One of the unfortunate consequences of the current COVID-19 pandemic / health crisis is that sport fans (and NFL fans in particular) have began finding different ways to entertain themselves; mostly out of sheer boredom until the players can finally return to action and games can be played once again. With a lack of recent NFL news because of teams not being allowed to practice or conduct off-season work-outs due to safety concerns, one of those entertainment methods involves a Facebook site that makes up memes.
One popular meme allegedly contained a direct quote that was attributed to new Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady — a comment that was directed in a rather disrespectful manner towards Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints — but as Who Dat fans across Social Media reacted angrily over it, a brief check of the facts revealed that Brady actually DIDN’T make such a comment at all.
Brady never made any such comment but if he had, it would have made headlines EVERYWHERE in the sports world; and very likely millions of articles would have been written by sports writers nation-wide about it. As it turns out however, it was traced back to a Facebook Group page called “NFL Memes”.
Whoever made the meme likely did it as a joke, and the actual quote that was attributed to Brady obviously was done in a “tongue-in-cheek” manner; which in itself sounds a lot like something that the 6-time Super Bowl champion and 43-year old Brady actually would say but only in a joking way.
Sadly, a large portion of Saints fans are somewhat gullible at times and don’t often take the time or effort to do any research that’s often necessary on such matters. and are susceptible to false information such as the meme pictured above that had them ready to figuratively “blow up” the Internet.
“I chose Tampa Bay, because I want to beat Drew (Brees) twice a year. He can take my records, but I’m going to take his division”, the alleged quote by Brady stated.
Nevertheless, it was a quote that’s never really existed — because he didn’t say it and if he had, it would have been foolish on his part because it would give the Saints “bulletin-board material” for the upcoming season ahead.
But here’s a question for Saints fans, which is: what if Brady DID say such a thing?
— JC Cornell (@CornellNFL) May 19, 2020
Would it honestly be worth it for Who Dats to proverbially ‘lose their minds’ and seemingly overreact to it, across the wide variety of Saints-themed Facebook Group pages as they notably did yesterday?
That likely depends on your own point of view.
But this much is certain: it almost seemed as if the meme was INTENTIONALLY made by someone to “get a rise” out of Saints fans, who have developed a not-so-favorable reputation throughout Social Media among fan-bases from other NFL teams — mainly because of their undying loyalty for Brees and the Saints franchise — in spite of the team’s disappointing finishes in the Playoffs for the past 3 straight years.
To the point of the alleged quote in the meme itself, Brees very notably has surpassed Brady on the NFL all-time list in stats such as passing yardage and touchdown passes, but disappointingly only has one Super Bowl victory with New Orleans (the 2009 Season) to show for his otherwise impressive achievements.
However, another fact is that the Black and Gold have won the last 3 consecutive NFC South Division Championships (2017, 2018, and then once again last year); but now that Brady will be the brand new starter for the Bucs, the expectations are that he and Tampa Bay will be the top challengers (and the biggest obstacle) for New Orleans, if the Saints hope to win a 4th straight division title.
Tampa Bay as most fans are aware, had a (7-9) win-loss record in 2019. But with Brady and his former Patriots teammate and former All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski (who recently came out of retirement to also play for the Bucs) now in the fold, Tampa is being projected by many within the national sports media that cover the NFL to seriously contend for a Playoff spot (and have a great shot at winning the NFC South), after 3 straight losing seasons dating back to 2016.
Brady could potentially thrive in the high-powered offensive scheme / passing attack of Buccaneers head coach and long-time NFL offensive “guru” Bruce Arians; which features the tandem of All-Pro WR’s Mike Evans and Chris Godwin; as well as top-caliber tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate.
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are both over 1,000 receiving yards this season.
Special duo in Tampa Bay. pic.twitter.com/ekt7YX6ncS
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 24, 2019
The possibility that Brady could help lead Tampa back to Pro Football prominence will certainly be a very real one — particularly since the NFL will be expanding the number of Playoff teams from 12 to 14 (a total of 7 Playoff teams in each conference) — in the upcoming season ahead.
That said, New Orleans essentially has dominated the NFC South over the course of the past 3 years, although 2020 could end up being a very different story, especially if some of the new additions to the rosters of their other NFC South Division rivals (the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers featuring their new starting QB and former Saints #2 back-up Teddy Bridgewater in particular), actually end up panning out as those teams hope that it will.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 17, 2020
As it turns out, Brees and the Saints have done pretty well themselves this off-season, after signing veteran free agents Emmanuel Sanders and Malcolm Jenkins. The 41-year old Brees is still performing at a highly-competitive level and is more than capable of leading a team to a Super Bowl, even at this late stage (about to enter his 20th season) of what has been a phenomenal NFL career.
The biggest obstacle for the Black and Gold heading into the 2020 Season might actually be themselves, self-confidence wise. The Saints unbelievably have lost three straight Playoff games in the most heart-breaking and unimaginable type of ways possible: the “Minneapolis Miracle” (Vikings, 2017), the infamous NFC Championship Game pass-interference “no-call” (Rams, 2018), and then last season’s controversial-ending OT loss to the Vikings yet once again.
Tampa Bay and Brady on the other hand, haven’t had much time to practice together due to the impact of the on-going COVID-19 / coronavirus situation, and even if they do eventually get the time to effectively gel together and become well-prepared for the expected season ahead, they’re only going on the National Media’s “hype” at the moment — and haven’t proven anything on-the-field yet with their upgraded roster.
— JMO x TB (@SidelineReacts) May 19, 2020
The only question for fans of both teams would then likely become just which one of these two “40-something” year old quarterbacks, can win another Super Bowl title before they eventually retire.
For Brady, there’s really nothing left for him to prove other than showing everyone that he can still play the sport at the highest level, a level that’s given him the opportunity to become recognized as the NFL’s greatest quarterback ever.
And while Brees certainly is in the conversation among the League’s best-ever QB’s himself, his motivation for still playing is trying to win just one more World Championship / Super Bowl victory before he leaves the sport permanently, presumably in 2021 but perhaps this coming February; if he and the Saints can achieve their ultimate goal.
The Saints and Buccaneers of course will open the 2020 Regular Season on September 13th at the Superdome; and then will face each other once again on November 8th at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Clearly the end results of those two games will have a direct impact upon which of the two teams and their respective “living legends” and future NFL Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks, will ultimately get the best shot at winning the NFC South (and perhaps the final word) as to which one of them will be the more successful this year.
That said, neither player or their respective teams, would be satisfied with anything LESS than getting a win in Super Bowl LV (55), at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida on February 7th.
But make no mistake about this much, Who Dat fans: Tom Brady DIDN’T disrespect Drew Brees or the Saints franchise — and it’s very unlikely that he ever actually would — simply because he isn’t stupid enough to take that risk….
Barry Hirstius is a semi-retired journalist, who has worked previously as a sports editor and columnist. Barry is a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the Saints while attending their games as a young boy during the early 1970’s, uptown at the old Tulane Stadium. He is also the proud Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryHirstius