by Mike Moffett
Weirs Times Columnist
Americans should find time on Thanksgiving Day, 2015, to count blessings, big and small. And a big blessing for which New England Patriot fans should be grateful is a 6-foot-4, 230-pound quarterback named Tom Brady.
And in this, Brady’s 16th season as a Patriot, Tom is having his most terrific season yet. Contrast the 38-year-old Patriot quarterback’s stats with those of Denver Bronco Peyton Manning—a 2015 version of “The One Hoss Shay.” (Just Google it.)
Always a competitor, Brady seems to be enthralled by the challenge of maintaining All-Star form for years to come. His disciplined training regimen and diet are designed to extend his gridiron longevity in record ways.
So when WILL he retire? Not for a while, yet.
Might he retire next February after a Super Bowl win? There is that temptation to go out on top, like Norm Van Brocklin did after the Philadelphia Eagles won the 1960 NFL title. But look for Brady to return next year, so we can again include him among the blessings counted during Thanksgiving-2016.
It’s tough to pick the right time to quit. Running backs Jim Brown and Barry Sanders retired when they were at the tops of their games. Did they ever regret it? Brown probably did. He toyed with returning to the NFL with the Oakland Raiders when he was well past 40.
But quitting too late might be worse than quitting too early, because that extra season usually results in injury and a tarnished legacy. Think Y.A. Tittle, Johnny Unitas, O.J Simpson, Joe Namath, Dan Fouts, Troy Aikman, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, and Brett Favre.
And “One Hoss Shay” Manning.
May Brady never suffer such a fate.
Then there is Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, who may be on the precipice of oblivion. The 36-year-old Packer quarterback looked terrible during a recent home loss to DETROIT, his team’s third straight loss.
Interestingly, many Packer fans blamed Rodgers’ woes not on age, but on distractions created by his Hollywood actress/girlfriend Olivia Munn. This follows a tradition of blaming quarterback woes on lady friends. Recall the extraordinary attention paid to Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo’s then-girlfriend Jessica Simpson. Eventually their relationship couldn’t take the pressure and dissolved, much as did the relationship between Cowboy predecessor Troy Aikman and country singer Lorrie Morgan.
Certainly Brady’s wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, took some blame for previous Patriot problems, but with New England currently atop the football world, Gisele is now feeling the love from Patriot Nation.
This raises a question. When does a supermodel retire? Gisele seems to be going strong. Her discipline vis-à-vis exercise and diet may in fact complement and support Brady’s, and help account for his longevity. Give the girl some credit!
Beyond superstars and supermodels, what about supercoaches? What about New England head coach Bill Belichick? The 63-year-old Pats mentor is the third oldest in the NFL, behind N.Y. Giant Tom Coughlin and Seattle Seahawk Pete Carroll. What if Bill decides to go out on top like San Francisco’s Bill Walsh did? We can only hope that Belichick is staying fit, ala Brady and Bundchen. May he wear his hoody on the sidelines for years to come.
And when Turkey Day comes a year from now, may we continue to count our Blessings that start with B … Brady, Bundchen, and Belichik.
And Butler (Malcolm). Always and forever.
What was the last team to win a Stanley Cup that no longer plays in the NHL? (Answer follows)
Born Today …
That is to say, sports standouts born on Nov. 26 include NFL placekicking legend Jan Stenerud (1943) and NASCAR standout Dale Jarrett (1956).
“People want to go out and travel around and meet cool people. I could just go live in Vermont, but is that what I really want?” —Tom Brady
The Montreal Maroons won the Stanley Cup in 1935 but were disbanded in 1947.
Michael Moffett is a Professor of Sports Management for Plymouth State University and for NHTI-Concord. He recently co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is email@example.com.