By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- If you ever listened to Tom Brady's halftime interviews with Jim Gray on Monday Night Football radio broadcasts, then you knew that the conversations were anything but spontaneous. The topics were clearly agreed upon ahead of time, giving Brady time to meticulously map out his carefully constructed answers.
The tradition has carried on to this year, where Brady and Gray hold an extended chat -- with roughly 4,000 ads sprinkled in -- in podcast form. It generates news on a near-weekly basis, and this week was no different.
Brady artfully dodged a question Aaron Rodgers, recognizing that sometimes it's safer to simply punt. But he didn't shy away from tackling a debate that literally nobody is holding at this moment in time.
Brady decided to go on a little bit of a rant against the NFL having a 17-game season this year. Here's what he said when asked if players like the extra game this year:
No, I think it's pointless. I thought it was a terrible decision. So I don't like the fact that we're playing a 17th game at all. I think 16 is plenty. And, you know, again, you're eight games into the year and you're not halfway through. So that's kind of a little frustrating aspect.
So, whatever. I mean, we'll play it. It's there. A lot of guys probably miss games over the course of the season anyway, so they probably don't play all 16, most guys. But, you know, if you're fortunate to be able to make it through a season and then you gotta play the 17th game, I think there's a lot of things that I would adjust to the offseason, the regular-season schedule. A lot of people know my feelings on some of these topics. I've been pretty vocal about NFL issues over the last couple years.
He's not wrong, per se. But is he right? His timing certainly is not.
Why he's complaining about it in November is anyone's guess. The 17-game season was approved at the end of March. It's been known for some time, and when the Bucs began their season on Sept. 9, they did so with the understanding that their title defense would begin with a 17-game regular-season slate.
The Bucs' extra game isn't a particularly hard one, as they'll have to visit the Colts in Week 12.
As Brady mentioned, he's been outspoken about "NFL issues" lately. That included his reported urging of fellow NFL players to skip voluntary team-organized workouts this past spring. Considering Brady's history of putting in work during the spring, including the previous year amid COVID concerns, that message felt a bit off as well.
In any event, it's hard to figure out what's got Brady so bothered at this moment in time. Perhaps he's just miffed after spending his bye week stewing in the shame and rage that follows a loss. (Can you believe that Tom Brady has played in the NFL since like 1977 but the Bucs' Week 8 loss to New Orleans was just his 71st career regular-season loss? What?! How? Kirk Cousins became a full-time starter in 2015 and he already has 56 losses. Aaron Rodgers became a starter in 2008, when people were already considering Brady a contender to be the GOAT. Rodgers has 64 losses. OK back to the action.)
It's also unclear what Brady is angling for. Does he want to run the NFLPA when he's done? Is he going to be the commissioner? (I sure hope not. Watching him lie in order to protect the billionaires would be a real downer. I'd rather see him hawk Skechers Shape-Ups or Copper Fit arm sleeves or something.)
Maybe he's upset that all of these records he's setting will eventually get smashed by some young whippersnapper who will get extra games each year to compile stats. (If that's the case, then Brady might actually end up playing until he's 60.)
Whatever's going on, the complaint feels like it's coming out of the blue, and it's hard to really understand what's got him so bothered.
(For what it's worth, I also think the 17th game is stupid, but I haven't said that in months, as nobody's spoken about it at all.)
Anyways. Last week was a tough one for the picks. I emerged with a .500 record but those seas were choppy. Let's do better.
(Wednesday lines; Home team in CAPS)
Baltimore (-7.5) over MIAMI
Total mismatch on paper. So the Dolphins will probably win. Because I'm 2-7 on Thursday nights and I'm losing my mind. (I would have had last week's if Mike White could have toughed out that little hand/wrist thing. Come on, Mike White! You're killing me!)
Atlanta (+8.5) over DALLAS
Can I say something? Permission to speak? OK. I'd like to say that the whole Cordarrelle Patterson thing is just delightful.
I'll admit to only watching a couple of Falcons games in their entirety. But every Sunday, whether it's the in-game cut-ins, or the halftime highlights, or the evening wrap-ups, there's Cordarrelle Patterson, doing something totally sweet in a football game. I love it.
He's got 278 rushing yards (leading the team!), 459 receiving yards (second on the team!), 332 kick return yards. What a treat. Good for him.
Tampa Bay (-9.5) over WASHINGTON
The Tampa Bay Bucs are undefeated following their bye week in the Tom Brady era. Sure that is a sample size of one year, but shut up.
Brady's going to take out all of his random 17-game rage on the Football Teamers.
Detroit (+8.5) over PITTSBURGH
This picks column, I don't know what it's for, really. But theoretically it should be to try to be perfect every week. Making perfect picks. Being a genius. Yada, yada, yada.
But I must say, in the interest of full disclosure, I simply have a problem with picking the Lions this year. I don't know what it is. They tried so damn hard and came so close to actually winning a couple of times that I started to believe in them. So I picked them +3.5 at home against the Eagles in Week 8. Let's go!
They lost 44-6.
So here I am again. Thinking they can hang with the Steelers. Which they can. But will they? Probably not.
Just consider all of that when you see this pick. Apparently I've developed a thing for Dan Campbell. Not that I think he can lead the Lions to glory. But that he can win one NFL game. It's gonna happen. I can feel it.
Buffalo (-13) over NEW YORK JETS
The Bills' loss in Jacksonville may be one of the more fascinating twists of the whole NFL season.
I think it was an anomaly though. The Bills went down to Jacksonville to play a butt Jags team and didn't take the assignment seriously. You can't do that in the NFL.
They'll probably treat the Jets differently.
NEW ENGLAND (-1.5) over Cleveland
Everyone on both teams is either injured, dealing with COVID, or wanted by the FBI. (Mac Jones, you are under arrest for grabbing Brian Burns' leg in the football game.)
Kind of tough to make a sound judgment either way, but the Patriots are playing some good football these days.
INDIANAPOLIS (-10.5) over Jacksonville
Sometimes, bad teams win a game and it gets them going. Other times, it makes them overconfident. I'll let you decide which way Urban Meyer's team goes.
TENNESSEE (-3) over New Orleans
OK. So I went overboard with the impact of losing Derrick Henry. They can still get after it on defense. They still have some top-flight receivers. Fine. They can't win the Super Bowl, but they can win some games. That's on me. My bad. Wow it's very big of me to admit my fault. Impressive, many people are saying this.
ARIZONA (-10) over Carolina
There are obviously some questions about who's healthy for the Cardinals. But if they beat the Niners shorthanded, I'd think they can beat the P.J. Walker-led Panthers. This has the potential to be very, very ugly.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (-3) over Minnesota
Minnesota is 4-4 against the spread. The Chargers are 5-3 against the spread. Both teams are undefeated at driving me bananas this year. Slight edge to Minnesota though.
GREEN BAY (-3.5) over Seattle
Aaron Rodgers will probably show up and kick some ass and then feel like he's right about everything, which is his natural state of existence.
(After Rodgers' situation forced us to watch Jordan Love in the national window last week, he owes us all.)
(Jordan Love, huh? How's Brian Gutekunst feeling about getting that guy with the 26th pick? Not good.)
DENVER (-2.5) over Philadelphia
The Eagles can't beat halfway decent teams. Admittedly, who can be sure that the Broncos are halfway decent?
Kansas City (-2.5) over LAS VEGAS
The Chiefs showed absolutely nothing last week to prove that they are not actually bad now. But between losing their head coach, then their receiver (allegedly) killing someone while driving drunk, then their other 2020 first-round pick for sending some death threats while holding a gun on social media ... they're going through some things. Playing focused and precise football amid all of that seems tough.
SAN FRANCISCO (+4) over Los Angeles Rams
I don't love this pick, especially if you're going off last week's results. But with the Niners' entire organization kind of spiraling, you have to wonder if Kyle Shanahan can't cook up something to make himself look good on national TV, if nothing else.
Shanahan's star rose, you'll recall, to the point where his moronic play-calling in Super Bowl LI wasn't enough to turn the Niners away from him. And they were rewarded with that trip to the Super Bowl in 2019 -- a game which ... the 49ers blew. Since then, they've gone 9-15. They're sitting at 3-5, and their season kind of hangs in the balance.
I don't love the team long term. But if they have any sense of survival instincts, we should be able to see them put up a fight.
Last week: 7-7
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