Tuesday, July 20, 2021

That Brady Boy

Besides being the winningest quarterback in NFL history, Tom Brady, ex- (probably "ex") supporter of Donald Trump, knows how to deliver a great comedic line:

However, NBC News reported in January of 2019

Ace Davis, a fifth-grader at Millcreek Elementary School in Lexington, engineered a winning science fair project by answering the question that fans of 31 NFL teams already know the answer to: "Is Tom Brady a cheater?"

Davis and his family inflated footballs at various levels of pressure per square inch (PSI) and found that they threw them with greater accuracy at lower measures....

“The Patriots were found guilty of doctoring football [sic], thus losing $1,000,000 and future draft picks. Tom Brady is indeed a cheater,” Davis scrawled at the end of his three-panel science fair project, complete with graphs and charts.

Brady, the five-time Super Bowl champion quarterback for the New England Patriots, was suspended for four games in the 2016 season after the league concluded he and team employees had arranged to use footballs at PSI levels below the NFL rules.

The accusations came after the Patriots' 45-7 victory in the AFC title game over Indianapolis in January 2015, when Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson intercepted a Brady pass and noticed the ball seemed underinflated.

That led to an NFL probe that uncovered two Patriots employees regularly discussing how Brady likes footballs to be underinflated so he can get a better grip and throw them more accurately.

Brady was nevertheless permitted to play in the Super Bowl, won by his New England Patriots. The "greatest of all time" quarterback was suspended for the first four games of the following season, three of them somehow won by the Patriots.

NBC added "the "Deflategate" scandal hasn't done much to sidetrack Brady's career."

Truer words may never have been spoken. Since then, Brady's teams, the Patriots and now the Buccaneers, have won two more Super Bowls, the latter one in part because, as we learned (then forgot) in June of 2020

Ignoring the recently issued advice of the NFL Players Association that its members discontinue private workouts because of “the increase in Covid-19 cases in certain states” — of which Florida is one — Brady and other members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were seen practicing together Tuesday morning.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a completely virtual offseason for NFL teams, which have had to conduct training sessions remotely. The Buccaneers began allowing their coaches to return to the team’s facility last week, but players are still ordered to stay away unless they are receiving medical treatment.

After ending his decorated, 20-year career with the New England Patriots in March, Brady signed as a free agent with the Bucs, replacing the turnover-prone Jameis Winston. As soon as Florida began lifting stay-at-home orders in May, he started organizing informal practices, at least some of which have been held at Tampa-area high school fields.

That was the case Tuesday, as the soon-to-be-43-year-old quarterback and other Tampa Bay players were spotted at Berkeley Preparatory School, which is about a 20-minute drive away from where Brady is renting a home from Derek Jeter.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Brady’s favorite pass-catcher while with the Patriots, new Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowksi, was also on hand, as was Pro Bowl wide receiver Chris Godwin and several other players who have been regulars at the practices. In fact, the newspaper reported, attendance Tuesday appeared to be swelled by the participation of some Tampa Bay defensive backs.

When asked for comment, an NFL spokesman pointed The Washington Post to a statement the league made in May: “Everyone associated with the NFL should follow the recommendations and guidelines of state and local authorities and medical experts, including the NFLPA.”

On Saturday, the NFLPA posted a message from its medical director, Thom Mayer, who said, “Please be advised that it is our consensus medical opinion that in light of the increase in COVID-19 cases in certain states that no players should be engaged in practicing together in private workouts. Our goal is to have all players and your families as healthy as possible in the coming months.

“We are working on the best mitigation procedures at team facilities for both training camps and the upcoming season, and believe that this is in the best interest of all players that we advise against any voluntary joint practices before training camp commences.”

This is the National Football League, consciously moving ever closer to full parity among all teams, in which any little advantage is likely to be decisive. Never stupid, Brady took advantage of the novel coronavirus in the most effective way possible and reaped the rewards.

The late, great Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher is credited with popularizing the expression "nice guys finish last." If that's valid, probably the ones without integrity finish first, and Tom Brady, winner of seven Super Bowls, demonstrates the wisdom of the phrase better than anyone.

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