Cut the Bull: Brady Deserves His Dough
Typically Tom, right? He refuses to oblige with the obligatory swipe at the team that's teed up perfectly for him. Nothing but fairway in every direction. Because who in their right football mind would blame him?
Typically Tom, doesn't even roll his eyes. Or make that foul face.
Even though the Patriots' neglect of his contract predicament is especially foul. More foul than Artest, to keep it in the family.
This is Tom heading into the last year of his deal. Tom Brady. And the Patriots keep procrastinating? Making excuses? Buying time? What are they doing? Checking consumer reports?
Right, he'll be 33 in August. Right, he had that nasty injury. Right, there's a pending labor situation. OK, potentially catastrophic labor situation. That will present uncertain economic times for a league coming off its Gold Rush. And teams might be wise to sock away some ducats.
And he'll be 33 by the preseason.
Used that one already.
And he lost last season in the playoffs at home to the Ravens. Right, right, and that dropped his playoff record all the way to 14-4.
And Peyton Manning is in the same situation and he doesn't have an extension in tow yet. And did you know that Colts owner Jim Irsay said he fully expects to make his quarterback the highest-paid quarterback in the league sometime this summer? And what does that have to do with the price of a scally in Southie? That Manning will set the market? Why should Tom Brady wait for Peyton Manning to set the market?
Even if we let slide the fact that Brady still leads Manning in rings, firstly because this beef has nothing to do with Manning, and because Manning is par excellence, and because Manning and Brady are Bowl Brothers, the era's Batman and Superman, it's galling.
Brady as fodder for that Patriots over-thirty argument acumen, as one national pundit espoused how they really know when it's time to part with a player, even though the same pundit flogged the Eagles for parting with Donovan McNabb, even though he's squarely down on the bronze-medal perch next to those two, is completely galling.
Even if Michael Silver's piece in Yahoo! Sports that speaks of a disconnect between the Patriots and the quarterback's camp ultimately gets swept away finally by an extension, why does Tom Brady have to answer questions about it while appearing this past weekend at his favorite charity gig, Best Buddies (which benefits developmentally challenged individuals)? Beneath the iconic stamp, Brady is the same guy riding a bike with his sisters for the cause the way he did when he first came to New England.
There, typically, Brady told reporters in response to the Silver story: "I don't really want to talk about it a whole lot, because there's nothing anyone can solve, other than the team and myself. There are a lot of guys in my situation. So really, I just want to focus on what's coming up this week. And I'm just excited to be back on the field with the guys."
You might think Boston pride alone by the Patriots would have the extension already done with Brady. What good is waiting for the labor climate to play out when you look so penny-miserly, knowing that your Canton-destined quarterback will make less than Eli Manning and Jay Cutler and three-quarters of the NBA. Knowing how integral he has been to the dynasty, knowing how depressing it was to see Joe Montana in Kansas City, Steve Young or no Steve Young, knowing that quarterbacks nowadays thrive later in life, the way Kurt Warner did, knowing that Brady's been underpaid for most of his career and you looked so darn smart for it, anyway, and knowing that sometimes the right thing to do is so obvious you don't actually have to cry due diligence.
You just do.
Stream of Unconsciousness
A fond farewell to Junior. Everyone knows his greatness and everyone now speaks of his cleanliness in a swelled-up era, and almost surely that's so, but having covered baseball for the New York Post in another life, I prefer to laud his way. That smile was the real article.
And by the way, a friend of mine played with him in Seattle, a scrappy, backup catcher who fought everyday to stay in the bigs, and Griffey treated him like an All-Star. When he retired, Griffey always returned his affection and his phone calls. And when Johnny Marzano died suddenly, unexpectedly, too soon, Griffey found his way to Philadelphia for the funeral.
And he didn't act like a big-leaguer there.
Just another mourner.
Who hugged the family.
On a lighter note, I still often wear my cap backwards. That's bad, I know.
But not as bad as tucking in the jersey. Seeing a lot of that at ballgames.
Think Seinfeld even stopped doing that.
Speaking of jerseys, you have to admit. Pretty cool of Jordan to wear Jonathan Toews' sweater at Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Wonder how that must feel. Sitting in a building built by your greatness?
This Kobe-Jordan debate mercifully needs to stop. Look who Kobe dominates. Look who Jordan dominated. Mariotti nailed it.
Was leafing through a Hoop Magazine from 1987 the other day. Great ad by Converse for its then new "Weapon" sneaker. Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Kevin McHale, Bernard King and Mark Aguirre all in one picture holding up a sneaker in their respective team colors.
I hated that Celtic kelly green.
The Laker purple and gold was a bad look on the foot, too. Of course, truth be told, I was a Sixer man. I cherished my Docs. Used to use to shoe polish to keep them white.
By the way, in that same magazine, Chuck Person (known as the "Rifleman") said he was overshadowed by Charles Barkley at Auburn. "He got the attention because he was fat and could dunk," Person said. "I shot jumpers, which are a quiet two points."
Chuck Connors Person had a mad mid-range game. And could also fire it from deep.
Shame Ray Allen is the last pure shooter.
Someday the color analyst for ABC at the Finals who has never coached will be a great coach in the league. Mark Jackson has always seemed a natural to me. Former point guard, born leader, knows the game, New York cocky and prideful.
Only downside for Jackson, he may be too throwback.
My buddy Jimmy Head offers this wisdom: "NBA coaches are like substitute gym teachers. They have responsibility without authority."
One last thing on Brady. I watched the "Entourage" episode again. How can he not be in your all-time foursome?
Brees is closing in on a spot too. Always thought he received too much love because of fantasy football.
Wrong on that one. Stone cool, too.
One of my other spots -- non-sports division -- goes to Anthony Bourdain. Stone coolest. Travels better than LeBron. And "Kitchen Confidential" is still one of my all-time reads.
Can't wait for the new season.
Starts June 27. I watched last season again. Everyone thought it jumped the shark. Watch it over again with fresh eyes and it's still great. Here's hoping for more Sloan.
Speaking of HBO, the trailer for this season of "Hard Knocks" looks outrageous. Begins with the chant: J-E-T-S, JETS, JETS, JETS.
You know it's good TV.
Because of Rex.
Rex is just like daddy Buddy.
Upon arriving at Chicago once for a playoff game -- which turned out to be the Fog Bowl, Buddy Ryan ordered the team to drive around the Loop blaring its horn to let everyone know the Eagles were in town.
Just came back from Chicago. No better American city from May to August. Did one touristy thing between hockey games. Took a picture with Harry Caray's bust at the restaurant.
Out of respect.
Totally geeked, too, for Strasburg. Everyone loves a phenom.
And what about the big boy from Florida? Makes his debut Tuesday against the Phillies. Mike Stanton, is the kid Marlin. He's 20, as in too young to get served.
Except from pitchers. In 52 games at Double-A, 21 homers and 52 RBI. You kiddin'?
There's more. Forty-four walks, an on-base of .441 and a slugging of .726, second-best all-time in the minors.