5-at-10: Tom Brady, GOAT in team sports? How good is Tennessee hoops and free Super Bowl props contest

FILE - Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady holds up the Vince Lombardi trophy after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl winner with New England and Tampa Bay, announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023 exactly one year after first saying his playing days were over, by posting a brief video lasting just under one minute on social media. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)

Brady follow-up thoughts

The swooning over Tom Brady's retirement announcement should have been expected.

By everyone, including Brady. Why else do you dump something that noteworthy into the news cycle at 8:15 a.m. EDT during the middle of the week before the Super Bowl?

The hullabaloo also was warranted.

Dude has seven Super Bowls rings, five Super Bowl MVPs, 10 Super Bowl appearances, NFL records in regular-season passing yards (89,214), regular-season passing TDs (649), postseason passing yards (13,400), and postseason passing TDs (88).

Almost all of those seem unbreakable, but not as impressive as some of the other stats and figures unearthed after TB12 made it officials. (And to be fair, Spy, who is the biggest Patriots fan I know, emailed yesterday morning and wrote, "I'll believe he's officially retired when we get to the -er months and he's not on a roster.")

Try these Brady factoids on for size:

-- Brady is 22nd in career interceptions, which is kind of mind-blowing considering his volume of attempts.

-- Brady has more career passing yards than each of these organizations -- Jags, Panthers, Ravens and Texans.

-- Brady won 35 playoff games. For perspective, no other NFL player has appeared in more than 32 playoff games.

And while the decision immediately offers questions for Fox's broadcast team -- which has emerging star Greg Olsen as the No. 1 color analyst and Brady signed to a historic deal -- as well as adds Tampa Bay to the QB carousel, my question this morning is bigger and broader.

We talked about TB12 atop the QB Rushmore. Heck, there are some folks who will debate that, but they are wrong.

It's also just as hard to refute TB12 as the GOAT NFL player to ever snap a chinstrap.

But here's my question: Is Tom Brady the great teammate/player in team sports?

His numbers dominate MJ's in terms of history and place. His titles are only surpassed by the Bill Russell-era Celtics, and to be fair, there were like 10 NBA teams at the time, and the talent-loaded Celtics were rarely challenged.

Is Brady the GOAT in the history of team sports? Maybe only Ruth could craft a ré sumé with as much dominance in terms of individual and collective success, but Ruth's Yankees were a lot like Russell's Celtics, you know?


Hard night on hardwood

UT looked apathetic last night. And disinterested at times defensively.

UTC, while having struggled at various points in a win-two, lose-three, win-one, up-and-down and injury-filled season, looked overmatched against a Furman team that not many will want to see come March.

Both of those statements surprised me.

A lot of UT supporters were feeling slighted on social media because the bracketologists still had the second-ranked Vols as a 2 seed heading into last night.

Computers crunch numbers. Most of us basketball observers rely way more on what we see, and the product UT had delivered before last night was 1-line worthy.

Wednesday night in Gainesville was a win for the Gators, a win for the computer models and a win for the guys who chart their brackets and seeds with Lewis, Gilbert, Booger, Lamar and the rest of the Tri-Lambs at Adams College.

(Side questions: Stan Gabel was a dude, right? And after an underwhelming season in which they had a major campus fire, forgot to practice at least once and assuredly underachieved under the leadership of Gabel and Ogre, John Goodman's seat as the head man of the Atoms had to be blistering, right?)

I am not among the dooms-dayers who over-lament every Vols set back. It is fair to wonder about how UT rarely loses a one-possession game, and when things turn UT can go from one of the top-five teams in America to looking like one of the top-five teams in the Volunteer State rather quickly.

It also begs this question: How far can this Tennessee team go in a tournament of very good but not great teams?

It's the multi-million question for Rick Barnes, who has done great things in Knoxville for sure.

We know Tennessee is in the tournament, and they still are a contender for a 1 seed. The Vols are elite defensively, and they have impressive wins over Kansas and Texas. They have some head-scratching losses, too, at times when the shots are not falling.

I think the winner of next Wednesday's Alabama-Tennessee game has the inside track to a 1 seed barring some unusual scenarios.

The team that has played its way to the inside the bubble for me is Missouri. And in Jerry Palm's estimation, the Tigers are well inside the bubble.

In Palm's latest bracket projections, he has six SEC teams in -- Alabama a 1 in the Midwest, Tennessee a 2 in the South, Missouri a 5 in the South, Auburn a 9 in the East and Arkansas and Kentucky playing as 11 seeds in the play-in game.

This of course would light Buzz Williams $200 neck tie on fire, but the Aggies' non-conference slate was brutal.

And while I'm sure some of you think I am a homer, that's dangerously low for Auburn, which has five losses on the year. Three non-conference losses away from home to teams in Palm's field of 68 -- USC, Memphis and West Virginia -- and less than good non-conference losses at home against A&M and at Georgia.

With a daunting nine games left in the season -- Auburn plays Tennessee twice, Alabama twice, at Kentucky, at A&M and Missouri among those nine -- Auburn's tournament hopes appear more perilous than some may expect.

Super props

So who's in the a Super Duper Props Drop? And one of the dudes at the office said he would play but he doesn't know any Rihanna songs.

That's what Google's for, right? I'm also curious about who some of the "special" guests that could make an appearance at the halftime spectacle.

As for the contest, entering is easy. And free. Just email you answer to the following 10 actual NFL prop bets for the Super Bowl between Kansas City and Philadelphia. The player with the most right out of the first 9 with the 10th question serving as a tie-breaker with Price is Right rules in effect.

Winner gets lunch on me. Deal? Deal.

1. Super Bowl MVP.

2. First player to score a TD.

3. Over/under 49.5 total points.

4. Longest TD play over/under 40.5 yards.

5. Chris Stapleton's National Anthem over/under 125 seconds.

6. Coin toss heads or tails.

7. Rhianna's first song in the halftime performance.

8. Last player to score a TD.

9. Color of Gatorade used on the victorious coach.

10. Patrick Mahomes total rushing yards in the Super Bowl.

This and that

-- Egad, NBA stat minutiae is not exactly my cup of tea, but this number leapt off the screen for me last night. In a 139-96 demolishing of Brooklyn, Boston emerging superstar Jayson Tatum had a plus-46 +/-, which means during his 29 minutes of time on the floor, the Celtics outscored the Nets by 46 points. Wow.

-- Egad part II. Wednesday was traditional national signing day. Scratch that. Wednesday was the day formerly known as signing day. It went by without much of a whisper, no?

-- You know the rules. Here's Hargis on some prep football and the Brainerd DE/TE who signed with Toledo on Wednesday. Hargis tells us Donivon Thomas was the lone public school FBS signee Wednesday. OK. I also believe two things from the kids I watched play high school football last fall. Thomas is part of a growing number of future NCAA Div.-I players on that Brainerd roster, and I believed that before high four-star RB Boo Carter transferred from CCS to Brianerd. Second, after watching him play multiple times, if I had a spot in my football program I am making Signal Mountain linebacker Ripley Hutcherson say, "Thanks but no." When you see some kids and know they will work hard enough to make a difference at whatever place they land, you know. Hutcherson was that kind of kid.

-- So a melee broke out at a middle school basketball game Tuesday in Vermont. That's bad enough, of course. Well Thursday morning a 60-year-old man was pronounced dead from injuries suffered in the fight. My word.

-- Saw this Tweet from Hall of Famer Rod Carew in the last few hours: "If they can embrace gambling to the level of putting it in the stadium they can forgive Pete and recognize him for the Great he is. That's the point." The sweet-swinging Carew has a very valid point.

Today's questions

On an anything goes Thursday, fire away friends. We have a couple of questions littered above.

So, it's Groundhog's Day.

Thoughts on the Bill Murray movie, which turns 30 later this month?

This story reports that filming "Groundhog's Day" created a monster riff between comedic giants Murray and Harold Ramis, who paired together in "Stripes" and "Ghostbusters." (Ramis directed "Groundhog's Day.)

Also on this day, Farah Fawcett would have been 76 today. Shakira is 46 and Christie Brinkley is 69.

In truth, in terms of posters in my early teenage years, Fawcett and Brinkley sharing a birthday is like LeBron and Tiger sharing a birthday -- two of the all-time greats born on the same calendar day.

In honor of "Groundhog's Day" is there a Rushmore of living rodents/varmints, etc., because ol' Punxsutawney Phil is kind of the TB12 of this conversation, no?

Discuss, and remember the mailbag and the props contest.