So the Dallas Cowboys bludgeoned Tampa Bay to close the first weekend of the NFL playoffs.
Like baby seal-clubbing bad.
In fact, the greatest winner to ever take a Sunday snap was left looking pedestrian.
Yes, we discussed it some on Monday. And yes, Tom Brady is 45 years old.
And he was way, way, WAY better as an individual in his 45-year-old season than counterpart and rival Peyton Manning was in his final season with Denver.
(Side question: Which of these statistical facts is more "No way" for you in regards to Brady? That Peyton Manning -- Brady's nemesis -- retired in 2015 or Bryce Young was born during the summer when Brady was in his second training camp with the Patriots? Discuss.)
Dallas hammered Tampa Bay 31-14. And curious if anyone else had the over 45 and since the Dallas kicker missed four -- yes, four -- PATs, where would that rank on your "death-by-1,000-paper-cuts" bad beats chart?
But the narrative this morning is not that Dak looked like 2020 Dak or that the Cowboys playing with a lead are going to be hard for everyone to handle. (And when Dallas is hard to handle, Dallas fans are even harder to handle.)
Nope. Today, the question is clearly: Was that it for the GOAT? Was that Tom's last game?
I think a deep playoff run would have capped his career. Heck, I think a 42-38 loss last night in a shootout would have been it.
But I do not think that Tom Brady will let that be the last game we see him play. Sure, the next chapter could be worse. Heck, Peyton's 2015 was right there with his rookie year in Indy as the worst season of his career.
Tom will be back. I doubt it will be in Tampa, but I'd be shocked if that's a wrap on TB12.
And why should it be the end for Brady looking around the NFL and the scales of QB play around the league.
There were at least 10 teams -- and all three other rivals in the NFC South -- who would welcome Brady into the huddle.
That got me re-thinking about QB tiers, which is something I meant to get more into before today, but better late than never, right?
QB1s (this group is not only the elite of the elite, the best of the best -- hi, Maverick -- it also carries the trade conversation of "Don't even bother calling, because even if you had enough to make the GM think about trading their QB1, his connection to the franchise at this point is set in stone") -- Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Joe Burrow. And that's the list.
QB2s (this group is still relatively small, and know that everyone in this group would have the GM and the owner himself help him pack if one of the three above names were put into a deal; still these dudes are franchise QBs with at least multiple great years ahead of them) -- Justin Herbert, Aaron Rodgers and DeShaun Watson.
There is a strange unknown space for the next group that comes with their own caveats. There's Lamar Jackson, who is no worse than a QB2, but Baltimore is not willing to commit long-term for a quarter of a billion because of the injury issues. There's Brady, who is no longer a QB1, but is every bit as viable as almost everyone listed below even at 237 years of age. There's Russell Wilson, who before the Denver debacle was clearly in the QB2 group -- if not higher.
QB4s (this group is mainly dudes who look the part and GMs are willing to convince themselves they could be a QB2 or hopefully a QB1 at some point, but the decision looms if they are truly franchise-dudes when they no longer are on rookie contracts) -- Justin Fields, Tua, Jalen Hurts, Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones and maybe even Kenny Pickett, who looked OK down the stretch, and Brock Purdy, who is giving very early Brady vibes right about now. Lawrence looks the part more than the others, but that could be his glorious hair.
QB4Bs -- the old guys who are just good enough to get you into contention for a wildcard spot but are consistently only good enough to get you beat in the playoffs -- guys like Kyler Murrary, Ryan Tannehill, Jared Goff, Geno Smith, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, Daniel Jones and maybe a Matt Stafford (who at one time was a bona fide QB2 but never a QB1; same with Matt Ryan).
And this Matt Ryan is among the unmentioned dudes who fall into the "QB-no thanks ranks" because if your team has one of them -- and you know who you are -- and your team is talking about how big of an upgrade Derek Carr would be, then you know you have a QB-no thanks.
So Al Michaels got his Jockeys in a bunch about some online criticism.
Hey, lighten up, Francis. First check my email now and then. Second, you make like 12 gabillion dollars.
(Side note: The next time anyone complains about the lack of money in and around football -- and this means major college football, too -- remember that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman got paid a combined $33 million for doing 18 Monday Night Football games this season on ESPN. Yes, $33 million.)
Well, Al can be Al. He's crotchety.
But the joy from a joyless game again came from the Manning brothers. And know this: Whenever Coach Deion Sanders decides to hang up his whistle, he will fit right in doing the "famous and charismatic former superstars talking ball from their basement" approach.
Coach Prime spent a quarter with Peyton and Eli and it was awesome in its awesomeness.
Anyone else see it? Thoughts?
This and that
-- Former Ole Miss football player -- and renowned recruit of note -- Jerrell Powe was arrested outside of Jackson. No bueno.
-- You know the rules. Here's Paschall on Georgia receiver Dominick Blaylock deciding to portal.
-- If given the chance, how many out of four PATs would you convert? I say 0 from the modern NFL extra-point distance. From the old distance where the ball was snapped between the 2 and the 3, I think I would make at least 1 of 4 and tear at least one of my two hamstrings. Thoughts?
-- CJ Stroud, the QB1 at THE Ohio State, has declared for the draft. He was wavering when whispers of an eight-figure NIL deal were being floated to Stroud, who almost assuredly will be a top-five pick next spring.
True or false, it's Tuesday. Hi, Ern.
True or false, you could make 1 PAT in four tries.
True or false, that was Tom Brady's final NFL game.
True or false, Tom Brady at 46 is a better option for your favorite NFL team in 2023 than what your team currently has.
True or false, we will see a $10 million a year college quarterback in the next two seasons.
You know the drill. Answer some T or Fs; leave some T or Fs.
As for today, Jan. 17, let's review.
It was 32 years ago today that Operation Desert Storm began. Seriously. Yeah, how wisely would we say those trillions have been spent?
On this day in 1984 one of the biggest SCOTUS decisions in modern-day pop culture happened when a 5-4 ruling stated that using a VCR to record TV shows at home for later viewing was not copyright infringement.
This is one of the best birthdays for greatness ever.
Betty White would have been 101. She's great.
Muhammad Ali would have been 81. He went by "The Greatest."
Al Capone would have been 124, and you know his background.
Ben Franklin would have been 317, and yeah, he qualifies.
And that's not even mentioning Jim Carrey, Michele Obama and others.
Like James Earl Jones. What's James Earl Jones' Rushmore?