The Media Column: Face it, Patriots Nation. Kellerman, Rob Parker and the moronic anti-Brady trolls own us

Alex Reimer
January 24, 2019 - 11:54 am
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Max Kellerman and Rob Parker own us like Tom Brady owns Gus Bradley’s Cover 3 defense. We spend much of our time chastising them for their latest silly anti-Brady take, whether it’s Kellerman laughably proclaiming Brady’s herculean late-game performance against the Chiefs was “lucky” or Parker shouting into the abyss on something called “Fox Sports Radio” about how the Patriots are “prickly pines of deception” –– whatever that means. 

“THEY ARE LIARS, FRAUDS, HYPOCRITES!!!” you shout into your cell phones, while enabling radio hosts like yours truly dutifully fan the flames. We all denounce these moronic hot take artists and pledge to never take them seriously. 

Then I go home and write another blog post about Kellerman lambasting Brady, and it becomes one of the five most-read articles on our website for the week. Shortly thereafter, “First Take’s” producers, and probably Kellerman himself, see his latest Brady rip job once again generated outrage in Boston.

Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Hating Tom Brady has become a cottage industry in sports media circles. This isn’t unusual for famous athletes, of course, but it’s odd that Brady induces so much vitriol in people, because he tries to be as vanilla as possible. The most mercurial public statement he’s ever made was “pleading the fifth” when Jim Gray asked him last year about the state of his relationship with Bill Belichick at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills. 

OK, that part of Brady –– the debonair Tag Heuer and Aston Martin spokesman, purveyor of $200 cookbooks –– is a little obnoxious. There’s also his tacit early support of Donald Trump, and most of all, business partnership with the unctuous and FTC-investigated Alex Guerrero. 

But that’s Brady as a brand, or in other words, TB12. Tom Brady as a football player is the consummate winner who worked to transform himself from sixth-round draft pick to five-time Super Bowl champion and all-time great. He is, in essence, exactly what all of these vapid sports talking heads claim to love more than life itself. 

Yet, they try to belittle his accomplishments at every turn, because it plays so well.

One of the easiest ways to achieve fleeting quasi-fame in the overly saturated world of NFL analysis is to declare Brady’s decline has arrived. The analytical guys are usually good fits for this, because they’re natural contrarians. One of the first people to throw Brady out of the hypothetical and important “top-5 QB rankings” was Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monsen, who parlayed his late-spring article into combative and memorable interviews on WEEI

This month, Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier wrote “His Passing Numbers Don’t Lie: Tom Brady Really Is Getting Old.” He cited obscure stats like “air yards to the sticks” and “aggressiveness” to make his numbers-oriented case. We spent the next week rebutting Tanier’s cherrypicked argument on talk shows and column spaces. (Since then, Brady has completed 71-percent of his passes and thrown for 691 yards in two spectacular playoff wins over the Chargers and Chiefs.)

But at least the analytical gurus put some apparent effort behind their trolling, which can’t be said for Kellerman and Co. I mean, this stuff is so flimsy. After the Patriots’ Divisional Round victory over the Chargers, Kellerman said Brady didn’t throw the ball into any tight windows. Anybody who watched the game and saw Brady find Julian Edelman on the fingertips in the third quarter could’ve easily debunked this. 

Still, I wrote about Kellerman’s silly charge. Most people did. The term “Max Kellerman-Tom Brady” produces roughly 495,000 results on Google. It doesn’t matter that Kellerman, who said in July 2016 that Brady would be a “bum in short order,” and then proceeded to lie about it, has no credibility on the topic. Nobody at that desk has the credibility to opine on anything. Stephen A. Smith revealed this season he doesn’t watch any NFL games, considering he talked at length about two players who weren’t active, Hunter Henry and Derrick Johnson, prior to the Chargers-Chiefs clash on “Thursday Night Football.”

So keep that in mind next time Stephen A. puts on his serious voice and tells Kellerman “nobody is laughing” with him about his Brady hatred. This is all for show.

The Patriots must know that, otherwise, why make post-playoff win videos mocking Kellerman and Parker? At least Kellerman has a platform on ESPN. Parker is just a guest on various lowly rated FS1 shows and co-hosts his own nightly talk show on Fox Sports Radio with Chris Broussard. Parker calls Brady the “LOAT,” but the phrase more aptly applies to him. Thank goodness, for the sake of his career, that Brady keeps winning.

The Patriots’ responses, which were shared with all 4.38 million of their Twitter followers, validate this foolishness. Parker’s Twitter mentions might be a proverbial dumpster fire, but he’s probably checking them on some patio in Santa Monica, sipping a fine glass of Chardonnay. 

That’s the kind of winning Brady himself can appreciate.

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Deadspin’s Brady fishing expedition: Gizmodo editor Tim Marchman asked for dirt on Brady earlier this week. “If you have insights or information on how Tom Brady became one of the most impressive physical specimens in human history through not eating strawberries, you can easily and securely contact Deadspin sports reporters and Gizmodo science reporters here,” he tweeted Monday. “Dead serious, I'm interested in what editors and writers at news, sports, and science shops think of the general pass Brady has gotten on even vague, eyebrow-wriggling stories relative to say Serena. DM/email, anonymity guaranteed! Let's talk, it's not like I've cracked the case.”

The seeming implication, of course, is that Marchman suspects Brady is using some sort of PED, and wants people to confirm his suspicions. 

Marchman did not respond to an interview request, so I can’t gage whether this tweet was serious or schtick or both. But assuming there was some earnestness behind Marchman’s campaign, this is a troubling way to start an investigation. Looking into whether Brady, who remains an incredible quarterback at 41 years old, is doing anything nefarious is journalistically worthwhile. But openly campaigning for tips on Twitter invites lots of information bias, and is also the definition of looking for information in an attempt to prove a preconceived truth. It’s no different than Donald Trump ordering the Justice Department to investigate Hillary Clinton over the Clinton Foundation. Hard to imagine Marchman would take kindly to that.

Romo setting himself up for Super Bowl letdown: Romo enjoyed lavish praise in the aftermath of his dazzling AFC championship performance, where he correctly predicted nearly all of the Patriots’ crucial plays down the stretch. With that in mind, all eyes will be on Romo when he calls Super Bowl LIII. It will be important for him to stick to his form, and not try to do too much, like needlessly forecast plays for the hell of it. It will be tempting. 

Though I am a huge Romo fan, I am counting on a Super Bowl letdown. 

CBS shamefully rejects medical marijuana Super Bowl ad: There will be plenty of ads on Super Bowl Sunday that glorify beer and drinking alcohol. But medical marijuana, which actually helps people physically heal, is one step too far, CBS says.

CBS nixed Acreage Holdings, a multi-state cannabis company’s, attempt to get an ad on the air during the big game. In a statement, the network that was controlled by Les Moonves and employed Charlie Rose said the ad didn't reflect its broadcast standards.

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