BOSTON (CBS) -- You know, as annoying and silly as the ongoing "DeflateGate" saga can be, you have to at least appreciate the fact that it provides a bit of variety.
Normally at this point in the summer, any and all discussions about Tom Brady have been the same for the past five years.
Is Tom Brady In Decline?
Tom Brady Is Declining
Tom Brady's Window Is Closing
Approaching 40, Can Pats Still Rely On Brady?
Decline Decline Tom Brady Declining Brady Decline? Decline!
Seriously, it's been the same story over and over again, basically since 2009, when he was coming back from his blown-out knee. It's intensified over the past few years, hitting the apex last summer, after Pro Football Focus said he was no longer a top five NFL quarterback. Those were the days!
Of course, nobody is writing that this summer. That's in part because Brady actually had a functioning offensive line last year, and he was able to put together a very good season en route to earning Super Bowl MVP honors. Clearly, he's still pretty good at the sport of football.
It's also due to the country following every "DeflateGate" development like stupid puppies watching cars fly by on the highway. There hasn't been much time to talk about actual football when everyone's so wrapped up in footballs.
But time marches on, and for Brady, that means celebrating his 38th birthday. And it just wouldn't be a Brady birthday without the annual tradition of trying to come up with 10 gift ideas for the man who has it all. (You can check out last year's, as well as 2013's edition, and heck, even the 2012 list, if you'd like.) Without further ado.
Yes, we're in the dog days of summer. Yes, Tom has to practice under that blazing sun. Yes, the humidity is enough to make a man sick just from jogging.
But really, there's been no better time in Tom Brady's life to come into a nice set of fuzzy earmuffs than right now.
The phrase "Ignore The Noise" is nothing new around the buildings at 1 Patriot Place, but now more than ever, Brady needs to be able to tune out everything around him. When you've got people like Gregg Doyel spewing foolishness based on misinformation, it can really get quite overwhelming.
Though ... maybe not. Which brings us to number nine.
9. Two Cheerleading Bullhorns
Maybe Tom doesn't need to try to avoid the hysteria. Maybe he needs to embrace the hate.
On that note, you ought to buy Tom a pair of bullhorns -- one for each ear so that he can funnel all of the bloviators' opinions directly through his tympanic membranes and into his brain.
Brady found himself in the swirl of national "controversy" leading up to the Super Bowl, and he ended up going 13-for-15 with two touchdowns against an all-time defense in the fourth quarter to win his fourth championship. So maybe he can turn all of this mumbo-jumbo into a good thing.
8. Catcher's Gear
Everyone knows that "Tom Brady, Greatest Quarterback In History" almost never happened. Brady faced the temptation of pursuing a career in baseball after the Montreal Expos drafted a 17-year-old Brady in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB draft.
Tom ended up picking the right sport, and he probably hasn't sat behind the dish in quite some time. But if the worst happens for him and he has to serve a four-game suspension, maybe it's time for him to pick up his old hobby.
Remember, when you're suspended, you can't even enter the team facility. Can you imagine Brady being locked out of Gillette Stadium for the entire month of September through 11 days of October? The man will lose his mind.
What better way to keep him distracted than by giving him another sport to dominate? And oh, guess what? Conveniently, I know of a certain local baseball team that is wallowing in last place and has no reason to play for anything in the month of September.
Make it happen, Red Sox. There's no better way to sell tickets to a September Red Sox-Rays series than to have TB12 catching Eduardo Rodriguez and gunning down would-be base stealers left and right.
7. A Dartboard Featuring Roger Goodell's Face
This one's kind of self-explanatory here.
Actually, he could probably manufacture a few thousand of these and make a quick buck by selling them in New England.
6. A Fishing Rod
There's no getting around the fact that Brady is getting older. I mean, 38 -- that's as good as 40. And let's face it: Old folks struggle to keep up with the latest trends these days. While the kids are all focused on their hip and their hop and the newest Nintendo games, Brady's out doing boring old guy things, like buying furniture or updating his life insurance policy.
But one connection Brady needs to maintain is the one with center Bryan Stork. Last year as a rookie, Stork slid right in and assimilated quickly, helping to shore up an offensive line that was disastrous for the first month of the season.
Stork is just 24 years old, but based on his comments from after the Super Bowl, it seems like Brady can actually bridge that 13-and-a-half year gap quite easily.
Fresh off winning a Super Bowl while playing through a leg injury, Stork was asked what he planned to do in the offseason.
"I'm going to go fishing," Stork said.
So I'd say it's high time for Tom to organize a little fishing trip with his O-line, where he can try to ask them kindly to not be quite as bad this September as last September. Jordan Devey can even bring his tuba.
5. New Linens For A Spare Bedroom
I've never been to Tom Brady's house, but I bet it's pretty nice. I bet he even has some spare bedrooms. And that may get some use this year, because old pal Wes Welker may not be playing in the NFL anymore.
Welker's still without a team, and his concussion history may keep teams from seeking out his services. That's a bummer, considering Welker was such a perpetual badass throughout his career, but I suppose that's life in the NFL.
So if Welker is indeed done, he might need a place to stay for a few nights, just until he gets his feet back on the ground.
It's a regular old "You, Me And Dupree" situation. Just replace Matt Dillon with Brady, Kate Hudson with Gisele and Owen Wilson with Welker.
4. Smash Mouth Concert On Opening Night
I talked earlier about Brady possibly serving his suspension, but let's be honest here, folks. Tom isn't missing any games this year.
Whether that be from winning in court or from appealing that thing until at least February, Tom will not willingly miss football games this year.
So, given that he'll be in uniform on Sept. 10, with the fireworks shooting into the sky and the Super Bowl banner being raised in the southeast corner of Gillette Stadium, it's only right that the Patriots treat the moment with the proper amount of respect.
And that means they need to hire Smash Mouth.
Oh, sure, laugh all you want, but the statistics don't lie. NFL teams that hired Smash Mouth to play in their stadiums during games last year were undefeated. UN-DE-FEATED. You hear that?
Yup, the Texans won their home opener, thanks solely to Smash Mouth kicking out some hot jams at halftime. And provided security can confiscate any slices of bread at the gates, Mouth Nation should be able to guarantee the Patriots a victory on opening night. There's really no better gift than that.
3. An Inflatable Bubble To Protect Gronk
Tom Brady is the most important member of the Patriots offense, but Rob Gronkowski sure makes his job a whole lot easier.
Brady is without a doubt a Hall of Famer no matter who's out there catching passes, but he and the Patriots are at their very best when No. 87 is chugging through the middle of the field, deflecting multiple defenders and dragging fully grown adult males around like they are schoolchildren.
Last year, Gronkowski played in 15 games, plus three postseason games. It's safe to say they would not have won the Super Bowl -- or really even come close -- without him.
It was the most games Gronkowski has played in one season since 2011 -- another year that ended in a Super Bowl trip. One of the biggest reasons the Patriots lost that Super Bowl was that Gronkowski was severely hampered by an ankle injury.
You're seeing how this works, right? Right.
So get Tom a big old giant inflatable ball to protect his buddy Roberto.
2. "Cuss Control: The Complete Book On How To Curb Your Cursing"
Back before the world was overly concerned about the air pressure inside of Tom Brady's footballs, they were very concerned about the words coming out of his mouth.
Remember the Green Bay game last year? The Patriots allowed the Packers to gain a first down to seal a Green Bay victory, and the CBS cameras prominently showed Brady shouting a very naughty word! It was scandalous, I tell you -- scandalous!
The Boston Globe was so offended that the paper ran an editorial which chastised Brady for showing human emotion. The nerve on that guy. There were even complaints made to the FCC.
Apparently, Tom hasn't learned his lesson from that treacherous ordeal, as the AP reported from Sunday's practice that Brady was getting into a jawing match with Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler. We don't know what Tom was saying, but chances are he let a few swear words fly.
This needs to stop! Tom needs to avoid controversy going forward if he wants to boost his Q rating. This kind of stuff does not fly in Middle America, Mr. Future Politician Man.
So buy Tom this book on how to limit his swear words. Maybe someday he'll thank you by adding you to his presidential Cabinet.
1. Bob The Builder Counting Hammer
I know what you're thinking. "A child's toy? Really? The guy's almost 40. After a serious, incredibly accurate list of birthday gift ideas, you end with this one?"
Hear me out.
Yes, he is almost 40. But, he has children. So he presumably plays with them from time to time, and everyone likes Bob The Builder, right? Maybe?
Regardless, the counting hammer is the perfect gift for two reasons. One, it landed on the list of most dangerous toys back in 2002, so owning one will boost Brady's street cred. Outside linebackers and defensive ends would have to think twice before laying out Brady with a sack, because they'd have to be like, "Dang, this guy owns a dangerous toy, I better be careful here."
But secondly, you could hire some MIT engineer to rewire the toy so that it only counts from one through five. You'd have Bob The Builder saying, "One ... two ... three ... four ... five," and it'd constantly be playing in Brady's head.
Considering Brady's one and only goal this year is to capture championship No. 5, you'd be doing him a favor by providing him with a regular reminder.
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