Weekly Replay 03.23

TB to TB – 

NFL Free Agency kicked off last week and the most talked about player has a new home, division and conference.  After spending his entire career in the American Football Conference North Division (AFC North), leading the offense for the New England Patriots, Tom Brady is now the signal caller for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the National Football Conference South Division (NFC South).  The man who leads the NFL in playoff wins and appearances is going to a team that has less playoff appearances (five) in the last 20 years than his six Super Bowl rings acquired during the same time.  

The key ingredient behind the success of New England over the last two decades is often debated.  Was it Coach Bill Belichick’s football acumen devising plans that couldn’t be stopped?  Was it that Tom Brady’s skill and relentless work ethic is just so far superior than his counterparts?  Could Brady win with any offense?  Would Belichick’s mastermind work with any quarterback.  This fall we will see how both of them perform in their new environments without each other.  

After being drafted with the 199th overall pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady has played with a chip on his shoulder.  All of the awards and accolades have not erased that memory.  It still motivates him.  So much that he recently launched a production company, 199 Productions, that is a reminder of his low draft selection.  I think you’ll see him attack this new challenge with the same chip.  Don’t expect to read about the plan, he believes that “well done is better than well said.” 

Now does this mean a new number for Brady?  He has worn 12 since he started playing in the NFL.  Wide receiver Chris Godwin who currently wears it for Tampa Bay and has had that number since his Penn State days says he would be willing to give it up.  

Should Brady get to keep wearing 12?

Free Agency – 

The business of the NFL is not quarantined.  Several trades happened in the first week of the League New Year.  Here are two that intrigued me.

The Bucs weren’t the only team to make moves at the QB position.  The Carolina Panthers signed a $63 million deal with Teddy Bridgewater and released their 2011 first draft pick, Cam Newtown.  Bridgewater is on his fourth team after spending time with the Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets (offseason) and New Orleans Saints.  He hasn’t been a full-time starter since 2015, but he did lead New Orleans to a 5-1 record last fall while Drew Brees was recovering from thumb surgery.  He served as a good backup, not replacement.  I don’t see him becoming the go to guy in Carolina.  If you’re going to replace Cam, you have to level up.  This isn’t even lateral.

In football, a running play isn’t just a player running with the ball.  It’s urgent, so it’s called rushing for yards.  The Houston Texans rushed to improve their running game by trading their star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and signing running back David Johnson.  Johnson not only had 3,128 rushing yards and 33 rushing touchdowns in his five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, he showed that he had no problem catching the ball, grabbing 2,219 yards from the air and getting 15 touchdowns.  The Texans attempted to make up for the loss at receiver, getting wide receiver Randall Cobb from their intrastate rival, the Dallas Cowboys.

Keep up with all the big moves NFL teams are making during free agency.

Olympics 2020 – 

Canada and Australia are not going to participate in the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo scheduled to start on July 24.  Both nations decided that if the games are not postponed due to the coronavirus world health crisis, they will not send their teams.  The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is still evaluating whether they will move forward and host the games as planned.  

While Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), is not pushing the IOC to postpone the games, a survey by USA Today of U.S. Olympic athletes showed that 70% support the postponement of the 2020 Games.

Community Home Run – 

All 30 of the teams in Major League Baseball (MLB) have committed to giving $1 million to support ballpark staff who are not getting paid due to the postponement of the 2020 season in response to the coronavirus pandemic.  MLB will not start play until at least the middle of May.  An exact date for Opening Day has not been confirmed.

It’s great to see a sports league come together and provide assistance to team members who earn hourly wages and often work several jobs to live.

Game On,

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