he also is in the "im so bored" Im takings selfies of myself in the mirror stage of retirementWell that just gives fodder to anyone who truly believes he will play one more season.
Damn was hoping for SteveBrady doing a live podcast right now on Sirius XM 82 with Jim Grey. And, there is this:
UPDATE: Belichick is indeed coming on after the break.
Oh, the feels. Make him cry Bill!View: https://twitter.com/MikeReiss/status/1622737199971110914
On Tom Brady’s first “Let’s Go!” podcast since he announced his retirement, he interviewed a special guest: Bill Belichick. “The greatest player. The greatest career. A great, great person,” Belichick said. “I guess it has to end at some point.” Brady emotional.
The Meaning of Brady
Beyond the obvious essentials of accuracy and smarts and competitiveness and quick decision-making, what makes a great quarterback in the modern game? Five things, I think:
Tom Brady, five for five.
- Mastery of the thousand little things the position demands, and actual enjoyment on the road to that mastery.
- Unselfishness. As Bo Schembechler once said, “The team, the team, the team.”
- Treating your body and your brain like a temple. Those Ken Stabler drink-all-night-and-play days are dead forever.
- Embracing continuing education about the position and the game.
- Being a beacon for the position and the game, and wanting to leave the position a better place than you found it.
There will be those who won’t want another hagiography on Brady in the wake of his retirement, maybe because they’re just sick of him, maybe because they’ll always view him with suspicion after he was suspended for four games for his alleged role in deflating footballs in 2015. Deflategate’s a part of Brady’s legacy. Everything counts. But there is so much unproven in that investigation, and I’ve never felt that a series of “more probable than not” findings should put a scarlet letter “D” on Brady’s legacy.
The Brady ethos surfaced just weeks after he was drafted 199th overall in 2000. Then-Patriots personnel czar Scott Pioli saw the lights on in the team’s indoor workout facility around 9 one spring night. In the place was Brady, then totally unknown, throwing footballs into target-nets. Pioli said hi. Brady said, “Don’t tell anyone you saw me.”
The ethos never stopped. Through big losses (Giants, Giants), through personal strife (his mother’s cancer battle), through marital strife (the Gisele divorce) perhaps brought on by his insatiable desire to play football, Brady kept up the precedent-setting unique care and feeding of the best quarterback in the world. When I met him for an interview in 2017, twice he emptied TB12 electrolyte packets into his bottles of Vitamin Water Zero—he did it almost without noticing. I asked him if he missed going out with his buddies and having nine beers one night in the off-season. “I’ve done that before,” he said, “and this [winning Super Bowls] is a lot more fun.”
The work showed up in games, and in playing till 45: In his last 14 seasons as a football player, from age 32 to age 45, he played 258 football games and missed none due to injury. John Elway played 256—in his NFL career.
As for my list of five things, let’s look at number one. I’m going to tell you a story I’ve told before, but it’s the perfect explanation for why Brady became the best to ever do it.
Brady doesn’t think this, but I’ll always think his greatest game was the comeback from 28-3 against Atlanta in the Super Bowl. “I don’t really consider playing a good quarter-and-a-half plus overtime as one of the ‘best games ever,’” he said.
Putting up 31 points in 28 minutes, playing the most snaps in a game (99) in his career, getting tattooed all game by Grady Jarrett and the Falcons’ front, and using Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell as his most trusted wide receivers late in the game, coming back from a crap start in the biggest game of the year. That’s what the greats do, in the biggest games they play. so I consider it his greatest day as a quarterback.
The thing about that game that’s never gotten the attention it deserved was Brady iso-ing two bottom-of-the-roster guys to win a Super Bowl. On the third play of overtime, Hogan, a spare piece in bits of 10 NFL seasons, was singled left on a second-round corner, Jalen Collins. Brady, standing at his 37-yard line, saw Hogan and Collins running together at the Atlanta 45. Brady threw to a spot about 23 yards downfield, to the left, with Hogan not looking. Hogan dug his foot into the ground at the Atlanta 37- and boomeranged back, not seeing the ball till it was two-thirds of the way to him, Collins a step behind him. The ball hit Hogan in the hands at the 40-, and he efforted ahead to the Atlanta 37-.
No one remembers those plays. No one remember Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell in the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. But there’s no more perfect way to remember Brady’s career than late comeback-route completions of 12, 16, 11 and 18 yards to players who aren’t household names in their own households.
I wondered about those anticipation throws. I said if you throw it 20 or 25 yards and your guy doesn’t get the perfect break, that easily could be an interception.
“That’s a lot of throws,’’ Brady said. “That’s 111 practices that we had. That’s however many games. Films, meetings. It’s got to be like clockwork. The trust has to be built over a long time.”
That’s the essence of Brady. Give him trustworthy workers, protect him okay, and you’ll win.
The little things. “Other than playing football, the other thing I love to do is prepare to play football,” he told me in 2017. “It doesn’t ever feel like a sacrifice to me. Football’s a job, but it’s never felt like a job to me.”
Unselfishness. Brady was never a pig at the salary-cap trough. Coming off that Atlanta Super Bowl win, in 2017, Brady’s salary was 8.3 percent of the team’s cap. The year New England went 16-0 in the regular season, Brady was 6.7 percent of the cap. Just spend to the cap every year, and I’ll be reasonable, he’d tell Pioli and his successors with the keys to the Patriots’ vault. When Brady won Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year in 2005, magazine editor Terry McDonell referenced Brady’s contractual unselfishness as part of the reason for the award.
Fitness. Brady on football fitness, and thinking for yourself, and not just buying into the you-gotta-lift-more-weights drill that lords over football training: “Strength is very important to your job. But how much strength do you need? You only need the strength to withstand the hits and throw the ball and make your movements of being a quarterback. You need conditioning because you need to be able to do that over a period of time, certainly a season. You need muscle pliability—long, soft, muscles in order to be durable. How do you work on durability? That’s what I’ve figured out. It’s hard for me to get hurt, knock on wood. Anything can happen in football. But I want to put myself in a position to be able to withstand the car crash before I get the car crash. It’s going to be really hard for me to have a muscle injury, based off the health of my muscle tissue and the way that I try to take care of it. Your muscle and your body allow you to play this great sport.’’
Continuing education. How possibly could Brady have thrown 150,000 passes in his professional life—that’s being conservative; he threw 13,971 in games, and at bare minimum, 10 times that in practices—and never suffer a significant arm injury? Pliability, for one thing, and the tutelage of throwing mentors Tom House and Adam Dedeaux, who he worked with every off-season in California, and the body work of longtime trainer Alex Guerrero. As someone close to Brady told me the other day, “He’s not retiring because he can’t throw anymore. His arm doesn’t hurt.” As Brady said to me a few years ago, “I’ve got the answers to the test now.” That’s not just the mental parts of the test. It’s everything.
Lastly, leaving the game better than he found it. After one of the most exhilarating wins of his life—New England 37, Kansas City 31, a whoever-has-the-ball-last-wins duel with Patrick Mahomes in the 2018 AFC title game—Brady left the celebration in the cramped visitors’ locker room at Arrowhead Stadium and said, “I want to see Patrick” to a team official. By my watch, he was gone for 12 minutes. I would know. I was working the locker room, but waiting for Brady, all the while with one eye on his wooden stool stamped with the Chiefs’ logo. Empty.
When Brady came back, he spent the first of our seven minutes together raving about Mahomes. The leadership, the poise, the will. At the time, Brady was 41 and Mahomes 23. “He didn’t have to do that,” Andy Reid said. “There was nobody there to see it. It was one veteran competitor lifting up one young competitor.” The message had a big impact on Mahomes. Keep doing what you’re doing, keep putting in the work, you’ll have a lot more of these chances. Brady reached out again after Mahomes sprained his ankle and hobbled through the playoff win over Jacksonville last month. Brady’s message: That’s what I’m talking about! That’s what champions do!
Mahomes, 27, enters his third Super Bowl this week against Philadelphia, buoyed by one of the great coaches in the game, Reid, who’s not going anywhere. Brady was 27 when he played in his third, with one of the best coaches ever, Bill Belichick, ensuring they’d stay near the top. I’m not saying Mahomes will do what Brady did and play in 10 of them and win seven. I sincerely doubt he will; Brady had only Peyton Manningand Ben Roethlisberger among premier AFC passers to beat every year, while Mahomes has Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson if he stays in Baltimore, and whoever else come up in the AFC. But of all the quarterbacks playing today, which one has the ethos closest to Brady? Burrow is close, but it’s Mahomes—with a mental assist from Brady.
Brady will always be there for Mahomes—that’s how much he respects him. He’ll be there for others too, now that he’s done. Brady will find something else to do now, but he’ll always have a line out to the players he respects. He’s done, but he’s not done contributing to football.
In Broncos country here: I recently mentioned that deflategate was bullshit, and nobody agreed, or even knew what I was talking about.I have plenty of friends outside of Boston who hate the Pats and every single one of them said, by the end, it was a fraud (of course, none of them started that way!)
I am sure there's people who don't realize it, but frankly I don't trust the perspective of anyone who can't recognize it. YMMV, of course...
Bill Nye is an idiot. He proved this at the beginning of the epidemic.Not that he’s an academic in any sense of the word but Bill Nye embarrassed himself pretty badly during DFG as well.
I agree with all of this but there's a hellscape world where Brady goes 0-9 in Super Bowls with the Pats, then wins an easy one with the Bucs and we all hate our lives.Not much to say that I didn't say last year, but what a career. I think the luck overall evened out so I'm not complaining, but it's wild to think that if just like, three plays had gone different he could have been 10-0 in Super Bowls. You were just never out of a game with Brady.
I'm fine! I'm awesome! I'm just saying in every single one of his SB wins with the Pats all of them were within one TD+XP.That’s really dark man. You ok?
The thing that’s great about Bill when he compliments players or other coaches is how specific he is. He rarely resorts to platitudes.Just finished listening to the podcast and it was just awesome to hear Bill's genuine enthusiasm talking about Tom. Not the tone we're used to getting from him in interviews and media appearances at all. Loved it.
Listening to Peyton now laud Brady. So cool. Which reminds me.... head to head, Brady vs. Peyton....
9-30-01 - NE 44, Ind 21
- Peyton: 20-34, 196 yds, 1 td, 3 int, 48.2 rating
- Brady: 13-23, 168 yds, 0 td, 0 int, 79.6 rating
10-21-01 - NE 38, Ind 17
- Peyton: 22-34, 335 yds, 1 td, 0 int, 106.9 rating
- Brady: 16-20, 202 yds, 3 td, 0 int, 148.3 rating
11-30-03 - NE 38, Ind 34
- Peyton: 29-48, 278 yds, 4 td, 1 int, 95.7 rating
- Brady: 26-35, 236 yds, 2 td, 2 int, 87.3 rating
1-18-04 - NE 24, Ind 14 - AFC Championship
- Peyton: 23-47, 237 yds, 1 td, 4 int, 35.5 rating
- Brady: 22-37, 237 yds, 1 td, 1 int, 76.1 rating
9-9-04 - NE 27, Ind 24
- Peyton: 16-29, 256 yds, 2 td, 1 int, 93.5 rating
- Brady: 26-38, 335 yds, 3 td, 1 int, 111.2 rating
1-16-05 - NE 20, Ind 3 - AFC Divisional Round
- Peyton: 27-42, 238 yds, 0 td, 1 int, 69.3 rating
- Brady: 18-27, 144 yds, 1 td, 0 int, 92.2 rating
11-7-05 - Ind 40, NE 21
- Peyton: 28-37, 321 yds, 3 td, 1 int, 117.1 rating
- Brady: 22-33, 265 yds, 3 td, 0 int, 121.4 rating
11-5-06 - Ind 27, NE 20
- Peyton: 20-36, 326 yds, 2 td, 1 int, 93.1 rating
- Brady: 20-35, 201 yds, 0 td, 4 int, 34.0 rating
1-21-07 - Ind 38, NE 34 - AFC Championship Game
- Peyton: 27-47, 349 yds, 1 td, 1 int, 79.1 rating
- Brady: 21-34, 232 yds, 1 td, 1 int, 79.5 rating
11-4-07 - NE 24, Ind 20
- Peyton: 16-27, 225 yds, 1 td, 1 int, 83.1 rating
- Brady: 21-32, 255 yds, 3 td, 2 int, 95.2 rating
11-15-09 - Ind 35, NE 34
- Peyton: 28-44, 327 yds, 4 td, 2 int, 97.4 rating
- Brady: 29-42, 375 yds, 3 td, 1 int, 110.7 rating
11-21-10 - NE 31, Ind 28
- Peyton: 38-52, 396 yds, 4 td, 3 int, 96.3 rating
- Brady: 19-25, 186 yds, 2 td, 0 int, 123.1 rating
10-7-12 - NE 31, Den 21
- Peyton: 31-44, 337 yds, 3 td, 0 int, 115.4 rating
- Brady: 23-31, 223 yds, 1 td, 0 int, 104.6 rating
11-24-13 - NE 34, Den 31
- Peyton: 19-36, 150 yds, 2 td, 1 int, 70.4 rating
- Brady: 34-50, 334 yds, 3 td, 0 int, 107.4 rating
1-19-14 - Den 26, NE 16 - AFC Championship Game
- Peyton: 32-43, 400 yds, 2 td, 0 int, 118.4 rating
- Brady: 24-38, 277 yds, 1 td, 0 int, 93.9 rating
11-2-14 - NE 43, Den 21
- Peyton: 34-57, 438 yds, 2 td, 2 int, 80.9 rating
- Brady: 33-53, 333 yds, 4 td, 1 int, 97.4 rating
1-23-16 - Den 20, NE 18 - AFC Championship Game
- Peyton: 17-32, 176 yds, 2 td, 0 int, 90.1 rating
- Brady: 27-56, 310 yds, 1 td, 2 int, 56.4 rating
- Peyton: 3-9, 319 points (26.6 avg)
- Brady: 9-3, 385 points (32.1 avg)
- Peyton: 3-2, 101 points (20.2 avg)
- Brady: 2-3, 112 points (22.4 avg)
So over a full 16-game season:
- Peyton: 5-11, 420 points (26.3 avg)
- Brady: 11-5, 497 points (31.1 avg)
I don't have the time or desire to check, but I'd imagine that Brady also threw to somewhere around 10-12 more different receivers than Manning did over those games. Which you could argue increases the degree of difficulty...So over that 16 game season:
- Peyton: 427-689 (62.0%), 4,982 yds, 7.2 y/a, 35 td, 22 int, 87.5 rating
- Brady: 394-609 (64.7%), 4,313 yds, 7.1 y/a, 32 td, 14 int, 93.4 rating
For sure… Peyton generally had better weapons around him, while Brady generally had better defenses. Do those things even out? I don’t know.I don't have the time or desire to check, but I'd imagine that Brady also threw to somewhere around 10-12 more different receivers than Manning did over those games. Which you could argue increases the degree of difficulty...
Edit: But counterpoint, besides Dwight Freeney for the 2000s Colts, I'd take the Patriots defense over the Colts defense for many of those matchups.
I feel like this evened out a lot after 2004. Those next few years I’m not sure the Pats defense was any better than the Colts and the offensive weapons were def. worse. I specifically remember one of the prime time games against the Colts where the announcers were like “Peyton finally won in Foxboro” without really acknowledging that the Pats had a bunch of guys in the secondary whose names I had literally never heard of before kickoff (I’m assuming that was the 11/7/05 game).For sure… Peyton generally had better weapons around him, while Brady generally had better defenses. Do those things even out? I don’t know.