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NFL

Was Tom Brady Crud Today?

Illustration by Chris Thompson

Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an upset win in the NFC Championship Game, which means that he will break his own record for oldest QB to play in a Super Bowl and we will head down to the boiler room and check the Crud Meter.

The Bucs won this game thanks to a dominant first half, a half where Brady threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns. I checked the Crud Meter after Brady’s half-ending bomb made it a two-score game and the needle hadn’t budged off the baseline. So why is his final reading nearly into full-blown “CRUD” territory?

Because Brady spent the entire second half completing passes to the team wearing green! His Bucs are lucky not to have blown an 18-point lead, and they would be going to Tampa to start the offseason rather than going to Tampa to host a Super Bowl were it not for the Packers offensive line developing a sudden and bone-deep disinterest in pass blocking. Brady threw three picks in the span of seven throws, each more improbable than the last. His egg-laying spree started with this airmailed deep ball.

A long kick return gifted Brady good field position, field position he took advantage of to drive his team all the way to the edge of the red zone. The following pick seems initially to be all on Mike Evans—who only caught three of his eight targets today—but a closer watch reveals that Brady overthrew him. The QB was even hopping up and down in disbelief before the pick.

Finally, the masterpiece. Brady leaned back to get a throw off in the face of pressure, and his attempt flopped way short for an easy pick.

The Bucs still won, though they needed some help from Matt LaFleur (kicked a field goal down eight), the referees (gave Tampa Bay a backbreaking first down on a phantom pass interference), and Billy Turner (roasted as hell) to hold on. They would have won by at least two scores if Brady was at least competent, which he was not. The Crud Meter reflects this.