Max Kellerman’s famous “cliff” take hasn’t aged well.
Finally, it appears he’s beginning to accept that reality.
Kellerman declared before the 2016 NFL season that Tom Brady would fall off a proverbial “cliff” and become a “bum in short order.” The quarterback responded by leading the Patriots to three consecutive Super Bowl appearances, with New England winning twice, and now has the Buccaneers dreaming about a championship as he prepares for his first season in Tampa Bay at age 43.
On Tuesday, Kellerman was asked about his regrettable prediction during an appearance on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria.” The ESPN talking head explained he truly believed in the “cliff,” even though he shouldn’t have labeled Brady a “bum,” and acknowledged Brady has exceeded his expectations over the past four seasons.
“OK, I was wrong in two ways. One, it was the year after my prediction. And two, it’s much more of a ravine than a cliff,” Kellerman said, as transcribed by WEEI.com. “Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, those guys — ‘Oh, my God. They’re better than they’ve ever been,’ and then all of a sudden they couldn’t play anymore. I was expecting something like that, where as Brady was better than he’d ever been and then he took a steep fall, but he’s still — and even then, I said he could be average. He’s a little better than average still, but I don’t think much.”
OK, so it sounds like Kellerman still has reservations about Brady as the QB enters his 21st season in the NFL, even arguing Tuesday that Bill Belichick made a similar evaluation and therefore wanted to proceed with Jimmy Garoppolo as New England’s starting quarterback before trading him to the San Francisco 49ers in October 2017.
But, it also sounds like Kellerman is coming around — a little bit, at least — on the idea that he mostly whiffed on anticipating a precipitous fall from grace for Brady, the greatest quarterback in NFL history.