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Tom Brady Says Today’s Players Are Soft, Unlike In His Day

MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 17: Global Ambassador Tom Brady and Founder and CEO of Best Buddies International, Anthony K. Shriver are seen on stage at the 25th Annual Best Buddies Miami Gala at Ice Palace Film Studios on November 17, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Best Buddies)
Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Best Buddies

I guess you'll believe Tom Brady when he says he's retired from football now, won't you? I mean, now that the game has turned into a haven for weak, ignorant, fear-gripped candy-asses, why would the last great defender of the good old days stoop to give it another go? The good old days in this case being, of course, 2022.

In a chat with his fellow days-of-yore spokesman Stephen A. Smith, Brady ripped the players, coaches, schemes, owners (of which he is one), and the general dearth of violent psychopaths, authoritarian martinets, and blithely uncaring plutocrats who made the game so much better when he played it 11 months ago.

“I think the coaching isn’t as good as it was,” Brady told Smith on slightly grainy video that caused us to wonder if this wasn't shot in 1950s low-def splendor. “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. 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.”

Now let's extrapolate here a moment. Is he longing for his old high school coach, Tom MacKenzie, who has said he thought Brady was "slow as molasses" and encased in "baby fat"? Is this a paean to the cuddly effervescence of former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr? Is he lefthandedly acknowledging that Bill Belichick wasn't such a platinum-plated bastard after all? Or is he saying that Belichick's bastardy was actually educational and even therapeutic? I think we know the answer—there will be a purposely telegenic hug between the two in our near future. Or more likely, they'll just wave at each other from across the room because a hug is namby, let alone pamby.

Brady then stumped for more injuries, or at least more players capable of inflicting them, in order to instill greater survival instincts in their targets, to yank the game back from its shamelessly less-suicidal safer-yet-still-insane path to the days when concussions were currency.

“I look at a lot of players like Ray Lewis and Rodney Harrison and Ronnie Lott and guys that impacted the game in a certain way—and every hit they would have made would have been a penalty,” Brady said with blandly delivered contempt. “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.”

Ahh yes, strength through injuries. It's a shame really that Brady was wearing an off-brand San Francisco Giants hat in the interview to hide his Dick Butkus crew cut. But again he is saluting his sworn bete noire Belichick for not coddling employees by teaching them the virtues of being OYOOT: On. Your. Own. Out. There.

But he is also savaging the new, supposedly weaker culture that makes young people less cavalier about their brainboxes, which leads us to the shoddier coaching we are all subjected to by those money-grubbing college scum who flit from program to program on the wings of novel offensive concepts installed for players who will transfer at the end of the year anyway.

“I actually think college players were better prepared when I came out than they are now,” he said. “Just because so many coaches are changing programs, and I would say there’s not even a lot of college programs anymore. There’s a lot of college teams, but not programs that are developing players. So as they get delivered to the NFL, they may be athletic, but they don’t have much of the skills developed to be a professional. When I played at Michigan, I essentially played at a college program that was very similar to a pro environment. When I see these different players come in, they’re not quite as prepared as they were, and I think the game has shown that over the last 12 to 13 years. I think things have slipped a little bit.”

"Things have slipped": the passive-aggressive ways of saying "I didn't play in the good old days, I WAS the good old days." Brady is morphing into Deacon Jones, the old Rams defensive lineman who could always be relied upon to rip players who came after him for being constructed mostly of glue and Skittles.

But he's also taking aim at newfangled coaches who are hired first and foremost to inspire donors, ticket buyers, and television executives, because college football, which has been an industry for decades, is now THE industry, and possibly the last thing keeping colleges from being converted into Amazon warehouses. He is rejecting the Deion Sanders model at the same time that Deion Sanders is rejecting the Deion Sanders model, but maybe that's because Deion described Mount Rushmore as "those four little heads in California.”

But we're glossing over the sentence that tipped and then flipped Brady hand: "Now they’re trying to be regulated all the time.”

By who? By the owners, who hate the idea of paying players who are idle healing when they could be playing and getting new injuries. And who's an owner now? Yep. You guessed it. It's that old Monopoly model T.E.P. Brady himself, a member of the victimized rich-guy class who just spawned Jim Irsay saying he was arrested for impaired driving in 2014 because "I am prejudiced against because I'm a rich, white billionaire. If I'm just the average guy down the block, they're not pulling me in, of course not."

Brady is now the smartest guy in the room with the Las Vegas Raiders, which means he could get himself onto the NFL's competition committee (for the right side deal, of course) and make the changes he wants to see in the same—longer time in colleges for players, restricted transfer and NIL rules, less safety at the pro level, and more Belichicks. Definitely more Belichicks.

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