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ESPN's 'Tom Brady and the Patriots are in Decline' Season is Officially Underway

The three things I’ve been looking forward to most this Spring: “Game of Thrones Season 8,” “Avengers: Endgame,” and the WorldWide Leader declaring the Patriots Dynasty is at its end. I’m halfway through the first. Finally got to see the second last night. (Note: Everyone’s saying they’ve been waiting 11 years for this. I’ve been waiting since I WAS 11, reading Avengers comics in the back of my mom’s Country Squire with the faux wood panels on the side. The wait was worth it.)

And thankfully, Todd McShay checked that final box for me. Now I can get ready for summer. And answer with something I’m looking forward to at the end of the year:

Make no mistake, McShay is one of the good ones. In an evil conglomerate staffed with mindless zealots spewing the company line, he’s a free thinker and an insightful analyst. Who has either finally broken bad, or Cliff Kellerman now possesses the Mind Stone and has taken over his brain. Either way, he couldn’t be more wrong.

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You want to talk about Tom Brady toward the end of last season? Great. Let’s talk about it. The postseason:

vs. Chargers: 34 for 44, 343 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 106.5 Rating
vs. Chiefs: 30 for 46, 348 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 77.1 Rating
vs. Rams: 21 for 35, 262 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 71.4 Rating

Is that great? Not by his standards. But by anyone else’s, you’ll take it. And while I won’t try to mitigate those interceptions by gauging whether they were his fault or his receivers because he owns them, his 68 % completions was the 2nd highest of his postseason career and way above his postseason average of 63.2 %. And despite the fact that the QBs he faced were four, 19, and 18 years younger than him respectively, he was the best quarterback on the field in all three games. Talk Patrick Mahomes all you want, because he was outstanding. But in front of a hostile crowd in one of the toughest road venues in the league, Brady threw for 180 in the 4th quarter and overtime, leading three touchdown drives. 180 yards. Three TDs. In just under 20 minutes of game time. If that’s “decline,” you need to show me his best.

As far as this business of N’Keal Harry can’t come in and contribute right away, nobody can say for sure. But to argue no one can produce in this system as a rookie is to sit on a throne of lies. First of all, they’ve only taken 16 wideouts before Harry, with half of those coming in Round 5 or later. Deion Branch hit the ground running. David Givens needed a year, but he was a 7th round project. Aaron Dobson had over 500 yards as a rookie, he just couldn’t improve so he only lasted three years. Malcolm Mitchell was a mid-round flyer who earned Brady’s trust and was a critical part of a championship team. The fact he was never healthy after that doesn’t help the argument that Harry will need a year to fit in one Pym Particle.

Now, with respect to Gronk, sure. He’s a loss. Assuming he doesn’t unretire as has been suggested, he’ll be missed. But for all his nutting up through injuries to make huge contributions, he was truly on the … wait for it … decline. Reduced by about 25 different medical conditions to just a high-functioning blocking tight end who flashed the occasional brilliant catch and run. And they won a ring anyway. But since they haven’t managed to win a Super Bowl without him in three years, you’ll have to forgive us if we’re not buying this Doomsday Prepper End of Days scenario yet again.

But thanks to “First Take” and to Todd McShay for finally getting this first prediction of the apocalypse out of the way early. Now the 2019 Pats season can officially begin.