Brees
riding into retirement. (2) A Carolina team that’s spunky, but
appears ready to bring in a new starting quarterback. (3) An Atlanta
team that, while possessing talented players, often can’t get
out of its own way and seems ready to shed some of those talents
as aging veterans on a club that likely will be watching the salary
cap (and rebuilding for the future may be the plan).
short, I’m waiting for the haters to come out, bring on the old
and tired and way-off-the-mark arguments, and say the Buccaneers
don’t have to play anyone good.
you have any idea what you just watched in the past four weeks?
Tom Brady and the Bucs defeated Drew Brees and the Saints… in
New Orleans. Tom Brady and the Bucs defeated Aaron Rodgers and
the Packers… in Green Bay. Tom Brady and the Bucs defeated Patrick
Mahomes and the Chiefs… knocking off the defending Super Bowl
champions, and the most talented quarterback currently playing
in the league, in a blowout that wasn’t as close as the final
Rodgers and Mahomes, beaten one after the other. Three almost
certainly Hall of Fame inductees in waiting. The current season’s
MVP. A tremendously solid run. It capped off a season where Brady
changed teams and, thanks to world events, had less time than
usual and far more restrictions in place when it came to practicing
let’s put it out there. Are we really getting ready to see people
again blame the quality of opponents? Are people going to complain
that Brady has had it easy? I’m going to bet they will, since
they’re already saying the officiating was in his back pocket.
put a few things in place to cool the waters of these hot accusations.
way the NFL sets up scheduling, a division winner has what should
be one of the toughest conference schedules year-after-year. The
rotation sets it up so they have to play the three division winners
from the previous season in their conference.
that, the Patriots and their success added numerous hurdles to
things. Lower draft picks in each round. More games played. (In
fact, funny truth, Tom Brady and New England played the rough
equivalent of more than two-and-half seasons worth of playoff
games under his leadership. And he’s now started 45 playoff games
in his career.) Do you think the next-season playoff hangover
examinations that seemed to be applicable to every team except
the Patriots while he was in their uniform did (and do) apply
because New England was playing Miami, Buffalo and New York (Jets)?
it is truly a team game. This isn’t a sport that plays out in
a way such as when a great pitcher can dominate a playoff series.
Over time, things are supposed to level out. (As New England began
to see this past season.)
then again, this is the GOAT. And so here we are…
Mahomes, in a brilliant and still incredibly young career, has
lost two playoff games. The opposing quarterbacks in those games?
Tom Brady and… go ahead, guess… yeah, and Tom Brady.
Brady is the most recent quarterback to win back-to-back titles.
The most recent teams to make a run at it? Russell Wilson leading
Seattle and Mahomes with Kansas City. They were both defeated
in the Super Bowl by teams quarterbacked by Brady. (And yes, Tom
Brady lost in an attempt to win back-to-back titles when Philadelphia
won Super Bowl LII. Maybe you’d like to also notice that the Patriots
played for the title four times in five years around that loss,
including three Super Bowls in a row, while winning three times.
They did not play the Seahawks, Falcons, Rams or Eagles multiple
times over those four years.)
yeah, and the record book. Brady has played in ten Super Bowls
and won seven. Only one other player has five Super Bowl rings
as a player. Brady has five Super Bowl MVP awards. We’re closing
in on the annual Super Bowl awards being the Lombardi championship
trophy and Brady MVP trophy.
don’t reach Super Bowls… conference championship games… year after
year because you’re an ok team in a horrible division. Doesn’t
work that way. Too many other elements and obstacles involved.
eventually you have to stop looking for excuses and tip your cap.
We are well beyond Tom Brady proving himself as the greatest of
all time. And while I’d like to say we’re being treated to some
incredible encores, it’s more than that.
are good that Tampa Bay will return to the playoffs next season.
I don’t know the full roster, opponents that might be in place,
and circumstance. Several teams in the NFC look to be really powerful.
Championship teams often lose some players to free agency. Predicting
what will happen as far as records and outcomes, especially right
now, is a bit foolish. I do know Brady and the team will have
more history together than they did entering this season. And
I would guess that in what is appearing to be an interesting offseason,
his presence may make Tampa Bay a very attractive destination
for free agents.
we can all enjoy his remaining time as much as he seems to be
enjoying it, because it is beyond unlikely we will ever see this
level of performance again.
yet… those wonderful critics with short-term-memory-malfunctions
are going to make attempts at justifying their stupidity when
it comes to Brady and how he manages to stay on top and be successful.
I am waiting for them to point at scheduling as the reason Brady
once again wins. They will. And they’ll be wrong.