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The Goat

I’ve decided to take a break this week from my usual vitriol and sarcasm (well maybe I’ll save some until the end, just because). Instead, this week I want to talk about numbers. Different numbers. Lots of numbers. The best numbers. I also want to talk a bit about goats. And age. And baby goats.

 

Let me start with the first and most important number of the week.

 

55. Or Fifty-Five. LV. As in Super Bowl LV. This Sunday. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Kansas City Chefs (Chiefs oops… Great googly moogly). The grand finale of the NFL season. The whole enchilada. The big chunk of chicken. For a pandemic weary world, this is a great opportunity to focus on something other than vaccines, testing, infections and Gamestop.

 

Here are some more numbers.

 

10. That’s how many Super Bowls Tom Brady has played in. 10!

 

18%. That’s how many of the Super Bowls in history Tom Brady has played in.

 

11%. That’s how many of the Super Bowls in history Tom Brady has won.

 

6. That’s how many Super Bowls Tom Brady has won.

 

If he wins this weekend he will have 7 Super Bowl wins. That’s 13% of the games played by the way. A 70% winning record.

 

Even if he loses, he sets a record, or at least ties one, with Jim Kelly, who holds the record for most Super Bowl losses as a starter.

 

2 times. That’s how many more Super Bowls Tom Brady will have played in than the next name on the list – John Elway.

 

4. That’s how many wins the 2 quarterbacks behind Tom Brady on the depth chart have each. Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw. Granted, neither of them has a loss, which puts them in a pretty stratospheric place, but are they goat worthy?

 

If Tom wins the Super Bowl, he will become only the 2nd QB to win a Super Bowl with 2 different teams, joining Peyton Manning, but he will be the 1st QB to win a Super Bowl with 2 teams in different conferences.

 

6. Six years ago I went to what was supposed to be Tom Brady’s last Super Bowl. He won. And won the MVP. Of which he has won 4, ahead of Joe Montana who has 3. He beat Russell Wilson who has been to 2 Super Bowls, is 1 and 1 and may never get back.

 

That makes me one of about 630,000* people in the world who have seen Tom Brady play in a Super Bowl and one of maybe 429,500 who have seen him win one. *It’s a stretch but figure an average audience of 70,000 per 9 games and pretty much no one this year except under 10,000 friends, family and first responders.

 

43. That’s how old Tom Brady is. Starting in his 10th Super Bowl.

 

2. This is Tom Brady’s second team. The Bucs odds of making the Super Bowl when Brady was acquired was +1500. Before Brady was acquired those odds were +6500. They went from 65 to 1 to 15 to 1 because they acquired an old, washed up quarterback whose arm was shot, wouldn’t have his genius coach and played in a stadium with a pirate ship.

 

Zero. That’s how many Super Bowls have been hosted by a qualifying team.

 

One. After Sunday that number will be one. Tom Brady did that. At 43. On his second team. Into his 10th Super Bowl. Possibly winning his 7th.

 

Lots of ways to slice the numbers here.

 

A couple of years ago I wrote this tribute to Tom Brady and Bill Belichek, thinking that it would be the end of the New England dynasty and Tom Brady’s run of excellence. And they lost and I though that was it. Then they made it again, this time against the Rams, defeating an upstart Kansas City Chefs team (Chiefs – oops!) in a thriller to get there and completely throttling a great team to win again.

 

Then last year, it was ugly. The team and the player were in obvious terminal decline and they tripped into the playoffs, got stuffed by Tennessee and the lasting memory of Tom Brady in a Patriots uniform was an ugly pick six and humiliation on home turf. The end of an era, the end of a career. Right? Meanwhile the Kansas City Chefs (chiefs, oops) did their thing and brought home the trophy for Andy Reid riding the arm of the baby Goat, the next one, Patrick Mahomes.

 

In the off-season, Brady heads off to Tampa, a team with no direction, a crazy coach with a heart problem and eventually a diva wide receiver and team disruptor.

 

There are no second acts in the NFL right? We all remember Joe Montana with the Kansas City Chefs (oops, Chiefs). Greatest QB of all time, couldn’t reach the promised land.

 

All the genius prognosticators pontificating that there is no way that Brady can make it. Separated from his Svengali coach and resident practiser of the dark arts Bill Belichek there was no way he could pull it off.

 

And against all odds Tom Brady is back. 3. That’s how many playoff road games he had to win to get back. 2. That’s how many future Hall of Fame QBs he had to outduel to get there.

 

It’s amazing. And of course he plans to keep on playing. Which puts Tampa at 12-1 odds of winning the Super Bowl in 2022, the fifth ranked team. The Chefs (Chiefs) are 5-1 and four other teams are tied at 12-1.

 

It’s borderline absurd how this keeps happening.

 

Tom Brady’s playoff record is 33-11. He has more playoff wins (33) than his closest most active playoff participant (Peyton Manning) has playoff starts (27).

 

He has more playoff wins than the franchise he is playing for has played in all time (18).

 

The last time Tampa was in the Super Bowl they fielded arguably the worst starting quarterback in Super Bowl history (it’s really a tossup between Brad Johnson (TB) and Trent Dilfer (Baltimore)).

 

This time, they are starting the GOAT.

 

And everyone hates him and is cheering against him. And I normally would, but this year I won’t.

 

Why? Why after so long am I doing this?

 

Because we aren’t likely to ever see this level of individual excellence again. The player with the best chance of achieving Tom’s level of excellence is his opponent this weekend, the aforementioned Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chefs (Chiefs, great googly moogly). At age 25, Mahomes is in his second Super Bowl. Which is awesome. And he could conceivably get to another 7 (!) by the time he is 35, which leaves him another 8 years to get to the final one assuming he can play as long as Brady.

 

But come on. How likely is that? How has that worked out for Russell Wilson who won a Super Bowl early or Aaron Rodgers, arguably one of the most talented QBs ever.

 

Will the NFL even exist in 10 years? (hysterical laughter).

 

Patrick Mahomes is the present and the future of the NFL. He is awesome. But this week, it’s all about the past.

 

I watched the Michael Jordan special earlier in the pandemic and it was fascinating. His singular competitive drive, his focus, his dedication. Love him or hate him, Tom Brady is the same kind of animal.

 

And back to the numbers. He’s 43! The same age mind you, as Joe Montana (2nd Goat) was when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame!

 

That’s not just old by football standards, it’s nursing home time. He gets a 33% discount on knee braces and that’s before the senior’s discount.

 

The oldest quarterback to start in the Super Bowl – breaking by 2 years the record he set 2 years ago.

 

And people hate him for that? What were you doing at age 43? I know what you weren’t. You weren’t appearing in the Super Bowl. You weren’t getting ready to attempt to outduel the future of the NFL in young Patrick Mahomes. You weren’t getting flattened by 325 pound freight trains on a regular basis. I bet you can’t even throw a football 10 yards without spraining or pulling something (trust me, I just tried).

 

Look, we are all another year older. The pandemic has aged us. A terrible year has passed us by and all of us are feeling it, a little stiffer. A bit more sore in different spots. A lot more cynical and jaded.

 

Brady is older too. You can tell. He’s even slower than he used to be. His arm strength isn’t what it used to be. I get it, the young guns are way more fun.

 

But to discount what he’s accomplished is to not acknowledge what it means to age. What it’s like to feel older with each passing day, a little more stiff in the morning, sore in different spots after a simple workout, a little more fearful for personal safety with any physical activity – tentative on the ski hill, traction for the shoes, 3 hour nap after shovelling snow.

 

That’s why I’m appreciative. We may be watching the twilight part of what is perhaps the single greatest career by an athlete across any sport (or maybe not, right? There’s always next year).

 

And one day, just like what happened to Phil Connors and the groundhog day blog from last week, the clock is going to tick over on Tom Brady and he will move on. Done. And trust me, as much as some of you may hate him, we will all miss him.

 

So rather than jeer and hope he loses, I am celebrating that I have been able to witness this for yet another year.

 

Sustained greatness is cool and it’s awesome and it’ll help me, at least for 12 hours on Sunday (I’m big on pre-game) forget about the pandemic, the energy sector, vaccines, pipelines, open pit coal mining, war rooms, the house committee on unalbertan activities, polar vortices, Trudeau, Kenney, Trump, Biden, Line 5, the price of natural gas, my massive short position on Blackberry, OPEC, carbon taxes, unattended property in the United States, bills, mortgages, work, crazy unresponsive capital markets, ESG kabuki theatre, Erin O’Toole and, hopefully, the abomination that is the bachelor.

 

Instead, I will get to sit back and witness history watching a game I love, featuring a goat and a baby goat and for those hours, all will be right in the world and I will be allowed to torture my family with football blather and be completely at peace regardless of the final score.

 

And we will all win. And I suspect so will Tom Brady. Even if it doesn’t go his way.

 

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. The energy part. Someone asked me if I would write about the price of oil this week. Which has been quite positive of late BTW, so we should all be happy.

 

So here goes. The following is the closing price of oil (WTI) on the Friday before every Tom Brady Super Bowl appearance.

 

2019: $55.26 (W)

2018: $65.45 (L)

2017: $53.83 (W)

2015: $48.24 (W)

2012: $97.84 (L)

2008: $88.96 (L)

2005: $46.48 (W)

2004: $33.04 (W)

2002: $20.38 (W)

 

What do I read out of this? Tom Brady is 6-0 in Super Bowls where the price of oil is below $60 and 0-3 when it is more.

 

Price of WTI closed today at $56.95.

 

The math seems pretty simple to me.

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