Thinking Out Loud: Tom Brady's retirement wasn't just déjà vu


Thinking out loud…while wondering if we are what we eat, shouldn’t we all lay off the nuts?

I had to check my calendar a couple of times this week. Thought it might have been the first of April, rather than the first of February.

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And…it was one year ago that he pulled this trick the last time…so…Groundhog Day, anyone? Déjà vu, all over again? Take that for what it’s worth.

When TB12 apparently/allegedly called it a career Wednesday morning, the first instinct was not to believe him…only because we’ve been through this song and dance before. Then it hit – dude is 46.

The time is right. You can argue it’s been right for a while now. But the longer he went, the less memorable his legacy would become. No one wanted to see Tom Brady leave the game like a punch-drunk boxer staggering from the squared ring.

The upheaval in his personal life – much less his professional life – has undoubtedly been difficult to handle. After all, even though he has become super-human in so many eyes for his athletic endeavors, he is still a mere mortal when reality sets in.

Think about it. His brand is so omnipresent that we refer to him here as “TB12” and everyone knows WHO we’re referring to. We can chide, kid, joke, criticize and blame Brady for his actions or inactions, but only because we put him on that life pedestal in the first place.

Thanks Tom. Thanks for the good memories, thanks for the controversial ones, too – like Deflategate. It showed the power of stupidity in people when you transcend “normal” among us all. You did that.

If people couldn’t be like you, they wanted to beat you. And they rarely accomplished that, so they took extraordinary steps to discredit you.

It didn’t work.

I have three personal “brushes with greatness” (as David Letterman used to call them) in my life. One – is interviewing and getting to know a former classmate at the University of Texas, Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell.

A genuinely good person. And one of the best to ever run with a football.

Two – is nearly plowing over Barbara Streisand on a New York City sidewalk. On foot, not with my car.

I wasn’t looking where I was going. Neither was she. Boom. But we both apologized, and “The Way We Were” earworm immediately popped into my head.

Three – is one of the first occasions TB12 saw me in the corridors of Gillette Stadium, we said ‘hello,’ and he approached me with his traditional fist bump (well before Covid made the gesture more popular) and said simply, ‘Hey Voice.’

Heaven could have taken me, right then and there. And that was well before Tom Brady ever became “TB12.”

Don’t be shocked if TB12 unretires again, however, if only to retire as a Patriot on a one-day ceremonial deal. All fences are mended, eventually.

Big week for a kid from Cumberland, RI. Marquette point guard Tyler Kolek was named the Big East Player of the Week. He just missed a triple-double in a Marquette win at DePaul, still leads the Big East in assists and ranks third in the nation droppin’ those dimes.

Wait, wut? A kid from Cumberland?

The 17th ranked Providence Friars are climbing up the polls but ran into a roadblock at 16th ranked Xavier Wednesday night. Jared Bynum beat the Musketeers with a three at the end a year ago, and almost repeated his performance with another three that rimmed out at the buzzer.

If there was ever a loss that made you feel pretty good about where you stand, it might be that one. Sure, the Friars had their chances. Started out way too slowly. But showed the fight in arguably the most-hostile arena in the Big East…outside of the AMP.

PC’s two-game road trip ended at 1-1, winning at Villanova Sunday before the Wednesday heartbreaker in Cincinnati. All things being equal, take the split this week and get back to ‘guarding the yard’ next week. Lots of hoop still to play.

Jared Bynum’s return to the lineup simply changes the dynamic for PC. Preseason 1st team all-Big East, he makes this Friar team better by coming off the bench.

Hey, that trip into South Philly Sunday before the Eagles played the 49ers in the NFC title game was as Real Philly as a bar of cream cheese, or a steak ‘with and wiz.’

Following behind an early police escort into the South Philadelphia stadium complex for a noon tip because of the tail-gating crowd present at 7:00 am (for the 3p kickoff), PC’s two buses were sadly mistaken by Eagles’ fans for the 49ers, and they provided several ‘one gun’ salutes along the route.

One enterprising Philly fan even serenaded the buses with his bent over version of ‘Moon River.’ Yeah, nice.  Damaged my corneas.

URI’s women’s hoop team is still unbeaten in the A-10, and still unbeaten at home this season after beating St. Joseph’s at the Ryan Center Wednesday. There are those more educated than I on this subject, but wouldn’t this be worthy of a national ranking, somewhere?

The URI men lost at St. Joseph’s Wednesday to fall to 8-14 overall, 4-6 in the Atlantic 10. Rhody gets a week off before playing at Saint Louis – a team that beat PC at Mohegan Sun in November.

The URI Athletic Hall of Fame dinner on Feb. 17th will be honoring the 1987-88- and 1997-98-men’s hoop teams that reached the Sweet 16 and Elite 8, respectively. That 97-98 run was the deepest NCAA Tourney run in school history…and likely had a lot to do with the Ryan Center’s opening in 2002.

Big weekend for Mike Martin’s Brown Bears, who play two on the road at Dartmouth and at Harvard. At 3-4 in the Ivy League, could be a make-or-break shot at the Ivy postseason tournament with a couple of wins…or a couple of losses.

Bryant improved to 8-2 at home in the Chace Center this season with a Wednesday win over Maine. It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools, now conference “rivals” in Bryant’s first year as an America East member.

The Bulldogs are 5-4 in AE play, sitting in a tie for 4th, with a game against second place UNH Saturday afternoon in Smithfield.

If there was ever a doubt that sports – college sports, more specifically in this instance – are big business? Consider THE Ohio State University, and their impressive 2022 fiscal year.

The Buckeyes generated $251 million in revenue – yup, a quarter of a bil – which is more than double from the previous fiscal year. That surpasses their previous record ($233 million) set in the pre-Covid days…and is second-most all time, behind Oregon’s whopping $391 million earned in pre-pandemic 2020.

Speaking of NCAA record revenue post covid…the NCAA itself appears to have bounced back nicely from those lost days not so long ago. They reported $1.16 billion in revenue for the past fiscal year, including $81 million in revenue insurance for what was lost in 2020-21.

And you wonder why some people are squawking today over student athletes trying to make a buck off their names or jersey sales. This ain’t yo’ Daddy’s NCAA, bruh.

URI’s emerging football program announced a class of seven newcomers for next season on National Signing Day this week, including a transfer receiver from Virginia Tech and an all-Ivy defensive back from Columbia.

The spring lacrosse season (wait, is it spring already?) opens this weekend for Providence lax, facing off with Holy Cross at Chapey Field at Anderson Stadium Sunday under new head coach Bobby Benson.

PC’s Men’s Hockey team is reeling a bit from a two-game skid at Maine last weekend and will try to regroup at home against UMass and on the road at Vermont this weekend.

A tough blow for the Friars as freshman defenseman Austen May fractured his knee…the third time this season PC has had a player taken out, and the only repercussion has been a five-minute major penalty in return.

The PC women’s team has climbed to 12th in the national rankings and plays at Boston College this weekend. Goaltender Sandra Abstreiter is a semifinalist for Women’s Hockey Goalie of the Year.

My buddy “Big E” sez he is so misunderstood by the autocorrect button on his smahtphone. It still thinks he’s trying to say “duck” 10 times a day.

Did you know…that an ‘average’ trip for two to the Super Bowl – if there is such a beast – is likely to cost you nearly $20K? Who has that in their back pocket, and decides on a whim, to go to the Super Bowl?

If you do, can we trade jobs for a couple of weeks?

Bloomberg reported this week that even a “Super 8” budget motel located 15 minutes from the stadium in Glendale, AZ was charging triple its’ normal rate. At $450 per night, it was 50% full BEFORE the NFC and AFC title games were over.

Welcome to the party, Massachusetts. Sports betting launched this week at the state’s three casinos, but no mobile betting just yet. Perhaps that can ramp up before March Madness. Legalized betting on the Super Bowl also launched this week in Kansas and Ohio.

More than $1.1 billion in legal wagering is expected to take place by kickoff, making this game the most bet-on Big Game. Legally, at least.

Wonder why it’s so hard to see different (northern) cities hosting the Super Bowl? Phoenix’s windfall is expected to surpass $600 million with the game and all of the pageantry surrounding it. So, no one in the rotation wants to give that up.

And also no one wants to freeze their ---- off while paying the kind of quid they have to pay to sit there, either. Just sayin’.

Good news – the NFL salary cap is rising an average of $16.6 million for each team next season. Am I accurate with that, Patscap? And with more product, more games, more exposure…it certainly doesn’t seem as if it will ever backtrack.

Bad news – that $20K trip to the Super Bowl today will seem like a bargain in 10 years. Or less.

Not for nuthin’, but here’s a good one from Front Office Sports this week: Did you know that when Nike first started business, they made $8K in sales that first year?

Did you know that Nike now makes $8K in sales every five seconds?

Would Phil Knight allow me to dip into company profits for just 15 seconds so I could go to a Super Bowl? I’ll even go cheap – and only take 10 seconds.

139-96? The Celtics, man. They can get after it when they want to. Especially when the focus of their energy is against Kyrie Irving and the Nets, amiright?

Hendricken alum Joe Mazzulla is now an NBA all-star coach, getting that tab this week thanks to the Celtics’ league-best record. Not that he’ll actually have to do much coaching in that game, but still…pretty cool honor for a 34-year-old guy from Johnston, RI.

Losing streak? What losing streak? The Bruins snapped their first multi-game skid at a great time against Toronto – just before a 10-day layoff for the NHL all-star game and festivities.

In other words, just when they’ve got it rolling again, it’s time for intermission. Getcha’ popcorn ready.

The Providence Bruins have defenseman Jack Ahcan named to the AHL all-star team for next week. Jakob Lauko has also been returned to Providence from Boston. The team is in second place in the Atlantic Division, just two points in back of Hershey and only three points off the best record in the league (Calgary).

I suppose it’s coincidental, but this week included National Women and Girls in Sports Day on February 1st, along with the news that women’s pro soccer will make a comeback around here.

The Wall Street Journal reports the NWSL will award an expansion franchise to Boston beginning play in 2024.

Need a sign that the apocalypse is here? Watch “Power Slap,” a bastard stepchild from the mind and brain of MMA Commissioner and creator Dana White. You can actually see the stupidity flying from between the ears of the, um, competitors.

Time passages: Cindy Williams, who played the lovable and sometimes naïve Shirley Feeney on the old “Laverne and Shirley” sitcom, passed away at age 75. The show was a spin-off, of course, from “Happy Days” with Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham and Emerson College grad Henry Winkler as Arthur Fonzarelli (aka “The Fonz”).

If you are of a certain age, you wanted to party with Laverne (played by the late Penny Marshall) but take Shirley home to mama.

Lisa Loring, who portrayed Wednesday Addams on the original “Addams Family” sitcom of the 1960’s, died at age 64.

Loring’s career included soap operas and smaller movie and TV acting roles, but her one time Addams’ child character made a comeback of sorts in the past few years…with a video of her teaching her butler Lurch (played by Ted Cassidy) how to dance reappearing on YouTube.

Some genius dubbed Megadeath’s hit “Symphony of Destruction” into the soundtrack. Go ahead, Google that. You’re welcome.

In my years as a Public Address announcer, I’ve said lots of stuff…been told to say lots of stuff…but never told a crowd of fans to ‘shut up.’ I have, however, told a Gillette crowd to please stop throwing snow in the stands…and immediately had snowballs whizzing by my head into the always-open booth on the 40-yard line behind the visiting bench.

The idea, of course, is to not just tell a crowd what’s going on…but oftentimes tell the crowd what to do, or not to do…and when to do it. Or not do it.

Like Pavlov’s dogs. You know, by conditioning them to act or react? Go Google that.

Anyway, a PA announcer in Wisconsin told the crowd at a high school basketball game to ‘shut up’ as they hooted and howled over a late foul called by an official. No, Joe Hassett was not there.

The PA guy also said, “since you do such a good job from the stands, get on the floor, wear a striped shirt and do it yourselves.”

After stunned silence, his request was then met with applause.

Genius. Just like Pavlov. And no snowballs.

Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments, and local stories to We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here!  Would appreciate the follow on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and join in on Facebook, ...

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