Brady pointed the finger at declining "excellence" in coaching, player development and rules around the NFL
Tom Brady isn't impressed.
The retired quarterback, 46, aired his grievances with the decline in "quality" of the NFL's on-field product during a recent appearance on The Stephen A. Smith Show.
"I think there's a lot of mediocrity in today's NFL," Brady said of the league's quality of play, adding, "I don't see the excellence that I saw in the past."
When Smith questioned the cause of dwindling excellence in the league, Brady provided multiple reasons for the change. "I think the coaching isn't as good as it was. I don't think the development of young players is as good as it was," Brady explained.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion also pointed the finger at "the rules" for having "allowed a lot of bad habits to get into the actual performance of the game," while speaking with Smith.
"I just think the product, in my opinion, is less than what it's been." Brady continued.
Concluding his critique of the current state of the NFL, Brady said he looks "at guys that impacted the game in a certain way," naming former greats Ray Lewis, Rodney Harrison and Ronnie Lott.
"Every hit they would have made would have been a penalty," Brady said, insisting that his generation of NFL play "used to work on the fundamentals" of the sport.
"You hear coaches complaining about their own player being tackled. Why don't they talk to their player about how to protect themselves? Offensive players need to protect themselves," Brady continued.
He insisted that it "isn't up to a defensive player to protect an offensive player," just as a "defensive player needs to protect himself," during the conversation.
"I didn't throw the ball to certain areas because I was afraid players were gonna get knocked out. That's the reality. I didn't throw it to the middle when I played Ray Lewis because he'd knock them out of the game, and I couldn't afford to lose a good player."
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) November 21, 2023
Since retiring from the NFL “for good” in February after 23 seasons with the league, Brady has enjoyed focusing on quality time with his children.
In 2024, Brady will make his broadcasting debut on Fox Sports.
He previously announced his broadcasting plans in May 2022, sharing at the time that he was feeling "excited" about the opportunity, and assured fans he had "a lot of unfinished business on the field with the Buccaneers."
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During an interview on FS1's "The Herd" with Colin Cowherd in February, Brady said he wanted to "really learn" and "become great at what I want to do" before jumping straight from playing into his broadcast gig.
"It's going to be a great opportunity for me to take some time and really become [great] at my Fox broadcasting job, which I'm really looking forward to, but also catching up on other parts of my life that need some time and energy," Brady shared.
Brady's deal with the network is reportedly for $375 million over 10 years, per multiple outlets.
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