Max Kellerman just can’t shake the idea.
While he acknowledges it’s probably not going to happen, Kellerman explained Thursday on ESPN’s “First Take” why he still would like to see Tom Brady and Philip Rivers switch places this offseason. According to Kellerman, it’d be the perfect way to settle the debate over whether Brady or Bill Belichick is more responsible for the New England Patriots’ dynasty.
Both Brady and Rivers are set to become free agents after the 2019 campaign, theoretically opening the door for such a scenario. It’s hard to imagine Brady leaving New England, of course, but the 42-year-old hasn’t performed up to his usual standards this season, and it’s fair to wonder whether the Patriots and the aging quarterback could consider parting ways. Likewise, Rivers, who turns 38 on Sunday, has struggled amid the Los Angeles Chargers’ 4-8 start, creating speculation as to whether it’s time for the Bolts to find a new QB in their continued quest for Super Bowl glory.
“I would love to see finally the question answered, right? Is it Belichick or Brady? Duh, of course it’s Belichick. Brady’s the GOAT, but Belichick’s the No. 1 reason for the dynasty,” Kellerman said. “There’s a way to figure this out right now. Philip Rivers has never been able to get over the hump. He chokes and the Chargers something always goes wrong, we make fun of the fact that they’re always talented, they figure out ways to lose games. He’s a free agent. And he’s not what he once was, but he can still play quarterback.
“OK, why don’t you do this: Why doesn’t Brady sign with the Chargers — it’s never gonna happen, I get it — but Brady signs with the Chargers. Philip Rivers signs — a short-term deal obviously while the Patriots get their successor to Brady ready, since (Jimmy) Garoppolo and (Jacoby) Brissett are gone — with the Patriots. And let’s see what happens. Can Brady take the Chargers to the AFC Championship Game the way Joe Montana took the Chiefs to one once upon a time? … Or is it Belichick? Does Brady not do anything with (the Chargers), they’re just not good enough, and Philip Rivers finally wins a Super Bowl in New England with Bill Belichick? I would love to see that experiment take place.”
This isn’t the first time Kellerman has floated this idea. He also suggested a Brady-for-Rivers swap back in October before the NFL trade deadline. It seems as unlikely now as it did then, but it’s an awesome barroom debate, if nothing else.
Rivers hasn’t won a Super Bowl in 16 seasons with the Chargers (14 as the starter), while Brady is eyeing his seventh championship ring in his 20th season (18th as the starter, if you exclude the 2008 season in which he tore his ACL in Week 1). But the former hasn’t had the benefit of working alongside arguably the greatest coach in NFL history. What would happen if the two swapped jerseys before the 2020 season?
You can bet most Patriots fans don’t want to find out the answer to that question.
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