NFL's new plague: Brady Derangement Syndrome

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Bill Burt, The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.
·4 min read
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Mar. 3—It's the newest plague pervading some NFL rosters.

Brady Derangement Syndrome (BDS).

The NFL used to be a place of comfort for star quarterbacks and their hefty contracts and eye-popping statistics, as in guys spending a decade or more with the same team, piling up very good completion percentages and touchdown passes-to-interceptions ratios, eventually leading to Hall of Fame inductions.

Not anymore.

Not with the skinny, handsome, avocado-obsessed and water-drinking Tom Brady wreaking havoc ... at age 43.

Brady did the impossible earlier last month. He beat the student, a k a The Next Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, to a pulp.

Mahomes, who had shown absolutely no signs of weakness in all of his big games since becoming a starter for the Kansas City Chiefs, was a pedestrian quarterback in the Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Of course, the Bucs defense had something to do with it.

Enough is enough.

Those coming down with bad cases of BDS are Seattle's Russell Wilson, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and, to some extent, Houston's Deshaun Watson.

They all have something in common. They are all future Hall of Fame quarterbacks — with Watson having lots of work to do — that are, in the new normal, considered losers.

I get that the "loser" tag is a little strong, but they aren't winners, in the Brady sense of the word.

True, Wilson and Rodgers have each won a Super Bowl. But so what? Since the turn of the century, so have Trent Dilfer, Joe Flacco, Brad Johnson and Nick Foles. In fact, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning, considered below the talents of Wilson and Rodgers, have each won two.

Wilson, Rodgers and Watson all have something else in common, as in beyond-rich contracts. They have let the word leak out that they might want to be elsewhere going forward this fall.

Watson, who is the most vocal, is 29-27 over his career with only one playoff win. He wants out, he says, because the ownership lied to him about having input in the hiring of a new head coach and general manager.

But he just doesn't want out. He wants to be traded to an immediate contender. He wants to be in the Brady, Patrick Mahomes "discussion." The "lying" Texans owner is a perfect opportunity to get out of Dodge and play for Miami, San Francisco or Chicago, franchises considered a-quarterback-away from a title.

Guess what team was in that same position last year? Tampa Bay.

Wilson and Rodgers are suffering the worst from BDS as they realize their windows for winning championships is closing with the likes of Mahomes, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson entering the prime of their careers. Lest we forget the L.A. Rams, moving up a few pegs, by dealing for Matthew Stafford.

Wilson, who is noted for his prayers and religious tweets, reportedly stormed out of the end-of-season meetings when he was informed that the Seahawks would be focusing on defense and running the football going forward, like the Super Bowl Seahawks from 2013 and 2014.

He sent a list about where he'd like to go "if" the Seahawks wanted to trade him. Reportedly, the list consisted of the Bears, Raiders, Saints and Cowboys.

Like Wilson, Rodgers is getting antsy, too.

Brady's seven rings is officially too many to catch, but a second or even a third ring would put Rodgers in the pantheon of modern day quarterbacks with Brady, Joe Montana, John Elway and Peyton Manning.

The fact that Rodgers intimated at his end-of-the-season press conference that his future in Green Bay could be in doubt came out of left field, considering he, like Wilson, have no-trade contracts paid through 2023.

Rodgers is realizing — too late, I might add — that if things don't change for the better in Green Bay, he will be defined by those wonderful "Hail Mary" passes he's famous for completing instead of winning.

Yes, BDS is real.

Brady, at 43, changed the game in a lot of ways last month. He not only hammered in all of the nails, at least for now, with the G.O.A.T. debate, but he has made some great quarterbacks looking for the next Tampa Bay Buccaneers and demanding to be traded there.

You can email Bill Burt at bburt@eagletribune.com.