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Can the Hump Day Compromise save the Tampa Bay Bucs’ Super Bowl-or-bust season?
Tom Brady now has Wednesdays off, and though these things are officially known as “maintenance days” for certain veterans, everyone assumes this isn’t just about Tom’s 45-year-old body.
It was little more than tabloid fodder at first, but you know how these things work in the media — especially the modern form. The whispered concerns about Tom Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen are now in full song, practically a Broadway spectacular.
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The bubbling moved to a soft boil when Gisele told Elle Magazine about the sacrifices she's made, setting aside her supermodel chores to be there for the kids and for Tom’s NFL career.
“I’ve done my part,” she told Elle. “I moved to Boston.”
Yikes. Good thing she didn’t marry Aaron Rodgers — cheese curds and Schlitz don’t pair well with a runway career.
Speaking of Rodgers, whose own off-field life is sometimes interesting, he’ll be reduced to a supporting-actor role Sunday when his Packers come south for the Bucs’ first home game of 2022.
Until the snap, at least, he'll be an afterthought. How long before a Fox camera takes aim at the Brady family suite so we can do a headcount?
If this past Sunday is indicative of what’s ahead this year, let’s hope these free Wednesdays are enough to calm the marital seas. It was a very frustrated — and angry — Tom Brady in New Orleans.
Another Microsoft tablet was sacrificed. F-bombs were screamed toward the Superdome’s ceiling. He came a little too close to a physical altercation with Saints’ defensive back Marshon Lattimore.
Lattimore’s face-to-face with Brady drew a shove from Bucs’ running back Leonard Fournette and then a de-cleating broadside from Bucs’ receiver Mike Evans, who suddenly morphed into Brady’s Marty McSorley (ask your nearest hockey fan).
Evans drew a one-game suspension, and along with Julio Jones (knee) and Chris Godwin (hammy) questionable for Sunday, Brady might have to get creative with the passing game.
Eventually, all of that “football stuff” will be dealt with and the game will become the main event. Not for the Elle Magazine and Page Six crowd, but for the rest of us.
It’s all a shame, in many ways. From a fan’s selfish perspective, regardless of your rooting interest, wouldn’t you love to see Brady continue testing the boundaries and see just how long he can perform at this level?
We thought 45 was crazy talk, but now he’s 45 and slinging it. What about 46? Forty-seven? We’ll probably never know, since the current climate suggests this is definitely his final season.
A lot of us would love to see just how much shelf life is in Brady’s legs and right arm. But a lot of us — call it a hunch — probably never needed to appease a supermodel wife.
Rank & File
The weekly ranking of Florida’s seven big-league football programs, based on results versus expectations, current trends, and tips from Beano Cook’s former mailman . . .
1. FSU (3-0): Boston College at home. Big-league college football players can no longer be called amateurs. Literally can’t. Also, gambling is legal everywhere this side of Mitt Romney’s den. Yet FSU doesn’t have to give an honest update on QB Jordan Travis’ ankle injury. Or was it his foot? Who knows? Won’t matter this week, probably — Seminoles 26, Eagles 13.
2. Miami (2-1): Middle Tennessee at home. Last week was a very bad week to visit College Station, Texas. You could see it coming. For completely different reasons, you can kinda see this one coming, too — ’Canes 52, Blue Raiders 9.
3. Florida (2-1): at Tennessee. UF-UT became a yearly affair in 1990, Steve Spurrier’s first year as Head Gator. Since that year, five of six Florida coaches won their first Tennessee game. The only one who didn’t — Spurrier, and in the end that turned out OK. So there’s that — Vols 30, Gators 19.
4. UCF (2-1): Georgia Tech at home. UCF occasionally plays down to an opponent’s level. There would need to be a lot of scrunching going on for this one to be close. But hey, we’ve been paying attention to these things — Knights 23, Yellow Jackets 22.
5. FAU (2-2): at Purdue. Caesars has Purdue favored by 19½. Sounds about right — Boilermakers 42½, Owls 23.
6. USF (1-2): at Louisville. The Boys in Research tell me there’s no bonus clause in Jeff Scott’s contract for moral victories. Last week’s oh-so-close in Gainesville simply joins that big crowd in the column below the L. What’s worse, Louisville might be a wee bit better than suspected — Cardinals 38, Bulls 24.
7. FIU: (1-1): at Western Kentucky. FIU’s football Twitter tells us its National Football Equipment Managers Week. Also, we’re told, FIU has the best. Might want to pack some extra pads this week — Hilltoppers 52, Panthers 16.
The ranking of Florida’s three NFL franchises, as we’ve finally retired the “Good, Bad & Ugly” label. OK, maybe we’ll just set it aside for now.
It’s almost as if the NFL schedulers saw last Sunday coming and decided, “let’s try to deflate those balloons in Week 3.”
1. Tampa Bay (2-0): Green Bay at home. You know, the Tom-and-Gisele drama is almost enough to make us forget Aaron Rodgers’ current girlfriend is named Blu of Earth, who has been described as a shaman and a medicine woman, and once denied she ever claimed to be a witch. Yep, we almost forgot — Bucs 16, Packers 14.
2. Miami (2-0): Buffalo at home. Let’s not forget, the 2021 Dolphins won eight of their last nine games, which means they’re 10-1 since last Halloween. But none of those 10 wins came against a certain twice-a-year AFC East behemoth — Bills 34, Dolphins 27.
3. Jacksonville (1-1): at L.A. Chargers. Ever get a rib cramp? You’d think you were dying. Well, Justin Herbert has to play through a fractured rib cartilage. Imagine that joy. If he can’t deal with it, Chase Daniel enters. If he goes down, guess who’s pulled from the spare-QB drawer . . . That’s right, Easton Stick. Meanwhile, Jags are 3-15 all-time in California, and all three of those wins came against the Raiders, who were kicked out of the state for that transgression — Chargers 27, Jags 20.
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Tom Brady free on Hump Days; will Billy Napier be next Steve Spurrier?