Talking heads on networks like ESPN and FS1 seem to always find one athlete or coach that they can constantly criticize. For ESPN’s Max Kellerman, his guy has been Tom Brady. For years, Kellerman had said that Brady would fall off a cliff; that he wouldn’t be as effective at some point in his career. However, ever since Brady began playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season, Kellerman has since started walking back his comments. Now, with Brady clinching his 10th Super Bowl appearance, Kellerman has continued to admit that he was wrong, refusing to hide from his massive on-air mistake.
Max Kellerman has admitted to being wrong about Tom Brady
Tom Brady was 39 years old back in 2016. Because of the fact that Brady was getting up there in age, Max Kellerman thought that his talents would fall off.
“Tom Brady’s just about done,” Kellerman said on First Take in 2016. “It could be his next game he plays. It could be a year from now. But he is going to fall off a cliff.”
Brady then won the Super Bowl during the 2016 season and ultimately went to three consecutive Super Bowls from 2016 through 2018. He and the New England Patriots ended up winning two of those three titles, too.
Brady and the Patriots then only went to the wild-card round in 2019, but he then moved to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the offseason.
The Buccaneers had missed the playoffs in each of the previous 12 seasons, but Brady ultimately led them to an 11-5 record this season and a playoff berth. He also had a great year statistically, throwing for 4,633 yards, 40 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions this season.
His play throughout the year forced Kellerman to admit that he was wrong.
“That was the cliff — right around that age, 40 years old, certainly 41, 42, it was over,” Kellerman said in October 2020, as he discussed other QBs who fell off talent-wise after 40. “I just looked at the actuary tables, basically, right? And said that no one’s ever done it. If Tom Brady does it, he will be defying the odds. The fact that he has, he’s defied the odds. … I was wrong. Tom Brady never fell off a cliff.”
Tom Brady has since led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Super Bowl
The Buccaneers had their best season in years, but they still didn’t win their division title this season, which meant Tom Brady’s team had a challenging path to the Super Bowl.
If you haven’t learned this yet, though, it’s hard to keep Brady out of the Super Bowl, no matter how hard the path is. The Buccaneers ultimately defeated the Washington Football Team in the wild-card round, 31-23, before beating Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints 30-20 in the divisional round. Brady threw for 580 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions combined in those two games, too.
Then, in the NFC Championship Game, despite playing the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the Green Bay Packers, Brady and the Buccaneers ultimately won 31-26. This was even with Aaron Rodgers having an incredible game, as he threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns.
The win helped Brady reach his 10th Super Bowl. It also forced Kellerman to continue to accept his L.
Max Kellerman has continued to accept defeat
After the NFC Championship Game, Kellerman tweeted this: “Tom Brady has had a full Hall of Fame career…in the time SINCE I made the cliff prediction.”
He then continued to admit he was wrong on the Jan. 25 episode of First Take.
“This was an enormous legacy game … Brady had the most to gain in these entire playoffs,” Kellerman said. “… He was amazing; he’s been amazing. When I say he’s had a full Hall of Fame career since I made the cliff prediction, I just gotta give it up. If from the moment I made the cliff prediction, it’s been five seasons, any quarterback who ever lived had a five-year career and said, ‘OK, I’m going to hang it up,’ and did what Brady just did: four Super Bowl appearances, playing the way he’s played; only one season really where he wasn’t great, he was only OK, (they’d have a Hall of Fame career).”
Kellerman continued: “If you have the requisite arm strength, then, in fact, what it turns out is decision-making and leadership are the most important things at the quarterback position. We’ve seen it with Brady time and again. It was important for him to do it without [Bill] Belichick. I don’t care how stacked the Bucs were. He just did it. I stand down. He is the GOAT and the BOAT and everything else.”
It’s not always fun to realize that you were wrong, but Tom Brady has proven a lot of haters wrong over the years. Max Kellerman might just be the most notable one.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference