By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- Max Kellerman is the replacement for Skip Bayless on ESPN's First Take. So you know what that means ... time for him to spit some SCALDING hot takes for your consumption! He had an absolute scorcher on Tom Brady Thursday, and needless to say, legions of Patriots fans were less-than-pleased about it.
Here's the thing: Kellerman's statement in question, "Tom Brady is going to be a bum in short order," is only a "hot take" because of his word choices. Much like a comedy writer may start with a rough draft before going back to "punch it up," Kellerman may have started off with a perfectly reasonable argument about Brady. ... Just about all pro athletes tend to decline sharply as they get to age 40 and beyond, and Brady is 39 years old, so it would not be shocking if he dropped off within the next year or so as he hits the big 4-0. He hasn't shown any real signs of that decline, but did Peyton Manning show any signs of decline when he broke the touchdown record in 2013 at age 37? Father Time is undefeated. It's not a knock against Brady, it's just the reality of professional sports.
But of course, that's not how Kellerman put it because putting it that way wouldn't draw the ire of fans across the country. He needs to fashion it into something stronger: "He's going to FALL OFF A CLIFF ... He's going to be a BUM in SHORT ORDER!" Voila, HOT TAKE!
So, as hosts on shows like First Take are wont to do when such hot fire is crop-dusted throughout the region, Kellerman took a beating on Twitter that was pretty similar to lots of the beatdowns he's witnessed as a longtime boxing analyst. It was a healthy mix of dismissing Kellerman as an apostate who should be executed for failing to kneel at the altar of Brady, calling him out for a "Captain Obvious" type of statement, and of course the classic "How do you have a job?"
On First Take it's Kellerman's job to fire off blistering takes that could piss off literally everyone, so in that case, I guess you can consider this a job well done. Here are my 20 favorite tweets ...
Also, it looks like Michael Hurley's piece on Kellerman struck a chord!
The lesson here, is that not all hot takes are necessarily wrong or stupid, but they are certainly all exaggerated for effect.
If you seriously believe that Brady won't drop off at some point as he plays into his 40's, if you think he's going to be throwing 40 touchdowns at age 50, you're ignoring history, science, and common sense. His decline is inevitable, whether it's next year or a few years from now. But if you take that reasonable opinion and use hyperbole to fashion it into a #HOTTAKE, you need to expect just as strong of a reaction. I think Kellerman knew what he was doing. Since this won't be the last time he has to spit some fire with Stephen A. Smith, he'd better get used to this.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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