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Tom Brady: “Quarterbacking has gone backwards a little bit”

In late 2021, Tom Brady said this regarding his post-football life: “I imagine not playing. And I imagine watching football on Sundays going, ‘These guys suck.’ I could do way better than that. And then still knowing in my heart that I actually could still do it.”

To this day, he knows in his heart that he could still do it. And as he prepares for his first year in broadcasting he’s sort of saying, “These guys suck.”

During a recent media tour for his latest paper chase (we weren’t invited), Brady spoke to Yahoo Sports and provided an assessment of current quarterback play in the NFL.

“I think the quarterbacking has gone backwards a little bit in the NFL,” Brady said Wednesday. “I don’t think it’s improved. I don’t think the teaching’s improved. I think maybe the physical fundamentals might be a little bit improved because there’s better information out there for quarterbacks to study on mechanics. But I don’t think quarterbacks really are really field generals right now like they used to be.

“It’s a broad statement, certainly. But I had total control. I had all the tools I needed. I was coached that way. I was developed to have the tools that I needed to go on the field so that whenever something came up, I had the right play, the right formation, the right audible, the right check at the line — to ultimately take control of the 11 guys on offense and get us into a good, positive play.”

Brady sees what many in the NFL have seen, for years. Quarterbacks have less control in college, which leads to less control at the next level.

“I think now, there’s this try-to-control element from the sideline between the coaches, where they want to have the control,” Brady said. “And they’re not teaching and developing the players the right tools so that they can go out on the field and make their own decisions that are best suited for the team. When I looked at Peyton Manning, he was a guy that I looked up to because he had ultimate control. And I think the game’s regressed in a little bit of that way, based on what’s happened in high school football, college football and then the NFL’s getting a much lesser developed quarterback at this point.”

Brady puts the onus on the whole game to improve the situation.

“It’s on everybody,” Brady said. “It’s on players, it’s on coaches, it’s on the league, it’s on the colleges. Think about it: There’s no continuity anymore. Not even in high school. Not even in college. There’s no programs that are developing [quarterbacks] in college. They’re just teams now. So you play one year here, one year here, one year here. Well, how can you be good at something in a job if you’re only working at one place for one year, then going to another place for one year, then to another place for one year?”

It will be interesting to see how much of that candor comes from Brady during his first year in the booth. There’s a fine line for Brady to tread. On one hand, people will want fair criticism. On the other hand, if he goes too far he’ll come off as Abe Simpson yelling at clouds. And if he strays into the “back in my day” rants, it just won’t work.