Super Bowl a loss, not a legacy for Brady


Super Bowl a loss, not a legacy for Brady

Let us now assess Tom Bradys legacy in light of Sundays 21-17 loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.

Shut up.

In fact, lets agree that that answer also suffices for Bill Belichick, Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin too. All the way down to Chris Snee and Sterling Moore, if you must.

And heres why: Legacies are not for the active player. They are also not for the active sportswriter, even though that seems to be the new staple of the craft -- What does the thing I just saw So-and-so do affect how we think of him in 20 years?

And therein lies the one truly dissatisfying theme from the Super Bowl and yes, that includes M.I.A. trying to become some social provocateur by using an everyday gesture to shock people who can no longer be shocked by anything.


Brady has now lost two Super Bowls by a total of eight points, David Tyree and Mario Manningham. He must stink. Belichick too, for letting his defense go to seed instead of being the smartest man in the universe.

RELATED: Super Bowl ads Photo gallery Highlights

And Manning now has as many Super Bowl rings as Jim Plunkett and two years out of eight where his quarterback rating has resided over 90. And Coughlin has as many rings as Tom Flores and George Seifert, neither of whom is in the Hall of Fame but has the advantage of being fired every other week in the media.

In other words, the legacy topic is a fraud. You cannot make a legacy while someone is still crafting it. A legacy is not like a gauge that moves back and forth every time you step on the gas.

And while were at it, a legacy isnt even made by the athlete or coach in question. It is one of those eye-of-the-beholder things. Brady was going to be Joe Montana if he had won Sunday -- except to the people who prefer Joe Montana, or Johnny Unitas, or John Elway, or Otto Graham, or Sid Luckman. A players career is now simply a rolling argument, to be kicked up and down the bar floor by whomever happens to be playing at the time.

In short, when you hear the word legacy, youre on safe ground only if a player has retired and promises not to commit some heinous crime (O.J. Simpson), or decides to become an owner (Mario Lemieux), do charitable works (Quintin Dailey), become a famous broadcaster (John Madden), or die (too numerous to mention).

In fact, when you get down to it, even dying isnt that safe an option if the famous figure has done something that nobody knew about until the will was read.

So what we have here when we do the How it affects his legacy nonsense is an entirely subjective, always changing, potentially erroneous and cheap media device designed to get people arguing until the show ends, the end of the paper is reached, or closing time. It means exactly nothing.

Oh, and one other thing -- any legacy discussion is heavily weighted toward the thing someone just did, which is why Brady failed, Belichick is only a good coach, Coughlin is a genius, and Eli is the Manningest Manning of them all. Today.

If truth be told, Brady is still one of the finest quarterbacks of all time, Belichick is the dominant coach of the modern era, Coughlin is underrated but no longer underappreciated, and Manning is an impressive late bloomer. Those things wont change unless and until they do something either spectacular or horrific or just plain bizarre in the future.

And anything is possible.

So argue legacies all you want if you must, but you must know that Sundays game didnt really destroy any. It bent and misdirected a paragraph here and there, but legacies . . . no. The legacy hook is merely a way to waste everyones time with an hoary old story construct that has no lasting merit even while it is being typed, spoken or mimed.

Although if Rob Gronkowski could have reached the ball that Kenny Phillips batted away on the last play of the game . . .

Ray Ratto is a columnist for

Patriots win one for the ages, but where does it rank?

Patriots win one for the ages, but where does it rank?

The price of watching Roger Goodell being booed back to the Bronze Age is a subtle but real one, and one that people will feel very dearly soon enough.

The last great cathartic Super Bowl is now done, with the New England Patriots winning the brilliant and decisive battle to be sports’ new evil empire. In doing so, it rendered Goodell a permanent and risible punch line in National Football League history, the mall cop who wanted the death penalty for littering, and in the words of the song “got what he wanted but he lost what he had.”

True, $40 million a year can make the dissolution of your public persona a reasonably decent tradeoff, but we lost the argument about who won his windmill tilt with the Patriots. It’s done, and he is now permanently and irrevocably a figure of ridicule.

But that’s not the only debating point America lost Sunday night, and while you wouldn’t think it given how much time we are willing to shouting at each other, quality arguments are not easily replaced.

We have almost surely lost the mindless debate about the best quarterback ever, because there is nothing anyone can bring up that the words “Tom Brady” cannot rebut except calling his own plays, and since that is no longer allowed in football, it is a silly asterisk to apply.

We have almost surely lost the equally silly shouter about the best coach ever. Bill Belichick is defiantly not fun, but he has built, improved and bronzed an organizational model that is slowly swallowing the rest of the sport. That and five trophies makes him the equal if not better of the short list of Paul Brown, George Halas, Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh and Tom Landry.

Plus, Belichick locked up the most absurd response to a question in coaching history Monday when he said, “As great as today feels . . . we're five weeks behind the other teams for the 2017 season.” Even allowing for Gregg Popovich in-game interviews, the so-grim-he-could-make-a-robot-cry worship-the-process response has now become a cliché. If 2017 prep was so important, he should have skipped yesterday’s game, and he definitely should have chosen not to waste so much time on the trophy stand after the game when training camp drills needed to be scheduled.

Oh, and DeflateGate died. Dead. No zombie possibilities here.

We do have a meatheaded argument ahead of us about which championship in the last year is the best, which can be settled here.

1. Leicester City, because 5,000-1 is 5,000-1, and the whole world understands that. Plus, there was invaluable three-month buildup that engaged non-soccer fans.

2. Chicago Cubs, because 108 years is 108 years.

3. New England Patriots, because . . . well, I don’t have to explain it unless you have no useful memory span. “Down 25 In The Third Quarter” is the new “Down 3-1.”

4. Cleveland Cavaliers, because they slayed the first unbeatable Warrior team by coming from 3-1 down, and even as a silver medalist, it will always be an internet meme, which is what passes for memorable in our decrepit culture.

5. (tie) Villanova basketball and Clemson football in a tie, because they were essentially the same great game.

7. The Pittsburgh Penguins, because the Stanley Cup Final was devoid of drama or high moments, and only 14:53 of overtime. Feh.

But everything else is settled, and this Super Bowl will not be topped for a long time. Our current cycle of absurd championships is almost surely going to end soon, because “Down 3-1” has happened twice in eight months (three times, if you count Warriors over Thunder), and the bar has now been placed well beyond reasonable clearing.

Indeed, the only thing left is for a championship team to spontaneously combust on the award stand. But if they do so and ignite Roger Goodell along the way, that would be an ending America would cheerfully endorse.

But that also isn’t an argument any more, and yes, that includes Gary Bettman.

Raiders, 49ers can return to their normal madness after Fried Festivus 51

Raiders, 49ers can return to their normal madness after Fried Festivus 51

The Super Bowl is today, which means the best day of the year is fast approaching.

Namely, the day after the Super Bowl.

At that point, we as a nation can complete the inventory of gastric damage we did to ourselves on what shall be known to future generations as Fried Festivus.

At that point, the people who bombard us daily with news of the game – the least important part of the week-long trade show, as we have come to learn it – will all be on planes and too tired to re-explain what we already saw 37 times on game day.

At that point, nobody will care that Terrell Owens was apparently one of the first of the 15 Hall of Fame finalists to be rejected for induction because of crimes against the NFL state. The Hall of Fame is one of the sneaky ways in which the NFL never lets us escape its obnoxiously shouty profile, and the fact that Owens is right about the flawed process doesn’t change the fact that he’ll be just fine with the process when it allows him passage.

At that point, we’ll know whether Tom Brady is to be deemed a god, or merely maintain his demigod status. At least we’ll hear more about it, because it is easily the most tiresome debate in the football diaspora, engaged in by idiots with no better idea about how to kill time. A note: If you think Tom Brady is a greater quarterback because his team won a fifth ring, or a lesser one because he didn’t, your head is now officially empty enough to be reclassified a dance hall, and you are of no more value to normal society than a papier-mache goose.

And at that point, we can return to the two things we in these parts care to know – where the Raiders are going, and how the 49ers are going to present their new football brain trust.

We needn’t explain the Raiders again to you, first because you’ve heard it all if you’re paying any attention at all. Mark Davis has been trying to cobble deals at a frantic pace in hopes that one will stick, and his 31 fellow owners still have to decide how much longer they want to endure him, while faced with the painful fact that the East Bay is getting out of the exploitative license-to-be-stolen-from stadium business. They also get to know as they go to the meeting in Houston that will ostensibly decide Davis’ fate that they have ruined California as a market by their excessive greed-laced stupidity and deserve every lousy market the state can give them.

Which brings us to the 49ers, and the latest round of Judge Them By Their Press Conferences.

If there is anything worse than this team’s on-field profile, which is why Jed York hired Kyle Shanahan, it is the way it explains itself to the outside world, which is why Jed York hired John Lynch. Both Shanahan and Lynch will be paraded before a braying mobs, probably Tuesday, and York will be there as well for the cheesy photo array and a few unconvincing words of praise about each of them (as a note, Paraag Marathe will be present but only in hologrammatic form).

They will then promise – well, something or other – and Lynch will be hailed as the face of the glorious future because the man he replaced, Trent Baalke, had the public persona of a meth-tweaked hyena. Hard to find, and not worth it when you did.

Then we’ll all remember that the job Shanalynch (or Lynchahan, depending on what part of Ireland you’re from) are being asked to do is a three-year reclamation at the very least, and that the only useful question either can be asked is “Can you fix this before Jed gets embarrassed and angry and cans you both?”

And on Wednesday, there’s the start of pre-draft prep (in order words, The Eighty-Day Slave Market), and the hamster wheel to hell gears up again toward Super Bowl LII.

Only next year, the chances of relocation hysteria and a front office upheaval are that much less, and we haven’t sufficient distractions to make the year go faster.

But enjoy Fried Festivus. We can always look forward to that, even if we change the name back in December to the more traditional "Christmas."