Is the game of football passing Tom Brady by?
Max Kellerman seems to think so.
The NFL on Tuesday released its Pro Bowl rosters, and for the first time since his lost 2008 season, the honor was not bestowed on Brady. Kellerman isn’t at all surprised the Patriots quarterback wasn’t able to put together a Pro Bowl-caliber campaign, and he explained why Wednesday on ESPN’s “First Take.”
“Tom Brady has been slipping in each of the last two years, and by slipping I mean the underlying statistics — yards per attempt, how he does against the blitz or pressure generally. He’s been awful. Awful, like practically dead last in the league in those kind of very important underlying stats,” Kellerman said. “So he doesn’t make the Pro Bowl, because he’s not good enough anymore to make the Pro Bowl. Now, in terms of the weapons, he hit a stride there where he didn’t even need elite weapons to put up excellent numbers, right? But he’s no longer that player. He does need them and he’s in an era importantly where that kind of quarterback — the immobile pocket passer who gives you the good feeling under pressure, who you believe can make good decisions and deliver the ball accurately — that guy’s not good enough anymore. I mean, he better have some weapons around him. …If you’re not a dual-threat quarterback nowadays, boy, you better be outstanding, which Tom Brady is not anymore, or have weapons that make you look that way, which he doesn’t.”
Sure, Brady is past his prime, and Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson now are the new group of AFC signal-callers who will be annually in the mix for Pro Bowl honors. But the fact of the matter is Brady probably doesn’t pay much mind to this specific accolade at this stage in his career. The 42-year-old likely only is concerned about being sharp enough to win a Super Bowl, and it’s yet to be proven he’s incapable of accomplishing that feat.
Brady and Co. will try to strengthen their Super Bowl aspirations Saturday when they welcome the division rival Buffalo Bills to Gillette Stadium. Brady’s Pro Bowl streak is over, but a more important one is firmly in his reach as he tries to help New England rack up an 11th consecutive AFC East crown.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images