Every sports media pundit wants to be the first to predict Tom Brady’s downfall. ESPN’s Max Kellerman, who hosts First Take with Stephen A. Smith, jumped the gun in 2016 and has been clinging to his take ever since.
All Brady did since 2016 was win two Super Bowls and play some of the best football of his entire career into his 40s. He’s still putting up eye-popping numbers with his new team at age 43, which finally spurred an apology from Kellerman four years after his brutal take.
Max Kellerman spewed an embarrassing take about Tom Brady in 2016
In 2016, Brady was 39 going on 40 and coming off his fourth straight 12-4 season with the New England Patriots. At that time, he already had the label of the greatest quarterback of all time locked up.
Kellerman, who gets paid for his hot takes on television, decided to declare in July of 2016 that Brady’s career was about to be over sooner than later.
“Tom Brady’s just about done,” Kellerman said at the time. “It could be his next game. It could be a year from now. But he is going to fall off a cliff. Tom Brady is going to be a bum in short order.”
In terms of NFL history, it wasn’t an unfathomable take. Barely any quarterbacks even make it to their 40s, let alone play at an elite level. But Brady isn’t the average QB.
Brady has proved Kellerman wrong
Kellerman was hoping Brady would struggle during the 2016 season so he could gloat about his prediction. That’s not exactly how it transpired.
Brady led the Patriots to an 11-1 record in his 12 starts and threw for 296.2 yards per game in the regular season. In February, Brady led New England to a miraculous comeback against the Atlanta Falcons to win his fifth career Super Bowl.
OK, fine. The next season had to be the cliff year, right? Wrong. Brady returned in 2017 to lead the NFL in passing with 4,577 yards. He was named a First-Team All-Pro after the season. All the while, Kellerman continued to double down on his take by saying the cliff was coming soon.
In 2018, Brady led the Patriots to yet another Super Bowl victory for his sixth career ring. He showed some signs of deterioration in 2019 when he missed out on the Pro Bowl for the first time since 2008. Kellerman must’ve been ecstatic to watch Brady lose to the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card Round and flee to Tampa Bay in the offseason, but the 43-year-old looks better than ever in 2020.
Kellerman finally apologized for his Brady take
Brady has been exceptional so far for the Buccaneers. He’s thrown for 1,910 yards and 18 touchdowns through seven games this season, and there’s no sign of a cliff in sight.
After four long years, Kellerman finally decided to jump off his long-standing take. The ESPN personality apologized to Brady on Monday’s episode of First Take.
“That was the cliff — right around that age, 40 years old, certainly 41, 42, it was over,” Kellerman said. “I just looked at the actuary tables, basically, right? And said 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.”
Thanks, Max. We all know.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference