What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Anybody who has ever read this blog knows I’m not a fan of the New England Patriots. I’m a Philadelphia Eagles fan. Having said that, I have no problem with the Patriots. However, it’s a different story when it comes to their fans. In fact, during their recent run of success, New England has developed a cunty-ass fan base of bandwagon jumpers who the minute you criticize their team become as fanatic as those assholes who wear their laundry on their heads, vests made of TNT, and shave with forks. I’ve said on multiple occasions that 20 years ago, most of them were New York Jets fans, and once the Brady-Belichick era is over, most of them will move on once again. If you can’t tell me anything about the Patriots before 2000 and call yourself a “life-long, die-hard fan,” just do us all a favor and die.
If you think that opening paragraph is just an attempt to troll those who call themselves Patriot fans now, in the immortal words of 1970’s dinosaur rock legends Bachmann-Turner Overdrive…You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet. If you doubt that, peep the lead from this story in the regional sports blog First Score Boston.
Would the Patriots trade Tom Brady this off-season for the right deal?
I’m not even going to count the reasons why that is completely fucking ridiculous. Instead, I’ll lay them out for you in another patented Dubsism breakdown of an article which may be the perfect representation as to why I hate the American sports media and it’s coverage of the NFL.
Forget the idea of trading Tom Brady is a completely manufactured premise. Forget that it is a more obvious attempt to piss off Patriot fans than crashing a deflated blimp into Foxboro Stadium. Forget that it is not only impractical, but ludicrous. Instead, remember this author believes you are an idiot. That’s the only explanation for his attempt to get this garbage to fly. He even hints at admitting that in his first full paragraph.
Before you start to think of this as a ridiculous concept, please take a step back and put on your objectivity hat. Let’s start with this. Tom Brady is still playing at an elite level. He’s still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and many would argue that he’s the top player at his position. He’s a quarterback that any team would want to lead their team and he certainly would not be a player the Patriots would want to move. Having said all of that, we all know that the Patriots always put the team first and if there was a deal a team would be interested in making for Brady, this might be the year the Patriots would take a look.
Let’s start with this: Getting a Patriot homer to “put on his objectivity hat” is like getting one the aforementioned ISIS assholes to wolf down a roast pork and bacon sandwich and wash it down with a six-pack of Coors Light.
More importantly, this is where we need to discuss the difference between a valid argument and a correct one. To make a dramatic over-simplification, a “valid” argument is simply one which is logical and plausible; a “correct” argument is also factual. The “Trade Brady” argument is completely logical, but is only plausible if you ignore some key facts, which is why it can never be “correct.”
To continue the simplification here, while one can find several definitions of “logic” based on context, the one that matters here is as follows: the science of the formal principles of reasoning. That’s really just a “high-brow” way of saying that stuff your 9th-grade algebra teacher used to tell you. In that world, logic is merely the use of two known facts to ascertain a conclusion about a third. In other words, if you say 1 = 2, and 2 = 3, then the logical conclusion can be drawn that 1 = 3. It’s not a factual argument, but it is logical.
That’s exactly the concept at work in this chunk of alleged journalism. Here’s how the author starts with 1 = 2.
Consider this: Brady has reached the elite company of all-time great Boston athletes. The Top Five on this list include Bill Russell, Ted Williams, Bobby Orr, and Brady. These are players who are not only in the upper echelon from a Boston sports perspective, but they are all-time great players in their respective sport. Each of these five players made significant impacts to the Boston sports scene. They also gave the fans in Boston a lot of great memories!
Having said all of that, during their respective careers, two of these players were discussed in trade talks after they had established themselves as elite players. The Indiana Pacers offered the Celtics a trade for Larry Bird which included Chuck Person and Herb Williams in 1988. The deal never happened, but it was discussed. Red Auerbach ultimately decided to keep the Celtics core in tact and go for one last title run. It didn’t pan out as the Celtics hoped as they didn’t reach the NBA Finals again in the Bird-era. In addition to Bird, Ted Williams was reportedly almost traded to the Yankees for Joe DiMaggio during his peak years.
Bird and Williams were in trade rumors and, perhaps, those trades were never that close to actually happening. However, in the 1970’s Bobby Orr was as big as any athlete in Boston’s history. Orr led the Bruins to two Stanley Cup titles and he changed the game of hockey. The Bruins let him walk to Chicago when they thought he was not worth the price. Repeat: The Boston Bruins let the most popular athlete in the history of Boston sports walk. It was the classic case of business over popularity. It happens in every sport.
To boil all that down, his argument here is Tom Brady = Bobby Orr. I won’t even bother to discredit the other comparisons since they don’t really matter here. Keep Brady = Orr in mind here as you continue to walk through this argument.
Now to Brady. He’ll be 39 years old when the NFL season starts next year. We know he’s still playing at an elite level, but realistically how much longer is this going to last? Brady says he’s going to play 10 more years. The aging process says no. Who’s going to win between Tom Brady and the aging process? If you think Brady is going to play at this level into his 40’s, the odds are against him. Take a look at Brett Favre. At age 40, he threw for 4,202 yards with 33 touchdown and 7 interceptions. The following season? 11 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. He lost it all in one year. Take a look at Peyton Manning. At the mid-season last year, he was again putting up historic numbers. How did he look at the mid-season this year? Look at the drop off from one season to the next. The same thing will likely happen to Brady. It’s just a matter of when. Will it be next year? Maybe not, but do you really think the Patriots think Brady is going to play at this level into his 40’s? No one else ever has. It’s not question about Brady’s greatness. Like Russell, Williams, Bird, and Orr it comes to an end for everyone.
OK, so Bobby Orr got old, so Tom Brady is going to get old as well. It’s a nice touch to use something so plainly obvious to get the reader not to realize what utter twaddle this is, but the author is going to “double-down” on that by appearing to discredit his own argument, because he knows Patriot fans aren’t likely to buy the “trade the future Hall-of-Famer” argument.
Are the Patriots going to call teams this off-season to actively try to trade their star quarterback? Not likely. However, there are teams out there that are a QB away from being a legitimate contender for a Super Bowl. Houston, Buffalo, and Kansas City are just a few to mention in the AFC. There are teams that are desperate for winning immediately and what better way to do it than to bring in Tom Brady for a year or two? A team that would be interested in this would have to sacrifice a lot.
By now, you clearly understand the logical part of this construct. You also understand the factual flaws inherent in this, and you know that at this point they don’t matter. However, that’s about to change.
Let’s take a look at a couple of scenarios:
If the Houston Texans offered the DeAndre Hopkins and a first round pick for Brady, would the Patriots make the trade? The Patriots would get a top-5 NFL receiver who is just 23 years old and a first rounder. The Texans would get the elite QB that they have needed to take the next step.
So, the Patriots thank Brady for the last fifteen years of making that usually-irrelevant franchise a perennial power by shipping him off to a play-off pretender with an offensive line made of floor sweepings. If they did that, it would mark the last time any big-time free-agent would sign with that team, because if the Patriots are willing to lay a screw-job that hard on the guy who made that team matter in the first place, they’ll do it to anybody.
Then, there’s the matter of DeAndre Hopkins. Trading for a wide receiver when you know you aren’t going to have a quarterback is like buying a Porsche without an engine. In other words, the guy who has to keep Hopkins as a “top five” receiver (Jimmy Garrapolo) has less NFL experience than any of the heaps the Texans have had getting the ball to him. Let that sink in for a moment.
What if the Denver Broncos offered the Patriots Demaryius Thomas and a first round pick for Brady? Would Belichick and the team take a look at that deal?
I’ve already addressed the “receiver without a quarterback” issue. All football teams have a basic constraint. In order for any receiver to have value, a team needs a quarterback who can get him the ball, and an offensive line that will keep said quarterback on his feet long enough to do so. The hardest part of that equation to find is the quarterback, so the idea of trading one for a position utterly dependent on a quarterback is ridiculous.
That begs the question: Why would anybody spend time construct such an impractical argument. Because not all Patriot fans are the douche-cunts I mentioned earlier. Smart Patriot fans know the Brady-Belichick era is a two-hour movie, and the counter on the New England Blu-Ray player says 1:45. All you have to do is look to how the Peyton Manning era ended in Indianapolis, and how it is ending in Denver to see two scenarios that terrify Patriots fans. Another would be the Favre-ian “Retiring/not retiring” game. When Brady says he wants to play ten more years, that tells Pats fans they aren’t getting the announcement of his retirement in August so they can have the “TB12 Farewell Tour.” It more than likely means one of those three end-game scenarios plays out, and none of them mean “happy ending.”
Here comes the tacit admission of that, and it comes in a way that ties this whole package together quite neatly. It also sets me up for the “kill shot” on this journalistic flotsam.
Sooner or later, the Patriots may need to make a decision to move on from Brady. It’s unlikely that it’s this off-season. However, we all know that the Patriots are all about maximizing their assets. The reality is that their best asset is getting older. They’ll need to plan for the future and the long-term future probably doesn’t include Brady. Given that point, the Patriots are an elite team in the league and it would be highly unlikely that they would ultimately entertain a deal like this next year unless the offer was through the roof. With that said, the possibility of this increases year after year.
Go back to the part where I talked about “logical” versus “plausible.” If you recall, I said this argument was only plausible if you ignored some crucial facts. Forget this author does that himself: “…the long-term future probably doesn’t include Brady…” Nobody…and I mean NOBODY in the NFL has a long-term future which involves a 39-year old quarterback. If you also recall, I was all about keeping this breakdown as simple as possible. What that means is there’s two words why trading Tom Brady is all but impossible: “Salary Cap.”
Granted, the NFL isn’t like the NBA, where there is a hard-coded rule about equity in contract values in all trades. But the NFL salary cap forces a de facto situation which has essentially the same effect. This is why trades in the NFL are rare, and trades involving big-money and/or “star” players are even more rare. The bottom line is the NFL is a league with a hard salary cap, and it’s a league with a hefty inequity in salary distribution.
On every 53-man roster in the NFL, there about 7 or 8 guys who get about 80% of the salary. Brady is obviously one of those 7 or 8 guys, which means any team trading for him needs to make room under the cap for his multi-million dollar salary. That means they either put a guy in the deal to offset that salary cap hit, they get one or more guys to restructure their deals, and/or they cut some veteran players. All of those have options have cap implications, as I laid out in my explanation of the NFL Salary Cap. That’s a lot of roster havoc for a guy at 1:45 in a two-hour movie. It’s just not going to happen. In a very unwitting manner, the author admits to that.
The Indiana Pacers offered the Boston Celtics a trade for Larry Bird when Bird was past his prime. The Celtics did not entertain the offer. They wanted Bird to retire as a Celtic and make one last playoff run. But, would Red Auerbach have moved Bird for the right deal?
In a word, no. Why? In three words: Because he couldn’t. The rule which allowed NBA teams to exceed the salary cap was called the “Larry Bird” exemption. It was designed so teams could keep their stars without worrying about salary cap issues. That means if anybody wanted Bird, the time to do it was as a “sign and trade” deal when his contract was up. It also means he had little trade value after that point. That’s about to become an important distinction.
If Tom Brady wants to play 10 more years, is Bill Belichick going to keep him around if he’s on the decline knowing that most quarterbacks lose it all very quickly? Obviously, a big factor will be Belichick’s confidence in Jimmy Garoppolo. Has there ever been a 38-year old player with more value on the trade market than Tom Brady?
That brings us to “kill-shot time,” and I’ve got an automatic weapon.
First of all, Brady has as much chance of playing ten more years in the NFL as I do of getting elected Pope. In the immortal words of Charles Barkley, “Father Time is undefeated.” NFL quarterbacks are like a container of milk. They have a specific date after which your consumption of them is all at your own risk. Love him or not, Tom Brady is already past that date.
Second, Belichick’s level of confidence in “Eastern Illinois Jimmy” is irrelevant, because once they put Brady on the hypothetical plane to wherever, Jimmy Garoppolo is the new quarterback in New England. Nobody ever signs a new quarterback off the waiver wire and makes him the starter. That’s not to say the new guy in town can’t get the top job, but NFL coaches have a hard-on for guys who “know their system.” That’s Jimmy.
Third, Tom Brady has NO trade value. NONE. That has nothing to do with his ability to still play the game. It has EVERYTHING to do with the fact he’s not a long-term option, but he’s going to cost a team long-term prices. That brings us to the proverbial “final nail in the coffin” for this argument.
Peyton Manning was traded to the Denver Broncos. Brett Favre was traded to the New York Jets. Joe Montana was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. Tom Brady will be 39 next year. The clock is ticking…
True…Favre and Montana were both traded. But Peyton Manning was not. In fact, he was released by the Colts so they weren’t obligated to pay him. In terms of efficacy, “traded” versus “released” is the classic “distinction without a difference.” Getting a “star” quarterback within a few days of his “milk expiration date” has never worked. It won’t ever work. The reason why it won’t work all goes back to my basic constraint all football teams have.
The key component to all successful football teams is the offensive line. Fantasy-minded people ignore stuff like that, which is exactly why they say the stupid shit they do when trying to talk about “real” football. You can give me all the “fantasy-minded” garbage you want, the team that controls the line of scrimmage wins the game 99.9% percent of the time. Look at the two latest New England regular season losses to the Jets and the Dolphins. The Jets and the Dolphins controlled the line of scrimmage, and they won those games.
Boil it all down to gravy, and what you get is this. The New England Patriots have existed since 1960, and for the first forty years of that time, they were nearly completely irrelevant. What the Patriots have done in the last 15 years is 100% because of Tom Brady. Last year, he took team made of lunch meat and won a Super Bowl with it. This year, he’s taken a team made of lunch meat which was run over by a truck to a first-round bye in the play-off.
Don’t try to tell me any shit about Robert Kraft. If that guy had his way, they’d be the St. Louis Patriots right now. Those of you who want to call Bill Belichick the greatest coach of all time…answer this question for me. How many other great coaches found their star quarterback completely by accident? If it weren’t for Drew Bledsoe getting hurt, Bill Belichick never discovers Tom Brady, and likely ends up just another mediocre coach who New England fired.
The minute Mo Lewis turned Drew Bledsoe’s guts into blood sausage, the legend of Tom Brady was born. That legend is the entire reason…I’ll say that again…the ENTIRE reason the Patriots have been what they have been for the last fifteen years. There’s no trading him. The Patriots owe it to Brady to let him finish his career any way he wants. If that means a Kobe Bryant-style slide into crappiness while getting a final season farewell tour, then so be it. Again, the Patriots owe it to him, and he’s earned it. To ship him out of town for a desperate attempt to keep the dream alive would prove the Patriots deserve their transient and idiotic fan base.