July 28, 2016. A date which will live in basic cable Sports Shouting talk show infamy. This day:
That midsummer morning's dream in which Max Kellerman pulled the hottest Molten Lava Take in ESPN history out of the oven. When he declared emphatically that Tom Brady would "be a bum in short order" while pulling his thumb out of his ass to hold it an inch away from his booger-picking finger to give us a visual on what kind of time frame was talking about.
Why? What was his logic? Father Time's unbeaten streak. Age was about to catch up to a 39-year-old Tom Brady the way it had [Insert Other QB's Name Here]. That within months it would be an aging Brady sitting in a chair in the cold with hilariously huge mittens being photoshopped into everyone's profile picture. That the game of football would do what it did with all those lesser mortals: Push him off a "Midsommar"-like cliff to appease the gods so that future quarterbacks may enjoy a bountiful harvest and bear healthy children.
Since then, Cliff Kellerman has stubbornly refused to back off. Even as Brady's wins and successes have piled up. Even as he's continued to walk right off that metaphorical cliff and keep walking into thin air like Road Runner, Kellerman has refused to relent. The world hasn't ended as he predicted, so he just says he read the calendar wrong and adjusts the date. But the end is nigh, he will assure you.
That is, until now. All it took was four years and 180 days. And for Brady since that first prediction to:
- Go to his fourth Super Bowl in five seasons with his second team
- Win his fifth and sixth ring
- Go 11-2 in the postseason
- Pull off a 25-point comeback in a Super Bowl
- Set a record with 466 yards in a Super Bowl, then break it with 505 yards
- Beat current MVPs Matt Ryan, Patrick Mahomes and (presumably) Aaron Rodgers
- Get named to three Pro Bowls
- Win a league MVP
But finally, miraculously, that was enough. Finally, Kellerman has conceded:
You know, it takes a big man to admit when he's wrong. But it takes an even bigger man to point out that his wrongness has gone on for four years and 180 days and was kept up through a run of success that is practically unprecedented in the history of the sport. And to remind him constantly of how pigheadedly stupid he's been from the very moment he first started this idiotic cliff narrative until now. Not to mention how big a man one has to be to have been right about Tom Brady this entire time. And I am proud to be that bigger man.
Welcome back to the side of the angels, Kellerman. But don't think for one second you won't always be Cliff to us.