Tom Brady seemingly owns too many accolades to count, headlined by six Super Bowl championships and three NFL MVP awards.
Given his unprecedented longevity, Brady’s résumé undergoes fairly regular modifications as he continues to pile up achievements. This trend likely will continue in the 2019 campaign, but the New England Patriots quarterback’s 20th season will begin with the revocation of a certain “honor.”
NFL.com each year updates its “Superstar Club” which, as you can imagine, attempts to put the league’s best in a league of their own. Per the rules of the club’s bouncer — longtime NFL writer Dan Hanzus — a player must be removed from the list in order to bring on another. And to make way for Deshaun Watson ahead of the 2019 season, Hanzus elected to boot Brady.
“Put down your pitchforks, Patriot Nation,”Hanzus writes. “Brady could throw 35 interceptions and get benched in Week 9 and he’ll still be the best quarterback who ever lived. But winning another Super Bowl in February didn’t change the fact that there were some signs of slippage in the soon-to-be 42-year-old’s game in 2018. He struggled with downfield accuracy and seemed skittish in the pocket at times. He missed open receivers. He looked … human. Now factor in the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots’ meh remaining pass-catchers and New England’s run-heavy offensive philosophy. Brady can still get the job done, but do we really expect him to be an elite player at his position forever? That’s not possible, right? Right?”
A case can be made that Brady has taken a step back, as he is closing in on 42 years of age after all. That said, it’s tough to justify Brady’s removal when considering other signal-callers who maintained their “membership.” Have Cam Newton, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan showcased a clear-cut, consistent higher level of play than Brady over the past few seasons? That’s a much tougher argument to make.
Rob Gronkowski’s retirement also prompted his removal from the club, which leaves the Patriots with zero members. We have a feeling Bill Belichick’s crew is content with its billing as reigning Super Bowl champions, though.