I thought he was supposed to be gone.
Tom Brady retired at the end of last season, but he hasn’t disappeared. He’s been seen at stadiums this season, hobnobbing with people and showing his face for the fans. For the most part, it’s been a good time. As much as he annoyed me during his playing career, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss having him around to hate.
But on Monday, he weighed in with an opinion. And what an opinion it was. Worthy of a Hall of Famer.
“I think there’s a lot of mediocrity in today’s NFL. I don’t see the excellence that I saw in the past,” Brady said while appearing on “The Stephen A. Smith Show.”
Wow! That statement would be enough for Stephen A. Smith to find a jug of Gatorado to dump over himself. But, Tommy Boy wasn’t done.
“I think the coaching isn’t as good as it was,” Brady said. “I don’t think the development of young players is as good as it was. I don’t think the schemes are as good as they were.”
My GOD! He’s throwing everyone under the bus! And let’s face it, is he wrong?
I have to agree with him. We’ve had to sit through a lot of bad football this season. In Week 10, the Colts beat the Patriots 10-6 in a game that should only be shown to elementary school kids as a detention punishment. The week before, the Packers secured a 20-6 win over the Rams, who had Brett Rypien at quarterback, a man who looked like he had never played the sport before.
But hold on, Tom’s not done.
“The rules have allowed a lot of bad habits to get into the actual performance of the game. So I just think the product in my opinion is less than what it’s been.”
The rules? Huh. OK.
“You hear coaches complaining about their own player being tackled and not necessarily — why don’t they talk to their player about how to protect himself? … We used to work on the fundamentals of those things all the time. Now they’re trying to be regulated all the time.
“Offensive players need to protect themselves. It’s not up to a defensive player to protect an offensive player.”
Jeezaloo! That is amazing. If there’s one thing I love more than anything else, it’s someone with no self-awareness. Tom Brady did more to usher in this era of “you can’t breathe on quarterbacks” than anyone else, Peyton Manning included. And the worst part about it? It clearly has done no good because quarterbacks have been falling all season.
Kirk Cousins? Gone. Joe Burrow? Out. Deshaun Watson and Anthony Richardson won’t be seen until 2024. And don’t forget Aaron Rodgers, who didn’t even get through one drive of this season before blowing out his Achilles. And yes, I’ve heard that he might return, but I’ll believe that when I see it.
Here’s my point … actually, I don’t have a point. Tom Brady’s statements affected me so much, I’m speechless. I’ll have to take some time to regroup. In the meantime, have a great Thanksgiving!
NFL’S TOP 10
1. Eagles – I was in a group chat with a couple friends watching the Monday night game, and one of them asked, “Why does the Eagles offense look like they’re moving in slow motion?” And he was right. And yet, somehow, they beat the defending champs in Kansas City. It doesn’t erase the memory of their Super Bowl loss, but it helps for now. Especially when it comes to getting the top seed in the NFC.
2. 49ers – If Philly lost, this team would be in the top spot. They didn’t beat the Buccaneers as badly as I thought they would, but they put in a solid effort and Brock Purdy had a perfect passer rating, the first time a Niners quarterback has done that since Joe Montana AND Steve Young did it in 1989. Holy cow.
3. Ravens – I spent a lot of time crowing about how the AFC North was the toughest division in football. And it still is. But man, Baltimore’s path to a potential division title just got way easier now that the Browns and Bengals lost their starting quarterbacks for the season and the Steelers still have Kenny Pickett and just fired their offensive coordinator. If the Ravens can stay healthy (which is a big ask), they have an excellent chance at a No. 1 seed.
4. Chiefs – They lost at home, but they did have the ball with a chance to win the game late. We’ve seen them get it done countless times, but they fell short. Well, Marquez Valdes-Scantling specifically fell short when he dropped a perfectly placed pass on that final drive. Bummer.
5. Lions – They’re 8-2 and have the second-best winning percentage in the league, but I feel they would lose to every team I have ranked ahead of them. That’s why they’re in this spot. And while that might look like an insult, it really isn’t. Think about it: I’ve got the Lions as the fifth-best team in the sport! And they just won a game where Jared Goff threw three picks! Who would have thunk it?
6. Cowboys – If you were to interrogate me, I’d admit that the Cowboys are better than the Lions. So, why do I have Dallas ranked behind Detroit? Because if these two teams met in the playoffs, this is totally a game the Cowboys would lose. That’s reason enough for me.
7. Dolphins – Sure, they beat the Raiders at home, but they didn’t look as good as I hoped. Especially on defense against a young quarterback. Oh well, it’s getting to be late November, there will be some oddities mixed in there. The important thing is that they won.
8. Browns – Dorian Thompson-Robinson is the third starting quarterback Clevelend has had this season. And they just signed Joe Flacco for depth. Good lord. But if they keep playing defense like they have, that just might be good enough. The Ravens can’t afford to rest on their laurels.
9. Jaguars – See? After getting taken apart by the Niners, they rebounded and got a win at home. Granted, it was against the hapless Titans, but it was still a confidence-booster going into an important division matchup this week against the Texans.
10. Texans – Speaking of Houston, I can’t say enough good things about them. They just beat the Cardinals, but don’t look now, but that’s what good teams do. They beat inferior opponents. And they’re getting big performances from new weapons on offense every week. What a fun team to watch.
WHAT’S THE CHATTER?
Clown of the Week award: Fantasy football players are the worst. So, Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson is still recovering from a hamstring injury and wants to make sure he’s 100 percent before returning to the field. Which makes complete sense. Hamstring injuries are iffy and can be aggravated at the drop of a hat. The last thing he and the team want is for him to rush back, possibly reinjure himself and be lost for the season.
But is that good enough? Of course not, fantasy morons have been messaging him, complaining that his absence is affecting their teams. Who gives a #$$#?! I can’t believe people actually have the gall to reach out to him with that. And Jefferson, to his credit, gave those people a stiff-arm with a defiant tweet, basically saying that he’ll return when he damn well pleases. Let that be a lesson. NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR FANTASY TEAM.
Turkey Day shenanigans: I’ve laid out plans on how to best survive Thanksgiving, while also making sure you catch all of the football, several times in years past. Like I always say: Pace yourself. This is a marathon, not a sprint. And since I’ve made the decision to cut alcohol out of my life as part of my newfangled health regimen (humblebrag), I feel like I’ll be able to coast through the big day.
And what a treat we have this year. The first kickoff is Packers vs. Lions in Detroit and for once, we get to see a first-place Lions team. Watch them still lose. It’s a tradition, they can’t let us down.
Then we’ve got Commanders vs. Cowboys at 4:30 p.m. ET. Dak and the gang should get through this one without much of an effort, but it is a short week. And it’s a division game, so don’t get too confident in a Dallas cakewalk.
Then we wrap up the holiday with the 49ers facing a Seahawks team that may not have Geno Smith or Kenneth Walker III in the lineup. Shouldn’t be much of a problem there.
Jets make the right call: Zach Wilson’s time as a starting quarterback of any kind in New York is pretty much over, after head coach Robert Saleh finally pulled the trigger and benched him in favor of Tim Boyle. And the funny part is, Wilson wasn’t surprised by the decision. At least he has some self-awareness, unlike Tom Brady.
Ratings bonanza: The Eagles-Chiefs game was the most-watched Monday Night Football matchup in nearly three decades. Too bad the weather was bad and both teams looked sluggish. I called it last week. Quite often these marquee matchups turn out to be duds. And once again, Tom Brady was right.
APPOINTMENT VIEWING FOR WEEK 12
I’ve already addressed the Thanksgiving games, so let’s see what’s left.
Dolphins at Jets: The Tim Boyle Era begins! What a bummer that it will most likely start with a bad loss!
Steelers at Bengals: Again, Pittsburgh gets lucky and faces a team with a backup quarterback. I hope they lose. I’m not even hiding it anymore. I don’t care how many coordinators they fire. The Steelers are frauds.
Jaguars at Texas: Before the season started, I didn’t have this one circled as a game to look forward to. That’s the fun of the NFL. You just never know how a season will unfold. Fun!
Browns at Broncos: Don’t look now, but if Denver can grab a win here, they’ll be a game above .500 and will push Sean Payton into the conversation for coach of the year. And I’m rooting for it, because Russell Wilson has taken a lot of grief. Some of it is well-deserved, for sure. But the man has taken enough of a beating. Time for a redemption.
Rams at Cardinals: OK, maybe I’m the only one excited for this game! If L.A. wins, they’ll be just one game under. 500!!
Bills at Eagles: If Buffalo loses this game, and they most likely will, they’ll drop to 6-6 and as far as I’m concerned, they will officially stink.
Ravens at Chargers: Brandon Staley’s job is hanging by a thread. And it just might get cut if they got blown out at home.
Bears at Vikings: It’s Monday night, what else are you gonna watch?
Enjoy the games!
Currently a Mobile Editor at Yahoo, Saraf spent 5.5 years (Oct. 2010 – Feb. 2016) working for FOX Sports as an NFL Editor and Writer. Prior to that, Saraf worked for CBS Interactive for 4.5 years (May 2006 – Oct. 2010) as a Staff Editor.