Running off at the typewriter …
Don’t retire, Tom Brady.
Keep playing until you can’t play anymore.
Keep playing until you’re a worn-out backup quarterback holding a clipboard for the Falcons.
Once again, after Brady’s Tampa Bay Bucs were thrashed by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs Monday night, a chorus of pundits said Brady needs to retire from the game he loves.
Why would any professional athlete ever retire if they don’t have to?
I’ve told this story before, but it bears repeating today:
When Patrick Ewing was a slow, gimpy 39-year-old backup center playing for the Orlando Magic several years ago, I asked him why he didn’t just retire after his glory days with the New York Knicks. Ewing looked at me like I was Martian and proceeded to tell me — and I’m paraphrasing — “I’m going to keep playing until nobody will pay me anymore. Why retire from a profession that pays me a few million dollars per year to play basketball, live like a king, stay in five-star hotels, travel the country on a customized team plane, hang out with my buddies and have more fun than the law should allow?”
Obviously, playing football is more dangerous than playing basketball, but NFL officials have done a pretty good job of protecting Brady over the years. Besides, he’s still one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league and is capable of helping a team contend for a championship.
And even he wasn’t, who cares?
Those who say there is a risk Brady could tarnish his legacy if he hangs on too long are just being stupid. We remember legendary athletes when they were at their best, not when they were at their worst.
We don’t remember Michael Jordan for ending his career by missing the playoffs while toiling for the sub-.500 Washington Wizards. We don’t minimize Muhammad Ali’s greatness because he was a shell of his former self and lost his last two fights to Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick. And Joe Namath will always be the flamboyant “Broadway Joe” — the Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the New York Jets — not the aging, broken-down benchwarmer for the Rams.
Tom Brady could end his career going 2-15 for the Houston Texans next season and he will still be the G.O.A.T.
He will always be the G.O.A.T.
Keep playing, Tommy Terrific.
Keep playing until they tell you that you can’t play anymore. …
Short stuff: Is there anything more Jacksonville than the quarterback of the local NFL team showing up at the local Waffle House late Saturday night to celebrate the historic 27-point comeback victory over the L.A. Chargers in the first round of the playoffs? Well, that’s exactly what Trevor Lawrence did last weekend, and he is now a cult figure in D-u-u-u-u-val as a result. Ah, for us Orlandoans, this brings back nostalgic memories of Tiger Woods celebrating his victories with the waitresses at his favorite Windermere Perkins back in the day. Who will ever forget Tiger’s favorite item on the Perkins menu — eggs and legs! … Broadcasting gold: How about a standing ovation for former Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who is now an analyst for NFL Network. With the Chargers beating the Jags 27-7 at halftime last weekend, Jones-Drew went on camera and said, “The most Chargers thing to do is allow the Jags back in the game in the second half and they win on a last-second field goal.” … Broadcasting mold: I’m not saying the legendary Al Michaels’ call of the Jags-Chargers game was uninspiring, but it seemed more like he was broadcasting a chess match than one of the epic comebacks in NFL history. I’m just glad this wasn’t the Michaels we got four decades ago when the American hockey team shocked the Soviet Union during the 1980 Olympics. If it were, Michaels would have nonchalantly yawned into the microphone, “Do you believe in upsets?” …
I think my head is going to explode the next time I hear a Gators fan portray Florida’s top quarterback recruit Jaden Rashada as “greedy and entitled” for requesting a release from UF after the Gator Collective didn’t come through on a promised $13 million NIL deal. Question: If you sign a contract to sell your house to someone for $13 million and then the buyer doesn’t deliver the cash, are you being “greedy and entitled” for backing out of the deal? I didn’t think so. … Will somebody tell the Big 12 to release its football schedule already! It’s a damn football schedule, but league officials are treating it like America’s nuclear-weapons launch codes. … True story: PETA is requesting that Georgia stop using its live mascot — an English bulldog named Uga — because the breed is deformed and breathing-impaired. In case you’re wondering, the Georgia mascot travels to games in his own custom car with an official Georgia license tag that has his name on it. He has his own hotel room — “the Uga Suite” — for all Georgia home games. And, yes, he gets a relaxing, luxurious bath with oatmeal aloe shampoo before every game. One of my sources, Dr. Doolittle, says he has spoken to the dog and Uga loves being Uga and is requesting that PETA mind its own business. …
Speaking of the Jawjuh Bulldogs, I knew it was going to happen just as soon as Georgia coach Kirby Smart won his second consecutive national title last week; I knew my Twitter feed would become littered with mocking references (and a link) to a column I penned five years ago. In this ill-fated column, I wrote that then-Florida coach Dan Mullen would dominate Smart in the coming years. Oopsy! Since then, Smart has become the king of college football and Mullen has become fired. And this is why I hate the Internet. Back in the good ol’ days, you could write something idiotic in the newspaper and it was forgotten a week later. Now, your stupidity lives on forever! Oh well, it could be worse. As I like to say, doctors bury their mistakes; sports columnists only print ours. … Mikey likes: Chiefs over Jaguars by 7, Eagles over Giants by 10, Bengals over Bills by 3 in Upset Special, Cowboys over 49ers by 5 in Upset Special II, Gator Collective over Jaden Rashada by $13 million in Monopoly money. …
Last word: From David Whitley of the Gainesville Sun: Did you see where incoming UF president Ben Sasse will have a $300,000 pool at his house, paid for by private donations? Who does he think he is, a 5-star quarterback?”
Email me at [email protected]. Hit me up on Twitter @BianchiWrites and listen to my Open Mike radio show every weekday from 6 to 9:30 a.m. on FM 96.9, AM 740 and HD 101.1-2
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